Most of us know the word ‘Samadhi’ to mean ‘bliss’ or ‘enlightenment. For those of us who have studied the 8 Limbs of Yoga as described in Patanjali’s yoga sutras, Samadhi is the 8th limb which is attained after you have travelled through the first seven limbs of yoga. At this point, you would have learnt to separate your body, mind and spirit from external stimuli through a regular practice of asana, pranayama and meditation, and are ready for the highest state of consciousness.
Samadhi: Meaning and Definition
Samadhi is derived from the Sanskrit words sam (meaning ‘completely’), a (meaning ‘toward’) and dhe (‘meaning ‘put’). When translated to English, it means ‘bliss’ or liberation from the cycle of life and death. In short, Samadhi can be interpreted as enlightenment.
8 Limbs of Yoga
One of the most important texts on yoga is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, which describes yoga as an eightfold path, comprising mastery of 8 disciplines in order to bring the yogi to a state of complete control over the mind, and detachment with the material world.
The 8 Limbs of Yoga are:
- Yamas – Five social observances: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness) asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity) and aparigraha (non-possessiveness).
- Niyamas – Five moral observances: saucha (purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (discipline), svadhyaya (self-study), ishvara pranidhana (devotion to God).
- Asana – Yoga postures.
- Pranayama – Breath techniques which enable one to access and control the prana or life force energy.
- Pratyahara – Withdrawal of senses.
- Dharana – Concentration.
- Dhyana – Meditation.
- Samadhi – bliss.
The 8 Limbs of Yoga provides a structured framework through which the yoga gains awareness of the mind, learns to control it, and eventually finds liberation from suffering.
Dharana, dhyana and samadhi are collectively referred to as Samyama (integration) as they are mastered through concentration practices or meditation.
Meaning of Samadhi
Samadhi is the 8th and final stage of this path; A state in which the individual is in complete oneness with the universe. This implies total meditative absorption, which is attained only when the yogi has moved through the first seven limbs of yoga (or seven preliminary stages of the 8 limbs of yoga).
It embodies self-realization and complete detachment with the external world as we know it. One has found his ‘true self’ in Samadhi.
However, it is important to know that Samadhi is not permanent. It requires dedication and effort to train the mind and be able to detach it from external stimuli. Patanjali mentions that unless we are completely without attachment to desires and habits, we will not be able to maintain Samadhi for long.
How to practise Samadhi daily
While Samadhi may look like it is something too far for a normal person to reach, working towards Samadhi in our daily lives will bring much benefits to anybody.
Through meditation practices, you can learn to live with more awareness of the present. You can move past your mind and ego, and live life without judgement – by simply observing yourself and others from an outsider perspective.
Integrating Samadhi into daily living allows us to feel deeply connected with ourselves and the world around us.
So learn to peel off the layers we have created, start going deeper with awareness and learn to find our true selves.
Get the Samadhi printable wall art here to remind yourself to live with gratitude and awareness daily.
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The YogaMad is founded by Mila, an avid yogini who is passionate about inspiring others to live their best lives while finding mind-body-soul balance. She has a background in business consulting but has left the corporate world in her quest to live out her dreams as a yoga nomad.