Yoga, the science of man, based on ancient Indian wisdom and culture, is an art of living a healthy, balanced, peaceful and contented life. Yoga, being a total integrated system, studies man in his wholeness - body, mind and spirit and is integrated to certain principles, ideas, values, attitudes and a way of life for personal and social benefits.
Conceived by the great sages in their quest for self-realisation, it has come tobe recognised during its; long travails from the hermitages to the cities, as the science of man, a philosophy old life, a code of conduct, an attitude and an approach, as well as an art of living which is capable not only of ensuring physical well-being, mental peace harmony, moral elevation and spiritual uplift of man but also of transforming man from his gross animal existence to the sublime heights of divinity. It must, however be kept in mind that it is a long and arduous journey calling for perseverance, persistence, dedication and total surrender.
Yoga had recognised and accepted the importance of the mind and the subconscious over the total human personality much earlier than modern psychology did in its present form. Yoga is a stepwise, stage wise eight fold path to final liberation from pain and suffering. These steps progressively take us to the highest state of creativity, of discriminative knowledge and towards attaining the desired perfection.
The eight steps are :
YAMA - Conditional yoga behaviour,personal and social
NIYAMA - Attitude sublimate to yoga norms
ASANA - Discipline of the physical body
PRANAYAMA - Control overionergy through respiratory action.
PRATYAHARA - Withdrawal of the senses inwards through abstraction
DHARNA - Concentration
DHYANA - Meditation
SAMADHI - Tran consciousness
Of these, the first five, which border on the Psychosomatic Approach, are referred to as External
(Bahiranga) yoga, popularly known as Hatha Yoga, while the latter three, which directly affect the psyche are known as internal
(Antaranga) yoga, popularly known as Raja Yoga. It is almost impossible to try internal yoga (Raja Yoga) for the average man before accomplishing the external one
(Hatha Yoga). The respective sequence of the eight steps as the standard methodology of yoga.