Meditation and Samadhi (Absorption) in Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
1Eight Limbs of Yoga(Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)Focus on: MeditationDharana, Dhyana, Samadhi(Concentration, Meditation and Samadhi)Subhash MittalIntegral Yoga Studiowww.integralyogastudio.com 919-926-9717 firstname.lastname@example.org
2Invocation to Sage Patanjaliयोगेन चित्तस्य पदेन वािाां | मऱां शरीरस्य ि वैद्यके न ||योऽपाकरोत्तां प्रवरां मुनीनाां | पतञ्जलऱां प्राञ्जलऱरानतोऽस्स्म ||yogena chittasya padena vAchAM | malaM sharIrasya chavaidyakena ||yo.apAkarottaM pravaraM munInAM | pata~njaliMprA~njalirAnato.asmi ||"I respectfully bow down with folded hands and offer mysalutations to Sage Patanjali, the highest among the Munis(sages), who has presented the remedies for removing theimpurities of the body through his treatise on Ayurveda, oflanguage through his treatise on grammar (PatanjalaMahabhashya) and the impurities of the Chitta (mind field)through his treatise on Yoga (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)."
Outline• Gentle stretching and pranayama practice• Some background information• What is “dharana” (concentration)?• What is “dhyana” (meditation)?• What is “samadhi”?• Sutras explained• Guidelines for meditation• Benefits of meditation• Guided meditation
Background Information• Overview of yoga sutras• Why the eight limbs of yoga?• Limbs of yoga covered so far:– Yamas and Niyamas (ethical and moral guidelines)– Asana (physical posture)– Pranayama (Breathing techniques)– Pratyahara (Sense withdrawal)
States of the Mind• scattered (Kshipta): normal during the wakingstate, mind constantly moving around• dull (moodha): sleepy, lethargic, dull, “my brain isfried!”• partially focused (vikshipta): early stages inmeditation – mind strays from object ofmeditation• one-pointed (ekagra): able to hold focus on asingle object for some length of time• fully arrested (niruddha): mind is completely one-pointed and focused
What is Dharana (concentration)?Concentration is the confining of the mind withina limited mental area (0bject of concentration)– Sutra 3.1• Focus on physical object, location on body(third eye, tip of nose, one of the chakras) ormental image• Mind stays focused for a short duration andgets distracted
What is Dhyana (Meditation)?Uninterrupted flow (of the mind) towards theobject (chosen for meditation) iscontemplation – Sutra 3.2• Mind focused on a single object for a length oftime• Concentration fluctuates between differentaspects of the same object• I-sense remains (“I am meditating”)
What is Samadhi?During contemplation when consciousness onlyof the object of meditation remains and not ofitself (the mind) is Samadhi – Sutra 3.3• Total absorption in the object of meditation• I-sense dissolved; observer and the act ofmeditation merged with the object ofmeditation
SamyamaThe three – dharana, dhyana and samadhi –together constitute Samyama – Sutra 3.4• Dharana, dhyana and samadhi are a continuum ofthe same process• Gradual transformation of the level ofconcentration and elimination of other thoughts• Many ‘supernatural’ powers, based on practice of“samyama”, mentioned in Chapter 3
Stages of Meditation/Samadhi• Savitarka (concentrate on gross objects)• Nirvitarka (go beyond gross objects)• Savichara (concentrate on subtle objects)• Nirvichara (go beyond subtle objects)• Ananda (concentrate on bliss)• Asmita (concentrate on the pure I-sense)
Guidelines for Meditation• Practice meditation on an empty stomach, in the early hours of themorning. Time permitting, practice in the evening as well.• Find a clean, quiet area, away from door bells, telephones or otherdistractions, for meditation. Use the same location everyday.• In the Hatha Yoga tradition, meditation is usually practiced afterperforming asana (physical postures), relaxation and pranayama(breathing techniques). As a result of these practices, the body and mindare better prepared for meditation.• Avoid meditation when the mind is agitated or emotionally disturbed• Use any comfortable sitting posture for meditation. If sitting on the floor isuncomfortable, sit in a chair or rest the back against a wall.• During meditation, maintain a perfectly still body with the spine upright,shoulders relaxed and the hands resting comfortably on the knees orthighs.• The recommended duration for meditation is 20 to 30 minutes. Theduration can be adjusted up or down depending upon the availability oftime.
Benefits of Meditation• Reduces hypertension• Improves health of the heart, blood vessels• Slows down aging• Provides stress relief• Reduces anxiety and depression• Improves memory, creativity and productivity• Provides deep relaxation for body and mind
How to prepare for Meditation• Some techniques to control the senses andquiet the mind:– Trataka (candle gazing)– Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep – deep relaxation)– Breath awareness – allow the breath to becomecalm and subtle– Slow deep breathing (e.g., Naadi Shuddhi –alternate nostril breathing)
Guided Meditation• Pratyahara (sense withdrawal) based guidedmeditation– Bringing awareness to each of the five senses, oneat a time– Focusing on breath awareness– Using the technique of dharana and meditation onthe chosen object of meditation
Closing Remarks• Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are criticallyimportant limbs to achieve “chitta vrittinirodhah” (control of fluctuations of mind)• Techniques like pranayama, yoga nidra and‘pratyahara meditation’ are excellentpreparatory practices for meditation• Daily practice brings a number of benefits• Huge amount of research supports benefits ofmeditation