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The word yoga means "yoke" (union).

The practice of yoga is to create unity of all aspects of the self: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The practitioner follows an ancient formula known as astanga (eight limbs) yoga.

The eight limbs represent a series of disciplines.They are:

1.YAMAS: Adherence to universal moral commandments.

2.NIYAMAS: Personal observations.

3.ASANA: Yoga postures.

4.PRANAYAMA: Rhythmic control of the breath.

5.PRATYAHARA: Directing sensory attention inward.

6.DHARANA: Directing and sustaining concentration.

7.DHYANA: Meditation.

8.SAMADHI: Superconscious state.

Through the study of yoga we learn which qualities to cultivate in order to master the disciplines. Asana is the most popular limb of yoga practiced in the western world today. As a system for developing strength, flexibility and stamina, it stands supreme. Regular practice of the postures incorporating pranayama, pratyhara and dharana will prepare the practitioner for meditation. Regular practice of meditation leads to expanded awareness enabling one to function more effectively on a day-to-day basis. Yoga provides the means to become physically fit in the context of a philosophy that encourages positive health practices and personality characteristics.

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