Each of the article excerpts within this series will give you a sneak peek into the wonderful work created by Yogi and author, Melissa Lavery, whose complete book, The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom is available at select distributors throughout the US as well as Amazon’s online bookstore.
All content excerpts are provided with permission by the publisher.
The book itself is organized into 3 parts and further divided into each of the 15 categories below:
The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Relationships
- Shanti: How to Maintain Personal Peace and Power in Relationships
- Yama: How to Eliminate Suffering and Cultivate a Better Relationship with the World
- Niyama: How to Cultivate a Better Relationship with Yourself and Commit to Personal Self-Care
- Pratipaksa Bhavana: How to Navigate Conflicting World-views and Build Relationships with Anyone
- Samadhi: How the Inner Journey Toward Self Will Bring You Closer to the Divine Consciousness
The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Health
- Asana: The Health Benefits of a Physical Practice (On and Off the Mat)
- Pranayama: How to Maintain Health Through Breath Awareness
- Samyama: How to Travel the Meditative Path to Health and Wellness
- Nidra: How to Improve Your Sleep Quality to Enhance Health and Wellness
- Sauca: How Cleanliness Paves the Path to Holistic Health
The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Abundance
- Klesa: How to Eliminate Ego’s Control and Cultivate an Identity that Attracts Abundance
- Satya: How Authenticity Leads to Attracting Abundance
- Astreya: How to Practice Non-Stealing to Attract Wealth and Abundance
- Aparigraha: How the Practice of Non-Hoarding Can Benefit Your Wallet and Illumniate Your Path
- Sadhana: How Consistent Practice Creates a Strong Foundation for an Abundant Life
Samadhi: How the Inner Journey Toward Self Will Bring You Closer to the Divine Consciousness
Some say that relationships are the meaning of life. We are in relationship with every ecosystem on the planet, at the macro and micro levels. From the stars and planets to Earth and her inhabitants, we are connected to all. It is through the journey of yoga that we can build and strengthen these relationships, eventually experiencing a great sense of joy through unity.
To practice yoga is to travel inward from the world outside to the ultimate internal wisdom that all exists as a unified consciousness. As humans, we relate to this transcendence in four stages, which can correlate to the connections we share through relationship:
- Reason and our relationship with gross objects in the outside world
- Reflection and our relationship with ideas and experiences closer to our heart-mind
- Rejoicing and our relationship with ourselves
- Pure “I-am-ness” and our relationship with supreme consciousness or God
It is in this final stage that we can experience the ultimate union, where the individual becomes completely absorbed and connected to the Source of all. Described in the Yoga Sūtras, bliss, nirvana, or supreme joy is experienced through actualizing the “supreme Puruṣa”, or “supreme Self” (p. 37). This special Self is the Divine, God, Spirit, Universal or Collective Consciousness, Awareness, Source, or any other term used for the entity that is in us all that experiences no attachment or affliction. Patāñjali calls this supreme soul Īśvara, which in Sanskrit translates to “supreme God”.
The supreme soul that Patañjali describes is not “out there” “Heaven” is not a place we go after death. The individual soul (each person) is not separate from the supreme soul. We are all divine consciousness manifested as unique beings. The journey of yoga is inward. With each action, the practitioner works to prepare and purify the body and mind. By practicing Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prānāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, and Dhyāna, one may experience that journey, eventually reaching Samādhi.
What is Samādhi and How Can it Lead to Relationship with the Divine?
Samādhi is the eighth and final limb of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga. It is not the objective or the goal the purpose of yoga is in the journey. However, it is in Samādhi that the practitioner can experience liberation from all attachment and union with all.
As described many times in this book, yoga means “union” therefore, its practice leads unity on many levels. First, the individual aligns with divine Truth, Beauty, and Love through the yama-s and niyama. Second, the body and breath align with one another through āsana and prānāyāma to create union with the body and mind. This action further creates unity through pratyahara, as the mind’s increased and steady focus shuts off external sensory input. This direct focus leads the practitioner deeper into dhāraṇā and dhyāna, both meditative states that allow the mind to detach from the world outside and into a state of unity consciousness. It is in a state of complete attention, “total dedication” (p. 37), that one can experience Samādhi.
In Sanskrit, Samādhi means “to collect” or “direct together.” The process is achieved through complete absorption and transcendence. The individual is no longer the individual, as union is achieved through deep meditation and focus. The result is a deep sense of joy, as the meditator, the meditated upon, and even the process of meditation all become one reality. This union feels like bliss, because it is actualizing God—one’s true essence.
Although this is the progression of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga, there is no one way to achieve Samādhi. Initially, it is an eventual gradation, because you have to train the mind to enter the subtle body and then remove all objects completely (including the Self). However, some individuals can experience Samādhi instantly with focus. Some of us will even experience glimpses of Samādhi when we lose ourselves in a task or moment. Think about a time when you’ve concentrated so intently on a task that you become one with it. This can happen while cleaning, creating art, dancing, or other processes. All time seems to slip away sounds, smells, external sights, and other sensory perception disappear as the mind becomes one with the moment.
And, of course, it occurs in meditation. This process is broken down further into two types of Samādhi: saṁprajñāta (distinguished) and asaṁprajñāta (undistinguished). Asaṁprajñāta occurs after experiencing the various stages of saṁprajñāta:
- Savitarka Samādhi (concentration on gross objects or prakṛiti)
- Savicāra Samādhi (concentration on subtle elements (tanmātras) or mind-stuff (citta)
- Sa-ānanda Samādhi (concentration of sattvic mind devoid of any object other than joy)
- Sa-asmita Samādhi (“I” feeling alone)
In the various stages of saṁprajñāta Samādhi, the impressions (saṁskāras) of mental modifications still exist. The mind is still aware of something, even if it is only of the absolute awareness of being one with all.
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… to continue reading from this chapter of The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom please visit and order from the book’s page on Amazon.com. Again, we hope you found this valuable and wish you health and happiness along your journey. Namaste.