Different Stages of Yoga


Generally, Yoga consists of and is described in eight stages astanga-yoga, (‘eight-membered Yoga’). Yama (‘restraint’) denoting abstinence from injury (ahimsa), falsehood, stealing, lust, and avarice is the first stage; with niyama (‘observance’), denoting cleanliness of body, contentment, austerity, study, and devotion to God, the second stage.

The next two stages consist of physical preparations, such as, Asana (‘seat’), a series of physical posture exercises intended to condition the body, making it supple, flexible, and healthy. Mastery of the asanas can be calculated by one’s ability to maintain a prescribed postures for an extended period of time, without involuntary movement or physical distractions. Pranayama (“breath control”) is a series of exercises intended to stabilize the rhythm of breathing in order to encourage complete respiratory relaxation.

With great benefits, Yoga is becoming very popular all over the world, including making a come back in the land of its birth i.e. India.

Pratyahara (‘withdrawal) is the fifth stage, which involves control of the senses, whereby one can centre all of one’s senses from outward objects to the mind. The first five stages of Yoga are considered external aids, while the remaining three are purely mental or internal aids.

Dharana (‘holding on’) is the ability to focus awareness of externals to one object for a long period of time, such as, focusing the mind on an object of meditation e.g. an image of a deity or some such. Dhyana (‘concentrated meditation’) is the uninterrupted contemplation of an object of meditation, beyond any memory of ego. Samadhi (‘self-collectedness’) is the final stage and a pre-condition for attaining moksha or being released from the cycle of life and death. This stage, allows the meditator to perceive or experience the object of his meditation and himself as one entity.

Though, the pre-history of Yoga is not clear, however, early Vedic texts speak of ecstatics, who may well have been predecessors of latter day yogis or the followers of Yoga. Although Yoga has been made into a separate school (‘darsan’), its influence and many of its practices have crept into other schools.

In the course of time, certain stages of Yoga become ends in themselves, notably, the breathing exercises and sitting postures, as in the school of Hatha Yoga. In a less technical sense, Yoga used for achieving union with God, in the epic poem the Bhagavadgita, is also used to distinguish the alternate paths (‘margas’) to such a union.

With the philosophy and practice of Yoga increasingly becoming popular in the West, the physical and spiritual benefits of Yogic techniques have become available through a wide variety of sectarian Yoga organisations, non-sectarian classes, and television programmes in the United States and Europe.

‘Prapti’ is the fifth power that a practitioner of Yoga can gain mastery over. Anyone, who becomes proficient in it, is able to reach distant places according to his will, in just a matter of moments. Those people wishing to expose this psychic claim as a hoax conducted experiments, only to find that 95% of the time the yogis were able to transport themselves to distant, remote places.

Next, mastery over ‘Prakamya’ shows one how to achieve whatever one desires. Like the Genie in the bottle who granted every wish and carried out every command issued by Alladin, a person who can perform Prakamya can make his every wish come true e.g. asking for Eternal Youth will ensure he is forever young.

In meanwhile, you can read yoga books or buy yoga accessories, if you are convinced it is time to become a yoga devotee. One can purchase online yoga books on meditation and spirituality, yoga audiotapes, including yoga accessories, such as, yoga mats, yoga straps, yoga blocks! from Yogabestseller.com Prepare yourself well to make yoga practice a pleasant and fruitful experience! We can promise you, it is one decision you will never regret!

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

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