Patanjali’s yoga sutras describe the path of Raja (royal) yoga, or union with one’s true & divine nature. Divinity is our natural state, though we face obstacles vis-a-vis our karma and kleshas (suffering due to attachments to pain, desire, ego and the status quo). The path of yoga is what leads us back to this state of divinity.
The Yoga Sutras describe an 8-limbed path of yoga that the sages before us have practices to remember our divine nature:
1. yamas // the ethics of yoga (honoring the divine in other beings);
2. niyamas // personal observances (honoring the divine in ourselves);
3. asana// physical shapes that allow us to experiment with effort & ease;
4. pranayama // practices of breath & energy;
5. pratyahara // refinement and engagement of the senses (connecting our sensory experience to consciousness);
*6. dharana // concentration
*7. dhyana // meditation or focus
*8. samadhi // integration, absorption
The next few sequences are designed to begin to incorporate the foundations of the path toward yoga, the yamas and niyamas, into our asana practice.
You might also check out this post on The Yoga Sutras.