next are the Antharanga Sadhanas [Internal Principles] of Asana
(steady posture), Pranayamahm (Regulation of Breathing) and Prathyahara
(withdrawal of Senses from their objects). They produce serenity and
steadiness of body and mind and leads to good health. These are the
Antharanga Sadhanas or internal disciplines.
Raja yoga, it is considered that the Asana, physical postures and
Pranayamah serve to prepare the body and mind for the following steps:
pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samãdhi (withdrawal of the
senses, contemplation, meditation, and state of expanded or transcendental
in the sense is a posture that one can hold for a period of time,
staying relaxed and with normal breathing "without effort".
In Sanskrit, asana means literally "seat", the place where
one sits; or posture, position of the body in any position. There
are 84 asanas that are considered to be the main postures, of which
the highest are Shirasaasanam (headstand) and Padmasanam (lotus).
practice of asanas affects the following aspects or planes of the
human being: 1. Physical (blood circulation, inner organs, glands,
muscles, joints and nerve system); 2. Psychological (developing emotional
balance and stability, harmony); 3. Mental (improved ability to concentrate,
memory); 4. Consciousness (purifying and clarifying consciousness/awareness).
is the controlled exercise in breathing. Pranayamah is divided into
three parts: filling, restraining, and emptying. In the lowest kind
of Pranayamah there is perspiration, in the medium kind, quivering
of the body, and in the highest Pranayamah levitation of the body
and influx of great bliss. In all books they speak of Pranayamah being
divided into Rechaka (rejecting or exhaling), Puraka (inhaling), and
Kumbhaka (restraining, stationary).
mind and life force are correlated to the breath. Through regulating
the breathing, one learns to control prana. All Pranayamah practice
ultimately works toward purification of the nadis (energy channels)
and the awakening of kundalini shakti. The awakening of kundalini
energy at the base [muladhara] chakra and its ascent to the crown
[Sahasra] chakra is the final goal of Raja yoga.