Classical yoga under Patanjali has 8 different "limbs" of yoga. The first "limb" is the Yamas or social contracts. The second "limb" are the Niyamas or contracts with oneself. The third "limb" is Asana or yoga poses, there are hundreds! The fourth "limb" is Pranayama or breath. The fifth "limb" is Pratyahara or turning inward! The sixth "limb" is Dharana or concentration. The seventh limb is Dhyana or meditation. The eighth limb is Samadhi or awakening.
Awakening? Self realization? The simplest explanation for samadhi I have found is from BKS Iyengar: "Samadhi is an experience where the existence of 'I' disappears. Explanation can only come through the presence of 'I', so samadhi cannot be explained."
How great is that?!
I was going to stop right there but I have some more to add... Classical yoga breaks the universe into two parts: matter and spirit!
- Matter is everything you can see and touch like stars, planets, trees and our bodies!
- Spirit is everywhere.
Spirit can be broken down to a universal spirit and our own individual spirit. Through yoga we develop ability to soften our individual spirit and open up more to the universal - sometimes seeing the non-duality (oneness) of everything.
Iyengar also thought the following:
"We see that our individual soul is part of the universal soul."
"Samadhi can only be experience by the heart"
My opinion: We are impermanent! So live mindfully and compassionately to oneself and others.
What were you before? What will you be after? The in between is fused with so much. Let it be. Sink in its wonder. Our fragile selves, programmed from birth to today. No one gets more than 123 years so far! What makes you do what you do? What makes you choose what you choose? Free will? The sum total of your past traumas/love? The mind, awash in its own rivers finally arrives at the estuary of knowledge and then it is time to leave! Such irony! Such humor!
Relax in its splendor. Simply let go. Really!
Exhale. The fear leaves. There is no need to fear. All that is left is love. the product of a benevolent universe.