Samadhi and the Lost Art of Yogic Meditation
Reflections on the Yoga Sutra
Fridays 10.30am - 12pm - June 21/28 & July 5/12/19
Cost $35 per class or $165 for 5 classes
It is surprising that when yoga practitioners become interested in meditation, they usually turn to other traditions such as Buddhism or Tantra. One of the reasons for this is the wrong explanations and descriptions of this state. The common description of samadhi is a type of ecstasy or trance - these ideas conjure up images or ideas of a high state of energy and an exalted state of pleasure - and, no doubt, we associate such ideas with experiences that are familiar to us, with the types of pleasure we normally pursue through sensuality and the pleasures of the body.
On the contrary, samadhi is better characterized by the word enstasy. While ecstasy implies an
ex-carnation from the body through heightened levels of pleasure, enstasy implies an internalization of consciousness, a quieting of the physical pleasure centers, an introversion in deep peace. Samadhi is intimate, it is an extension of calmness and quietness.
The other reason why samadhi is misunderstood and felt to be inaccessible is due to an incorrect interpretation of Patanjali's second sutra: yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ to mean the total restriction of the mind to either a single thought, or to no thought at all. There are many stages of samadhi and the first one is called savitarka - which means "with thoughts". Meditation at this first level is not dependent on a single thought but it is supported by various thoughts that stream in one direction - if you are contemplating on a gross or subtle object, various thoughts are required to support meditation. It is not required to jump immediately to one single thought or a total absence of thoughts.
These five talks will center around the first two chapters of the Yoga Sutra and will elaborate on the four types of samprajnata samadhi, asamprajnata samadhi and the eight steps of ashtanga yoga. Each talk will conclude with Q&A.