Samadhi The Eighth Limb of Yoga


This is the highest state of yoga, possible only if the mind, body and spirit have been trained appropriately. The meaning of samadhi has vexed practitioners for aeons. It is popularly described as ‘superconciousness, ‘enlightenment’ and so on. What is clear though is that samadhi is something more extraordinary than normal states of consciousness. A succinct definition can be found in the Yoga Sutras where it is described as the state of ‘pure knowledge Again, as with the other limbs above there are different types’ of samadhi. Often thought of as an abstract concept, it is easy to dismiss this state. However, the beauty of samadhi is thdt vestiges and inklings of this state can be accessed by practitioners, even if not fully. The Yoga Sutras describe the different types of this state including:


The physical yoga postures. The asanas are the outward forms. They can help to define and tone your exterior body but without preparation of the mind, the practitioner will not enjoy the full benefits of yoga practice. Asana practice however is the cornerstone of a practitioner’s training. It is essential to train the body and prepare it for the higher states of consciousness.

Samadhi The Eighth Limb of Yoga Photo Gallery


This is the method of working with the breath and prana (life force). There are numerous exercises designed to help channel breath, prana and other vital life forces to help steady the mind and improve the vitality of the body and spirit. The practice of pranayama is vital to any yoga practice. According to yoga teachings there are ten forms of prana’ (or airs) which can be manipulated and worked on during pranayama practice. They are

(1) prana (the name of this air is not to be confused with the generic term prana used to describe life force energy), (2) apana. (3) samana, (4) vyana. (5) udana, (6) kurma. (7) krikila, (8), naga, (9) dhanajaya and (10) deva dutta.

(1) savitarka (using reasoning and asking questions)

(2) savicara (using discrimination and judgment!)

(3) saamita (using self awareness)

(4) saananda (through bliss)

(5) nivitarka (through non-questidnihg)

(6) nivicara (through non-cnscrimination)

Of the six types of samadhi, the best according to the jYoga Sutras is nirvicara because this leads to supreme bliss Only this state can lead the individual to the highest wisdom possible.

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