Our hope in providing a studio theme at Kula each month is to deepen your understanding of the philosophy behind yoga, so you can start living yoga both on and off the mat. This year we will be exploring the traditional 8 Limbs of Yoga. The practice of yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between the body, mind and spirit. These eight steps basically act as a guideline on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. Our June focus is Samadhi, or enlightenment.
The whole art of ecstasy, meditation, samadhi, is: How to become one with the rhythm of the universe. When it exhales, you exhale. When it inhales, you inhale. You live in it, are not separate, are one with it. ~ Rajneesh
What is Samadhi?
Samadhi is a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation. In yoga, it is regarded as the final stage of the eight limbs, at which union with the divine is reached. When we sleep we are unconsciously resting, forced by nature due to tiredness. Consciously resting is what happens in deep meditation, where you are allowing yourself to rest, pausing on specific mental activities while increasing activity in other areas of the brain. This state of consciousness is often referred to as “one-pointedness of mind.” There are various stages of samadhi as there are degrees of control over ceasing mental activities. Concentration is not samadhi, rather concentration helps create a mind capable of experiencing samadhi by strengthening the mind. Samadhi is not that straining of concentration, nor is the mind forcibly directed to an object, it is simply conscious.
The practice of deep rest consciously happens (naturally) in some people due to old impressions. Just by doing something, you cannot achieve this awareness. You cannot bring up the intelligence or alertness in you by effort. This happens without effort, by relaxation, by reposing in the Self. ~ Patanjali Yoga Sutra #18
Samadhi on the mat
Samadhi is not an easy concept or practice to master and indeed there are variations on peoples understanding of samadhi, even in the most experienced of yogis. Ironically, it is through less effort that samadhi is achieved. When we focus in on the breath, clearing the mind of all other thoughts, we are still focusing in on a distraction – whether that’s thinking about the movement of the breath in the body, counting each breath and before long you may even find the mind wanders off topic. During your practice, keeping your mind on the movement of your body and breath is your form of concentration or Dharana (the 6th limb of yoga) It is achieving this single pointed focus that you enter into the realm of meditation, whether it be seated or a moving meditation during your vinyasa practice. When you are able to remove the “act” of focusing on a single point and you simply become one with the movement or breath, this is to begin to enter into the “samadhi zone”.
Samadhi ~ In life
When we explore the concept of mindfulness in life, we begin to focus in on particular elements of our experience, breaking down our individual senses. When we break down the feel, smell, look, sound and taste of life around us, we have a heightened sense of awareness. We may also have moments where split-second samadhi occurs, where in that moment there is no thought, but only an absolutely pure and heightened consciousness. It may be a brief experience, but in that moment insightful awareness arises and a person may experience pure vision, or transformation. “In the moment of an absolutely still and quiet mind, pure vision, love and compassion arise from our inner depths” ~ Dr Thynn. It may be that a moment of “pure vision” is followed by thought, but the thoughts, emotions and actions are not in the old habitual routine. You may have experienced this when enjoying the beauty of a sunset where for a fleeting moment there is no thought, no description, no analysis, just experience.
The practice of mindfulness is an active, ongoing process, and through continually, consistent “practice” the moments of pure stillness of the mind become more frequent.
Samadhi ~ a meditative state, a conscious experience that lies beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep; a healing state, a calm mind; a state of one-ness and awareness; reconnect & awaken.
About the author: Andy Broadbear is a qualified yoga teacher & therapist, who specialises in pre + postnatal yoga, and studio assistant at Kula. She is also a mum of two, health & wellness blogger and hobby photographer.
Kula Yoga has a beautiful hot yoga studio on Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn, Melbourne. Kula offers ‘Hot Yoga’ classes for detoxification, dynamic poweryoga ‘Flow Yoga’ as well as a gentle ‘Light Yin Yoga’ option. Beginners through to advanced students are welcome to all classes. Kula also provides prenatal & postnatal yoga classes, and provides Melbourne workplaces with group corporate yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing, and school yoga programs. Kula also runs an annual ‘Kula Cruise’ yoga retreat sailing from Bali to Lombok & the Gili Islands. Find out more on our website www.kulayoga.com.au. Or follow us:
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