This article will help the readers have an overview of what raja yoga is and also I will provide some practical processes (Saadhana) one can follow.

I will make sure to make it as simple as possible for the readers to understand the concept of Raja Yoga which is an interpretation of patanjali yoga sutra’s written in 1800 BCE by Patanjali.

Therefore, this article is to make people feel the importance of Yoga in ones life.

A picture of Swami Vivekananda sitting on stage at the historic Parliament of Religions, in Chicago, in 1893.

Before talking about Raja Yoga we should have a basic understanding of Yoga first.

Yoga(Sanskrit: योग) is not just a group of physical practices but also mental and spiritual disciplines.

Originated from ancient India (Bharat) and its main aim is to control the wandering mind and recognize a detached consciousness untouched by our mind(Chitta) which has immense power in itself.

Whereas the term “yoga” in the Western world often denotes a modern form of Hatha yoga and posture-based physical fitness, stress-relief and relaxation technique. Which is mainly asanas; this is very different from the traditional yoga, which focus on meditation and release from worldly (sansarik) attachments.

There are many interpretations of Yoga in ancient Hindu literature but we will fous on Patanjali’s Yog Sutras in this article because Raja yoga is mainly based on Sutras(rules) written by Patanjali in 1800 BCE.

A statue of Patanjali, author of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, meditating in the lotus position

I will explain in detail about Yoga in future articles.

OK now, let us discuss about Raja Yoga.

What is Raja Yoga ?

There are four methods of liberation written by Swami Vivekananda.

Karma Yog, Raja Yog, Dhyana Yog, jhyana Yog.

Rāja (Sanskrit: राज) means “chief, best of its kind” or “king”.Rāja yoga thus refers to “chief, best of yoga”.

It is both the goal of yoga and also the methods to attain it.

Raja Yoga in ancient Hindi literature also known as the royal way of attaining liberation from the materialistic world.

How to practice Raja Yoga ?

Raja yoga is divided into eight parts which are inherited from Patanjali yoga sutra’s.

  1. Yama
  2. Niyama
  3. Asana
  4. Pranayama
  5. Pratyahara
  6. Dharana
  7. Dhyana
  8. Samadhi (Moksha)

Yama is further divided 5 parts.

  1. Non-killing
  2. Truthfulness
  3. Non-stealing
  4. Continence (the ability to control your feelings and emotions, especially the desire to have sex)
  5. Non-receiving of any gifts

Next is Niyama (Rules) Which also consists of 5 parts.

  1. Cleanliness
  2. Contentment or Satisfaction
  3. Austerity (the condition of living without unnecessary things and without comfort with limited money or goods)
  4. Study
  5. Self-surrender to god

Any one on the path of yoga has to first at least pass into Yama and Niyama to perform and yoga kriya.

These two are the basic requirements yoga demands in a person want to achieve success in yoga.

Then comes Asana or Postures which is also known as Hatha yoga in traditional hindu texts.

Western society is just performing Asana in the name of yoga.

Asana is done for the perfection of posture and to make the body healthy physically, to be able to at least sit in a still position for long while meditating and do not feel uneasy because of pain in body.

Pranayama

The subtle life force or energy is prana, everything in this universe is created or evolved if from prana.

From prana Air is created, water, earth or any matter you see around, all the animals; the whole universe as a big lump of clay is evolved from ether and prana.

Modern science is also now proving the fact that everything is a single energy and created from ether.

When there was nothing, ether and prana was present from which creation started.

Raja yoga gives us methods and steps to control prana.

In the yogic culture, if a yogi completely has control on prana by mastering the techniques of pranayama is above God.

Do not confuse that prana is our breath, a big misconception.

It is not the air that makes your lungs full and creates the cyclical motion; NO

it the subtle energy already present inside you that passes through your nerve system and then to the muscles which then helps your lungs and air sacks to expand and let some air in.

Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of patanjali yog sutras which raja yoga focus on. Pranayama gives us proper methods to control our prana.

Pranayama is a common term for various techniques for accumulating, expanding and working with prana.

Raja Yoga Teaches us how to control prana, and how to use that energy to use your chitta and mundane Dhukha(sufferings). There are many other methods to do the same and will be discussing in future articles.

Thanks for reading my blog 🙂

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