What is Raja Yoga?

Raja Yoga is based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  It is the Yogic art and science of being happy by learning to control your thoughts and feelings.  The Yoga Sutras (circa 400 C.E.) are the cliff notes of Raja Yoga and include 196 short phrases that require further detailed explanation.  The best selling translation of the Yoga Sutras is by Sri Swami Satchidananda.

The Yoga Sutras discuss in detail how the 8 limbs of yoga: yama (abstinence), niyama (observance), asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), samadhi (super conscious state) help us to control our thoughts and feelings.  It teaches that by firmly establishing yourself in moral and ethical precepts (ie. the Yamas and Niyamas) you can experience greater peace and joy in your life.  It further postulates that when you control your body and breath you can reduce suffering.  It then states that when you learn to control your senses you gain power over how the world influences you.  Lastly, when you are able to control your thoughts and emotions you become free from the negative results of selfish thoughts or feelings.  This succession of control moves from the gross to the subtle. When Raja Yoga is practiced for a long time, without break and with all of your heart, you will become firmly established in your own basic and natural state of happiness.

Raja Yoga is a science of self-mastery which can aid in the experience of peace and happiness.


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