Raja Yoga (The Yoga Of Meditation)

Raja yoga aims at the purification and control of all thought-waves or mental modifications of the mind. Based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the path of raja yoga consists of eight ‘limbs’ or steps (ashtanga) that transform mental and physical energy into spiritual energy. The path is considered to be a complete scientific approach to Self-realisation. Raja yoga is the practice of stilling or restraining the thought-waves through a systematic control of body and mind, culminating in meditation and the superconscious state. It teaches how to curb the outgoing mind by going beyond the mind and attaining Self-realisation, a pure state of bliss. The ladder of raja yoga is comprised of the practices of yamas and niyamas (ethical teachings), asana (postures), pranayama (control of the breath), pratyahara (control of the senses), concentration and meditation leading to samadhi (super-conscious state) in which all the mental impressions—which bring about successive births—are in Swami Sivananda’s words ‘absolutely fried up’. When we control body and mind the state of meditation comes easily and naturally. When the mind is in a constant state of thought, we cannot see or access our own true nature. We cannot realise our own true Self. Of ancient origin the methods of raja yoga are considered to be some of the most powerful techniques available today to combat the tremendous stresses and strains of modern living.