Raja Yoga is divided into eight steps. They are: (1) Yama, which consists in the practice of non-injury, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence and non-reception of gifts; (2) Niyama consisting in cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study and self surrender to God; (3) Asana or bodily posture; (4) Pranayama or control of vital energy; (5) Pratyahara or restraint of the senses from the objects; (6) Dharana or fixing of the mind on a spot; (7) Dhyana or meditation; and (8) Samadhi or superconsciousness state.
The first two steps (yama and niyama) are moral disciplines. Unless an aspirant has attained success in the practice of these disciplines, the practice of the subsequent steps of yoga will be ineffective.
- Swami Vivekananda
(Excerpts from The Four Yogas of Swami Vivekananda, condensed and retold by Swami Tapasyananda)