Eight limbs of Raja Yoga
The term Ashtanga means eight limbs, thus Yoga is also known as Ashtanga Yoga which refers to the (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) The eight limbs of Raja Yoga are:
Yama – Code of conduct – self-restraint
Yama consists of five parts: Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (not stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy), and Aparigraha (non-covetousness). Ahimsa is perfect
harmlessness and positive love also. The purpose of yama is that it helps in removing the brutal nature in human being and strengthens the will.
Niyama – religious observances – commitments to practice, such as study and devotion Niyama is observance of five canons: Saucha (internal and external purity), Santosha
(contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of religious books and repetitions of Mantras), and Ishvarapranidhana (self-surrender to God, and His worship).
Asana – Objective is integration of mind and body through physical activity. Normally now a days when people talk about yoga they actually refer to Asana, which is only one
dimension of ashtanga yoga system.Number of yoga classes and school regreteble restricting the yoga practice to only at asana level (physical postures).
Pranayama – regulation of breath leading to integration of mind and body.
Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects. Pratyahara gives inner spiritual strength. It removes all sorts of distractions. It develops will-power.
Dharana – concentration, one-pointedness of mind
Real Yoga starts from concentration. Concentration merges into meditation. Meditation ends in Samadhi. One of the best practice for concentration is to focus mind on your breath
as taught by S.N.Goenka.
Dhyana – meditation
When you become good in concentration practice you may enter into meditation stage. The mind passes into many conditions or states as it is made up of three qualities-Sattva,
Rajas and Tamas. By controlling the thoughts the Sadhaka attains great Siddhis. A Raja Yogi practises Samyama or the combined practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi at one and the same time and gets detailed knowledge of an object.Control the mind by Abhyasa (practice) and Vairagya (dispassion).
Samadhi – the quiet state of blissful awareness, superconscious state. Higher level in meditation will lead You to attain Samadhi. Always in bliss.