The final limbs of yoga are the goal of practice. We practice the first six limbs of yoga so we can learn to meditate. Deep contemplation is the only thing that can release us from suffering. Since we cannot control other people or the events that occur yoga teaches us to control our own mind in order to be at peace.
Dhyana – contemplation
When you reach this stage the mind is quiet and produces few or no thoughts. It requires great strength and stamina to reach this state of stillness. Students sometimes jump into meditation and are frustrated when they can’t concentrate. But achieving a quiet mind requires continuous effort. We devote ourselves to practice daily, accepting the challenge as an indication that we are on the right path.
Samadhi – ecstasy
This state of bliss, transcendence and enlightenment is the goal of yoga practice.
Samadhi is the state of consciousness where Absoluteness is experienced attended with
all-knowledge and joy; Oneness; here the mind becomes identified with the object of meditation; the meditator and the meditated, thinker and thought become one in perfect absorption of the mind. -Swami Sivananda
Enlightenment – cannot be bought or owned. It can only be experienced in the moment, as a result of the continual devotion and dedication of the yogi.
Through yoga we learn to accept the impermanence of all things – including bliss.
Share your thoughts or questions on the 8 limbs of yoga in the comments!