Yoga Sutras for Modern Life. Eighth limb of Yoga – Samadhi

Welcome back to the final episode of our series dedicated to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and how we can apply these ancient teaching in our everyday life. In this episode, we will be exploring the Eighth Limb of Yoga according to the Sutras, Samadhi. Samadhi is the ultimate goal of yoga and is a state of meditative consciousness that is often described as a state of pure bliss, joy, and contentment. Achieving Samadhi is the culmination of dedicated practice and the cultivation of self-awareness, but I believe there are ways to move towards this goal step by step so that it doesn’t seem so overwhelming as a goal.

In order to understand Samadhi, it’s important to first think back to the other seven limbs of yoga. The first five limbs, collectively known as the Yamas and Niyamas, provide a foundation for ethical living and personal discipline. The sixth limb, Asana, is the physical practice of yoga that we often associate with the word “yoga.” The seventh limb, Pranayama, is the practice of breath control and helps to cultivate energy and focus. In this context, the final limb, Samadhi, is the ultimate goal of all these practices. It is a state of deep awareness and connection to the present moment, where the boundaries between the self and the universe dissolve. In this state, the practitioner experiences a sense of pure consciousness and unity with all things.

How to cultivate Samadhi every day

While achieving Samadhi may seem like an abstract or unattainable goal, the teachings of yoga suggest that it is possible to cultivate this state in our daily lives.

Here are a few strategies to think about Samadhi as we move about in the world:

  1. Cultivate mindfulness by focusing your attention on your breath, body sensations or the present moment.
  2. Practice meditation regularly to develop concentration and awareness.
  3. Engage in activities that bring you joy and create a sense of flow, such as playing music, painting, or gardening.
  4. Take regular breaks throughout the day to pause and reflect, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  5. Engage in self-reflection and introspection to better understand your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
  6. Practice gratitude and appreciation for the small things in life, like a warm cup of tea or a beautiful sunset.
  7. Spend time in nature, connecting with the natural world around you.
  8. Cultivate compassion and kindness towards yourself and others, practising acts of generosity and service.
  9. Avoid multitasking and focus on one task at a time, giving it your full attention and presence.
  10. Develop a regular yoga or physical practice that connects you with your body and breath.

In samadhi, the process of concentration, the object of concentration, and the mind that is trying to concentrate or meditate all have become one. I know this doesn’t sound easy at all. Like any practice, it requires patience, determination, and a degree of detachment from the outcome. And even if we don’t reach Samadhi in this life, I’m sure we’ll have learnt a lot about ourselves along the way.

We’ve now made it to the end of our epic travel through the Eight Limbs of Yoga. If you are still reading this, I’m so glad we came this far together.  I really enjoyed thinking about these ancient teachings and how – with some tweaking – we can apply them to our everyday lives, on and off the mat.

Is there any topic that you would like me to explore in my blog? Do contact me with your ideas and suggestions.