The 8th Limb of Yoga: Samadhi

Our journey through Pantanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga concludes with Samadhi.

Samadhi is the place where we merge with divine consciousness. Here there is no more “I” or “mine.” There is a merging, a yoking, a union with all that is divine within and without our “self.”

Up to now the practice has been to focus our mind and emotions on a specific object or form. When we transcend into the state of Samadhi, we feel a deep connection with ourselves and thus with everyone and everything outside of ourselves. The oneness of everything merges together, formless and pure, revealing the unchanging divine in everything. The progressive withdrawal of our individual consciousness effortlessly guides us into the ocean of universal consciousness.

Samadhi is not a state we can work hard and “attain.” The attempt to describe, explain, and label it is all moot when we actually experience it. It is often a very fleeting state we are privileged to experience over and over again.

As with the entirety of our yoga practice, the goal is not to accomplish, conquer, or perfect. Rather, it is to enjoy the experience. This is as important for the state of Samadhi as it is for our life. Enjoy the experience.

  • SAVITARKA SAMADHI. This form of Samadhi is a Reflective Samadhi. Our awareness merges with the object we have focused on in Dharana and Dhyana, but the awareness no longer flickers in and out. Instead, it shifts between 3 concepts: Contemplation of the object’s name, quality, and knowledge. The subtle wavering between these three aspects of said object keeps us in from attaining full awareness. A regular asana practice will help still our bodies and steady our focus.

The Promise of Hatha (Elephant Journal)

  • NIVVITARKA SAMADHI. This is Spontaneous Samadhi. Here the wavering is not between the aforementioned three concepts any longer. It now narrows to the one aspect of knowledge. If we use a candle as an example of the chosen object, we now only focus on purpose and quality of light, not on the labels of “heat” or “flame.” This is a higher knowledge that can reveal deep understandings without words and beyond the logical mind.

Sam Harris: How to Meditate (Huffington Post)

  • SAVICHARA & NIRVICHARA SAMADHI. These are progressive states of Samadhi, revealed to us after diving deep and swimming through the two states above. They are subtle and formless. They can be reached through deep meditation on Sanskrit mantras and chakra vortexes, as these are powerful tools to conjure up “sense”-less internal connection.

Chakra 101: A Beginner’s Guide (Care2)

  • RITAMBHARA PRAJNA. We arrive at this state of “true knowledge” effortlessly. This knowledge is superior to our conscious knowledge, which comes from wisdom, learning, and experience. This higher knowledge satisfies a deep yearning for truth within us and allows for deep spiritual perception.

Playing Hide & Seek with Your Inner Teacher (MindBodyGreen)

  • NIRBIJA SAMADHI. Nirbija means “seedless.” This ultimate state of union with divine consciousness rises above all impressions and manifestations, outward or inward. Here we tap into the endless supply of compassion and love within. Our conscious illusions and impressions no longer exist. What exists is a state of oneness, truth, and universal consciousness.

Samadhi: Become Immersed in the Miracles Around You (Yoganonymous)

We’ve reached Week 8 on our exploration through Pantanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga! If you want to catch up on the last seven weeks, you can find them here:

Week 1: Yama
Week 2: Niyama
Week 3: Asana
Week 4: Pranayama
Week 5: Pratyahara
Week 6: Dharana
Week 7: Dhyana

photo by: h.koppdelaney