The Sage Patanjali, the Father of Yoga, discerned the eight steps or "limbs" of Yoga to achieve purification of the body and mind:
· Social Behavior (Yamas): The five laws of the yamas are non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation and non-possessiveness.
· Personal Behavior (Niyamas): The laws of niyamas are purity, contentment, austerity, self-study, self-discipline, and a constant awareness of a power greater than the self (The Divine).
· Postures (Asanas): These are the postures most known in the West as a form of exercise. In Yoga, the postures prepare the body for meditation.
· Regulation of the Breath (Pranayama): Most used in Hatha Yoga, these are techniques to expand the "life force" within the body by expanding and controlling the flow of breath. These are used to prepare the body for meditation.
· Control of the Senses (Pratyahara): The drawing of the outward senses (hearing and seeing) inward though the use of visualization and sound (mantra). This inward movement allows the mind to free itself from the outside world and become more deeply drawn into meditation.
· Concentration (Dharana): As we begin to concentrate, our mental energy is drawn to what we need to exam. We discover that all answers lie within our subconscious and beyond.
· Meditation (Dhyana): This is the process of letting go of thoughts of the outside world and connecting to a larger consciousness. In this place we are at peace.
· Superconsciousness (Samadhi): This can be defined as the absorption into clear perception and ultimate reality or enlightenment. It brings us to understand the Divine in all of nature and know our unity (Yoga) with the Universe. ©