EIGHTH STAGE: Samādhi
When all the previous limbs are practised it brings us to the highest fruit in the eight-fold path of Yoga, which is the attainment of Samādhi. Samādhi means “to bring together, to merge.”
1) So we direct our energies in the YAMAS to live a life that is non-violent (Ahimsa) and speak the truth to ourselves and others (Satya); to not steal materially or emotionally (Asteya); to cultivate healthy relationships (Bramacharya) and to let go of thoughts, emotions and possessions which hold us back (Aparigraha).
2) The NIYAMAS urge us to keep our mental, physical and surrounding environment clean (Saucha). By practising contentment (Santosha) with our present circumstances it provides the foundation to take a disciplined (Tapas) route. By reflecting on our thoughts and actions and taking the appropriate course (Swadhyaya) we are able to surrender ourselves to a greater power (Ishvarapranidhana) with an unshakable belief that our path will nourish our wellbeing and provide opportunities for growth.
3) To nurture our physical body, we practise ASANA.
4) The breath (Pranayama) allows us to settle our nervous system which in turn 5) allows us to direct our attention internally (Pratyahara) so that we are able to observe our reactions and respond appropriately.
6) As we are able to concentrate (Dharana) on the important elements, 7) we become completely absorbed in the total process both within our practice and our lives (Dhyana).
Each of the ‘limbs’ of yoga provide the conditions that prime us physically, ethically, emotionally and spiritually to live life that will bear healthy fruit — a state of joy and peace — Samādhi.