Enlightenment. There are some yogis that refer to enlightenment as the eighth limb of yoga. This is also known as Samadhi or sustained meditation. This limb is an experience. Patanjali has described this as ecstasy. We can simply call it what it is…general contentment and joy. Samadhi means liberation or realization. Samadhi is the practice of being in the state of complete immersion. You would be completely focused on the object of concentration and everything else around you would simply dissolve into nothing. Samadhi is the ultimate state of consciousness. Many people believe that this is the hardest limb of the eight to achieve. Others disagree. Many people find bliss––in this case we will refer to bliss as a sense of real peace and contentment with oneself––in many different ways. Running, painting, walking the dog, even doing dishes can be meditative. And if a practitioner is sensing a real connection to the mind, body, and breath feeling a sense of contentment and joy, then you could be practicing samadhi. It doesn't have to be a huge, hard idea that one can really only conceptualize. Samadhi can be as simple as finding that sweet spot in Warrior 3 or sitting in nature finding peace in the beauty surrounding you. It could be the warmth that a cup of tea or coffee is giving your hands or watching snow fall silently down to earth. You don't have to be sitting still but you don't have to be moving either. That is the beauty of having your own personalized practice with yoga. Practicing samadhi is deeply personal and only you can figure this stage out for yourself.
You can work towards eternal bliss, samadhi, with your everyday habits. You can practice samadhi by being kind, generous, and honest. Especially with yourself. The eighth limb of yoga is the end of separation and egoism. It is the end of the identification with the body and mind. Samadhi is beyond all of that. It is the evolution of self into something more. Something that is compassionate and full of expansive love for others and the universe. While there are some yogis out there that think it takes years and a rigid practice to achieve a bliss state of mind, Patanjali would disagree according to his teachings. He believes that at any moment we can achieve becoming whole and fully present. Understanding this will become a fundamental acceptance of acknowledgement of our true nature. Samadhi is not about escapism. It is about realizing the greatness of life within us at this very moment. The concept of samadhi brings the possibility of a vast hope about our growth as humans.
As you continue with your yoga practice, be encouraged to revisit this blog to help you to remember the eight limbs of yoga. It has been said in previous posts, but remember, yoga is not an overnight achievement. It is a journey. If you are blessed, a long journey. Referring back to the eight limbs will help you deepen your practice. You are not linear so your practice and these eight steps do not have to be linear either. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Be encouraged! If you would like to attend a yoga class, you can find the schedule here on the Aligned with Green Wellness website https://www.alignedwithgreen.com/.