The Himalayan Institute tradition is rooted in raja yoga. Raja yoga (often called ashtanga or the royal path) incorporates eight separate steps into its practice. The first two steps are the yamas and niyamas (moral restraints and constructive observances). Asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) are the third and fourth rungs on the ladder of raja yoga. Pratyahara (sense withdrawal) and dharana (concentration) are the fifth and sixth steps in this path. The final two steps are dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (higher consciousness.) Raja yoga is the understanding, control, and mastery of your mind. It is a science and a way of life, as opposed to a religion.