The Eight Limbs of Yoga
More than a physical practice, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras refer to the Eight Limbs, or Ashtanga, to describe the journey of yoga.
I'll post more on each limb in some detail, but for now here's a quick run down...
1) Yamas - restraints, ethics or moral disciplines. Principles on interaction with the world around us. There are 5 Yamas.
2) Niyamas - self discipline and spiritual observance. There are 5 Niyamas.
3) Asana - posture. The physical practice of yoga asanas, the true aim of which is to attain a steady and comfortable posture for meditation.
4) Pranayama - breath control, or freedom of breath. The act of practicing different breathing techniques.
5) Pratyahara - sense withdrawal. Often forming the early part of a meditation practice, drawing focus inward to be present in the moment and undisturbed by the senses.
6) Dharana - concentration. The next stage of meditation, dealing with distractions of the mind and coming to a single point of focus.
7) Dhyana - meditation or meditative absorption. Becoming completely aware without focus. A state of being rather than doing.
8) Samadhi - bliss. Transcendence of the self to "see equally" the whole of existence without disturbances of the mind.