The very first thing you consider once you hear the phrase yoga might be stretching, or black pants, or balancing on one leg. However this stuff solely make up one side — the bodily half — of a real yoga follow.
Raja yoga is a time period used for the whole follow: not simply time spent on the mat, however the religious and emotional elements of yoga philosophy, as effectively. Due to this, the last word objective of raja yoga shouldn’t be mastering a handstand or getting flatter abs. It is about attaining peace of thoughts with an everyday meditation follow.
Raja, or "royal" yoga, refers back to the eight limbs of yoga specified by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra — an historic Sanskrit textual content that is served as the muse of classical yoga — greater than 1,700 years in the past. Throughout most modern-day yoga courses, we are inclined to deal with only one or two of those limbs: asana, the bodily actions concerned with yoga; and pranayama, the connection to our breath. The opposite limbs could also be extra simply ignored or uncared for in an hour-long studio session, however they’re vital for Raja yoga, nonetheless. [Source: Herbert] The eight limbs embrace:
- Yama: moral practices, reminiscent of nonviolence and truthfulness
- Niyama: self-discipline, reminiscent of cleanliness, attending church often, and maintaining with a private meditation follow.
- Asana: the bodily follow of shifting via completely different yoga postures.
- Pranayama: the flexibility to regulate one’s breath; actually which means "life power extension"
- Pratyahara: the withdrawal of the senses, and the flexibility to step again and look out ourselves objectively
- Dharana: intense focus; the flexibility to focus intensely on a single level in preparation for meditation
- Dhyana: meditation or contemplation; the flexibility to silence the thoughts with none particular focus or ideas
- Samadhi: a state of ecstasy and peace that may be reached by following the primary seven limbs
A studio that advertises Raja yoga courses will seemingly focus extra on the final two limbs of yoga — dhyana and samadhi. The follow of silent reflection and meditation could also be a bigger a part of the category than what you are used to, and the trainer might focus on the idea of yoga past simply stretching and respiration. [Source: Herbert]
The phrases Raja yoga and Ashtanga yoga are generally used interchangeably; Ashtanga means "eight-limbed," and in addition refers to this all-encompassing philosophy. However in modern-day American yoga, Ashtanga is often used to explain a selected sequence of postures, whereas Raja is taken into account a extra common time period.