The term ‘Yoga’, which is multivalent and derived from the root ‘yuj’, generally means ‘union’, ‘to join’, ‘to yoke together’, or ‘to unite as one’. The word yoga comes from the most ancient language known to man Sanskrita. In India, Sanskrit is considered to be the language of God, and is formed in a mathematical way.
In the Upanishads, yoga generally means union; union of Jivatman with Parmatman. Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra (i.2) defines yoga as “yogah-chittavrattinirodha”, this means control of the whirlpools of the mind.By yoga, Patanjali means the effortto attain union, or oneness of Self with the Supreme Self.
The Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjaliare one of the six major darshanas of Hindu or Vedic traditions and, along with the Bhagavad Gita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika, are a milestone in the history of Yoga. The book is a set of 195 sutras (aphorisms), which are short phrases designed to be easy to memorize. The Yoga Sutras are an enormously influential work that is just as relevant for yoga philosophy and practice today as it was when it was written.
Sadhanais the Sanskrit word for "practice". Here the author outlines two forms of Yoga: kriya yoga(action yoga) and ashtanga yoga(eightfold yoga). Kriya yoga, sometimes called karma yoga, is reflected in the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, where Arjunais encouraged to act without attachment to the results of action. It is the yoga of selfless action or as some have observed, of service. Ashtanga yogaconsists of the following levels:
5 Yamas- abstentions: ahimsa-violence to all beings; satya-truth; asteya-non stealing; brahmacharya- continence; aparigraha-abstention from possessions
5 Niyama- observances: Saucha- purity; Santosha- contentment; Tapas-austerities; Svadhyaya- Self study or introspection; Ishvarapranidhana- surrender to God
Asana– Postures, or Pose of body or a comfortable Seat for further practices.
Pranayama– Refinement and enhancement of prana or vital breath
Pratyahara- Abstraction; Vyasa describes "is that by which the senses do not come into contact with their objects and, as it were, follow the nature of the mind."
Dharana- Fixing the attention of mind on a single object; concentration
Dhyana– Meditation, success in one-pointed awareness
Samadhi- Super-conscious state, union or oneness of Self with Higher-Self.