However, the widely practiced Yoga Sadhanas (Practices) are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana (Meditation), Samadhi /Samyama, Bandhas & Mudras, Shat-karmas, Yukta-ahara, Yukta karma, Mantra japa, etc.
Yama's are restraints and Niyama's are observances. These are considered to be pre-requisits for the Yoga Sadhanas (Practices).
Asanas, capable of bringing about stability of body and mind consists in adopting various psycho-physical body patterns, giving ability to maintain a stable awareness of one’s structural existence for a considerable length and period of time as well.
Pranayama consists in developing awareness of one’s breathing followed by willful regulation of respiration as the functional or vital basis of one’s existence. It helps in developing awareness of one’s mind and helps to establish control over the mind. In the initial stages, this is done by developing awareness of the ‘flow of in-breath and out-breath’ through nostrils, mouth and other body openings, its internal and external pathways and destinations. Later, this phenomenan is modified, through regulated, controlled and monitored inhalation leading to the awareness of the body space/s getting filled (puraka), the space/s remaning in a filled state (kumbhaka) and it’s getting emptied (rechaka) during regulated, controlled and monitored exhalation.
Pratyhara indicates dissociation of one’s consciousness (withdrawal) from the sense organs which helps one to remain connected with the external objects. Dharana indicates broad based field of attetion, inside the body and mind which is usually understood as concentration. Dhyana (Meditation) is contemplation (focussed attention inside the body and mind) and Samadhi – integration.
Bandhas and Mudras are practices associated with pranayama. They are viewed as the higher Yogic practices mainly consisting on adopting certain psycho-physical body patterns along with control over respiration.This further facilitates control over mind and paves way for higher yogic attainment. Shat-karmas are de-toxification procedures, help to remove the toxins acumalated in the body and are clinical in nature.
Yuktahara (Right Food and other inputs) advocates appropriate food and food habits for healthy living. However, practice of Dhyana (Meditation) helping in self-realization leading to transcendence is considered as the esssence of Yoga Sadhana (The Practice of Yoga).
Tradiitionally, Yoga was imparted by knowledgeable, experienced, and wise persons in the families (comparable with the education imparted in convents in the west) and then by the Seers (Rishis/Munis/Acharyas) in Ashramas (compared with monastries). Yoga Education, on the other hand, aims at taking care of the individual, the 'Being'. It is presumed that a good, balanced, integrated, truthful, and transparent person will be more useful to oneself, family, society, nation, nature.
The knowledge aspect of Yoga is being extensively researched, with advantage to Yoga practitioners. Psychological, anatomico-physiological and philosophical phenomena underlying Yoga Sadhana have been commendably understood by us today. It is a matter of satisfaction for the entire humanity. So also, elaborate and effective means of its transmission, such as internet across the globe, is a great stride for propagation of yogic knowledge.