Updated: Mar 31
The benefits of using yoga to change your life are different for everyone. The Eight Limbs of Yoga are divided into two groups: practice and experience. The first two limbs, Yamas and Niyamas, provide guidance on a tangible way to live our lives.
As we study the Yamas and Niyamas, the qualities outlined are placed at the forefront of our minds allowing us to manifest them in our lives. These are essentially the dos and don’ts of how to live ethically. Moving further down the path, we learn about the practice of the asanas or poses and the breath or pranayama.
The ultimate goal is achieved when we reach a state of oneness.
If you haven't read the first two posts in this yoga series go back to What Is The History Behind Yoga and Yoga Sutras and What Are the Eight Limbs of Yoga to get the most out of these posts and to truly reach the state of oneness you desire. Yow will get a better understanding of the history and why it can bring you to your full potential.
Use Meditation To Bring You To A State of Oneness
As we near the final stage of yoga’s eight limbs, we come to the seventh limb called dhyana, which is more commonly known as meditation.
This deeper concentration of the mind is the instrument of self-knowledge, where one can separate illusion from reality and obtain the space of infinite possibilities and unbounded creativity.
The goal of meditation in the Yoga Sutra is to interrupt sensory knowledge, memory, and imagination fluctuations. Through meditation, we learn how to quiet our endless stream of thoughts and feelings often triggered by memory. Meditation is a systematic process that takes practice and patience.
Many prefer to meditate after performing asanas so the body can comfortably find stillness. Your preparedness for dhyana will come with the consistent practice of the other six limbs of yoga.
There are many different techniques to choose from, and in each of them, practice is vital.
Five popular forms of meditation include:
- Mindfulness meditation originates from Buddhist teachings and is the most popular meditation technique in the West. This type of meditation is suitable for people who don’t have a teacher to guide them, as it can be easily practiced alone.
- Spiritual meditation is similar to prayer in that you reflect on the silence around you and seek a deeper connection with your God or Universe. This practice is beneficial for those who thrive in silence and seek spiritual growth.
- Focused meditation involves concentration using any of the five senses, for example, the breath. This practice is ideal for anyone who requires additional focus in their life.
- Mantra meditation uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. This is a good practice for people who don’t like silence and enjoy repetition.
- Transcendental meditation is the most popular type of meditation worldwide, and it’s the most scientifically studied. This practice is for those who like structure and are serious about maintaining a meditation practice.
Here are links for two different styles of meditation:
- Guided Meditation for Focus:
- Deep Meditation: https://youtu.be/aIIEI33EUqI
I encourage you to experience different forms of meditation to determine which is best suited for your needs. The key to meditation is daily practice and having patience with yourself.
The Eighth and Final Limb Of Yoga
The eighth and final limb of yoga is Samadhi, translated as enlightenment or self-realization. To attain Samadhi, we must first master the preparatory steps of the first 7 limbs which are detailed in the previous posts of this history of yoga series.
The first step is Dharana or concentration. Dharana leads to the unbroken flow of your stream of awareness, which is achieved through meditation. Finally, this process of unbroken awareness lengthens and matures into the third step, samadhi.
Samadhi is transcendence, connectivity with the divine or universe, and a mind-body integration of the concept that “all things are one.”
Below are a few steps you can take to achieve Samadhi.
Commit to taking a moment every single day to tell yourself something that you are grateful for and appreciate.
Accept where you are today at this very moment and move forward from a place of honesty. Through the acceptance of ourselves, we can begin to accept and respect others.
Take time to nurture each aspect of your being. Do things that feed your mind, soul, and emotions.
Remember that the Eight Limbs of Yoga intend to act as core principles that serve as a compass for living a meaningful and purposeful life. Only you know what a meaningful and purposeful life entails for you.