Certainly, each person needs his own individual approach and program of training. But, in general, any personal yoga practice consists of the following steps.
The first step of personal yoga practice is called Yama. It consists of some ethical aspects such as nonviolence, honesty, temperance, and an unwillingness to have something that belongs to others.
The matter of this step of personal yoga practice resembles the Ten Commandments. Any non observance of these commandments entails arrogance, gluttony, anger, stinginess, and low spirits.
The eradication from these vices does not require special time but it is extremely important as a part of one's self perception today. Some specialists have proven its relation to physical fitness of the person and to his health. You can find the material of such research in medical journals, by studying Oriental medicine and Philosophy such as yoga and Taoism.
The second step of any personal yoga practice design is called Niyama. It is a logical follow up to Yama. It includes regular behavior regulations that are aimed at the mental and physical purity of your organism. It means having a free and untroubled mind that is above selfish motives and negative emotions. The physical purity includes entropy, purification of your organism, tempting, and so on.
The most popular step in yoga is called Asana. It is the third step in your personal yoga practice. It consists of bodily postures that may be few and simple or may be elaborate and an exhaustive collection of exercises. The exercises are extremely beneficial if kept within the proper bounds. The effectiveness of Asana grows if its implementation is followed by the focus on the separate organ of your body. The concentration is an essential portion of any Asana.
Its advantage over other health improvement methods is in its low price because it does not need any large sports grounds or any expensive equipment, but its effectiveness is very high because a person can develop dexterity, vestibular stability, flexibility, endurance, vitality, and so on.
The most vital stage of any yoga practice is Pranayama. Its nature is in breathing properly and yoga breathing is a vital force in practicing yoga. The word 'prana' means vital air and breath. Therefore, Pranayama is control of your breathing and the control of the vital force as well. The proper breathing according to the rules of yoga prolongs and sustains life and has a powerful mental effect and clears the mind.
The next step of personal yoga practice is sometimes called superior yoga and it is called Pratyahara. It includes working with much concentration. The attention is drawn from all physical objects and is focused entirely on the objects of the mind. Thus, this step also focuses on nerve control. If a person is able to focus his or her attention on a given thing to the exclusion of all other things, he is considered as having mastered this stage.
The next step is called Dharana. The term comes from a word that means to support or to strengthen. It also concerns mental connection or concentration. The main purpose of this step is to clear your mind so that it will reflect the truth. Some types of yoga such as Japan yoga recommend repeating mantras to reach this goal. The skills that you get from this stage may be used during Asana because it causes the balance between your body and your mind.
The last step of a personal yoga practice is called Dhyana that includes meditation to discard material thoughts and gain insights into abstract ideas and Samadhi that includes profound contemplation. They are the highest stages of yoga.
During your personal yoga practice developing, you should understand your goal and choose the yoga steps that you need. The above steps are defined as standards and are mandatory foe yoga development. But, you may not study the highest stages of yoga at the very beginning.
We should also say that in general, the goal of yoga is self realization and the steps to be taken depend on the desire and the capacity of the individual.