This is known as the 8-limb path, first channeled through Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras 1,000s of years ago. These are stepping stones on the path to enlightenment, & can be applied to the spiritual path to any degree.
Yamas, or restraints, focus on ethical standards and sense of intergrity in one's path.
1. Ahimsa - Harmlessness (nonviolence)
2. Satya - Truthfulness
3. Asteya - Nonstealing
4. Brahmacharya - Moderation
5. Aparagraha - Generosity
Asana, or posture, is used to connect the body with the mind and soul to cultivate balance, strength, flexibility, and body awareness. By stretching the body, we open up the channels, or nadis, for the energy, or prana, to flow freely throughout the entire body.
Pratyahara, or sense withdrawal, allows us to release the attachments of the mind and the outside world around us and focus solely on the inner world
Dyana, or meditation, is the state of no thought, complete stillness, and awareness without focus. Commonly refferred to as the void, it is the space where everything fades and there is a temporary state of oneness with all life.
Niyamas, or observances, are ways of using yoga as an authentic expression
1. Saucha - Purity
2. Santosha - contentment
3.Tapas - Self-discipline
4.Svadhyaya - Study
5. Isvara Pranidhana _ Surrender
Pranayama, or life force extension, is mindful breathing. By controling the breath, it becomes a valuable tool in clearing the mind. For more info on specific exersices, check out "Breathing exercises" tab
Dharana, or cencentration, is the practice of focusing the mind on one single point. This can be a point in the body, a sound, a deity, mantra or object. By concentrating the mind, we allow it to become still and clear, and are no longer affected by mental distractions.
Samahdi, or enlightenment, is the ultimate step in the path of yoga. It is often times the end goal of a devoted yogi. It is eternal bliss, oneness with all, complete stillness and detachment from the ohysical world. Often times upon reaching Samadhi, one will leave his physical body, or transcend into a higher dimension. Some choose to remain in th ohysical body to spread the message of love and the wisdom they have aquired with other. This is know as a Boddhisatvha.