The right means are just as important as the end view. Patanjali enumerates these means as the eight limbs of Yoga for the quest of the soul.
- Yama – universal moral commandments
- Niyama – self purification by description
- Asana – posture
- Pranayama – rhythmic control of breath.
- Pratyahara – withdrawal and emancipation of the mind from the domination of the senses and exterior objects.
- Dharana – concentration
- Dhyana – meditation
- Samadhi – a state of super consciousness brought about by profound meditation in which the individual aspirant becomes one with the object of his meditation.
Yama and Niyama: Control the yogi’s passions and emotions and keep him in harmony with fellow humans.
Asana: Keeps the body healthy and strong and in harmony with nature.
Pranayama and Pratyahara: teach the aspirant to regulate breathing, thereby controlling the mind.
Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi: take the yogi into the innermost recesses of the soul.
To the Yogi, God is within; the last 3 stages keep the yogi in harmony with himself and his maker.
This path in yoga brings calmness and tranquillity and prepares the mind for absolute unqualified self surrender to God, in which all these 4 paths merge as one.
- Light on yoga B.K.S Iyengar.