Definition - What does Raja mean?

Raja is a Sanskrit term meaning "king." Just as raja is the highest rank of the state, Raja yoga ranks highest among the four paths of yoga and is also called the royal path. Practice of Raja yoga helps one to achieve spiritual supremacy, which makes the practitioner the "king" of the mind and the world.

Raja yoga is also referred to as Ashtanga yoga.

Yogapedia explains Raja

The four paths of yoga are Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Raja yoga and Jnana yoga. Raja yoga, is an "eight limb" practice as described in the Yoga Sutras by sage Patanjali.

The eight limbs of Raja yoga are:

  1. Yama: Practicing non-violence, truth, non-stealing, control of senses and staying detached to worldly pleasures.
  2. Niyama: The qualities of purity, contentment and self-study.
  3. Asana: Practicing yoga postures that promote health and improve flexibility.
  4. Pranayama: Practicing breathing techniques, the supreme form of purification of body and soul.
  5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of senses in order to quiet the mind.
  6. Dharana: Practicing concentration to steady and purify the mind.
  7. Dhyana: Practicing meditation.
  8. Samadhi: Achieving the superconscious state, which is the supreme level of consciousness.
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