Guruji, What exactly is Raja-Yoga?

Raja-Yoga literally means the “King of all Yogas”. It is the royal way of communication between oneself and the Universal Self. Raja Yoga includes all yogas and is the path of self-discipline and practice. It lays stress on the benefits of meditation for self-realisation.

The practice of Raja Yoga was compiled by Patanjali Maharishi in his Yoga Sutras during the second century, where he divides the practice of yogic meditation into eight limbs. The first four limbs, called the external limbs – Yama, Niyama, Asana and Pranayama, should be practiced simultaneously. The last four limbs – Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, are referred to as the internal limbs and are practiced sequentially.

In the Asana of Raja Yoga, Patanjali instructs the sadhaka to find a comfortable yet stable seated position and in the Pranayama of Raja Yoga, Patanjali only instructs the Raja yogi to observe and slow the breath down to the point where one cannot distinguish between the inhalation and the exhalation. It is believed that the numerous yoga postures and breathing exercises were developed much later, as part of the Hatha Yoga system, in order to master the body and still the mind.

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