The Eight Limbs of Yoga Pt 3
The fifth Limb of Yoga is Pratyahara, meaning sense withdrawal. This definition itself is self-explanatory, but it's more than just simply stopping the senses. Pratyahara means to withdraw externally from all of our senses, turning them inward. The senses follow the mind inward, something pertinent to the achievement of the last Limbs of Yoga.
The sixth Limb of Yoga is Dharana, meaning concentration. This means to confine the mind to one object or area. Closing the eyes and focussing on one object, word or thought will intensify the perception and make it appear more intensely in the consciousness. The mind focusses solely on this object, thought, or word and does not waiver. Beginners often get distracted by extraneous thoughts and sounds, so it is very important for the body to remain still to make distraction less of a possibility.
The seventh Limb of Yoga is Dhyana, meaning meditation. Meditation is the unbroken stream of concentration where there is little to no sense of self left. The feelings experienced during meditation are very difficult to describe in words or actions as meditation transcends the material human experience. Meditation is not possible for every person, but with much practice, for most, it can be achieved.
The eighth Limb of Yoga is Samadhi, meaning ecstasy. This is when the Yogi has practiced all previous Limbs of Yoga and now experiences their soul shining in all of its glory. The soul is beyond the body and achieves glory when it is undisturbed by the distractions of the mind.
There are two types of Samadhi: Samprajnata Samadhi (Concious Ecstasy) & Asamprajnata Samadhi (Supraconcious Ecstasy).
Samprajnata (Lower Samadhi) or Concious Ecstasy is the conscious concentration on an object. It passes through four stages: Savitarka, meaning Samadhi with examination/ reasoning; Savicara, meaning Samadhi with Discrimination/Reflection; Sananda, meaning Samadhi with Joyful Peace; and Asmita, meaning Samadhi on the Pure Awareness.
Asamprajnata (Higher Samadhi) or Concious Ecstasy comes after the Yogi has progressed and transcended through the four stages of Lower Ecstasy reaching the cessation of all mental activity.
If you follow the Eight Limbs of Yoga in succession, you will lead a happier and more productive life. It takes extreme dedication and practice to reach the Eighth and Final Limb of Yoga, but the journey there will bring much change, learning and calmness into your life.