The 8 Limbs of Yoga
This episode is yoga philosophy at its finest!
Whether you are a yogi or not, there are many takeaways from “The Eight Limbs of Yoga,” by the sage Patanjali.
In this episode of The BE ULTIMATE Podcast, Travis presents this yogic wisdom in a clear and engaging manner.
Hope you enjoy this inspiring episode!
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of “The Be Ultimate Podcast.” Please note that this is direct from Travis speaking unscripted and unedited.]
Hello, Be Ultimate podcasters!
Thank you for joining me for another episode where we explore all things yoga, meditation, and personal development.
These last few weeks has just been a flurry of travel and activity. One weekend I was at the Mammoth Yoga Festival teaching a couple of classes a day. The next weekend I was co-leading a training, actually, on advanced sequencing with my wife Lauren where we spent four days, 10 hours a day, teaching people how to sequence yoga classes in a way that’s powerful and thematic and potentially life-changing. And then I just got back a couple of days ago from another advanced training where we did a deep dive into Ayurveda. And if you haven’t listened to the episode here on The Be Ultimate Podcast about Ayurveda, go back and check that out.
Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga, and the word Ayurveda means the science of life, sometimes known as the science of the longevity of life.
I’m back in Los Angeles for a few days. July 4th, right around the corner. And then I’m off to do a silent meditation retreat for 14 days. So I’m really, really excited about that because it’s been a busy year, and I could really use some time to go on a retreat, get still, be silent.
These meditation retreats are a powerful way for me to nourish and to have solitude and to really go inward and have a break from the busyness of life and the stimulation of the world.
So on this episode, we’re going to be exploring something that I’ve been studying and also teaching now for over a decade, and this is yoga philosophy at its finest. And this is based off what we call the eight limbs of yoga.
A lot of times in this modern-day era of yoga, when we think about this word yoga, we often think about yoga poses or yoga postures. And I was the exact same way.
If somebody mentioned the word yoga before I’d been to a yoga class, for me, I would think of an image of somebody bent up in a pretzel position, somebody sticking their leg behind their head, or balancing upside down in some sort of a headstand or a handstand. And unfortunately, a lot of us think that that’s what yoga is.
But nearly 2,000 years ago, there was a sage, a wise man, known Patanjali. And Patanjali systemized these teachings of yoga into what’s now known as the eight limbs of yoga, sometimes known as Ashtanga. So ashta means eight and anga means limbs, so the eight-limb path.
And just so you know, there are two different Ashtangas. There’s an Ashtanga yoga that’s a very physically dynamic practice developed by a yogi guru named Pattabhi Jois. This is different.
This is the original Ashtanga yoga developed by Patanjali.
Essentially, this eight limbs of yoga was really meant to be a path or science to awakening or enlightenment. The Awakening is an awakening or turning the light on that there is a reality that’s much more real and deep and true than what it is that the five senses are reporting to us.
We know that the five senses are very, very limited as to how much data they’re able to pass on to our brain and to our mind.
The goal of the eight limbs of yoga is to help us to transcend the five senses and to move beyond the ego. And the ego is this part of us that’s not always bad. We need an ego to survive in this world of duality and this world of Newtonian physics.
But also, the ego can become a cage and become a prison that enslaves us and imprisons us into this little, tiny box where we exist within the small labels, the small identity, thoughts, old stories, limiting beliefs, etc., etc.
The yogis, they were really considered to be the scientists of their day. They looked at yoga as a science where they would conduct these experiments and from the experiment, they would have an experience and from that experience, there’s direct knowing not just theory or reading about it or talking about it but really experiencing it. That’s where the wisdom and the teachings would come from. So they were exploring the science of the mind and generation to generation from guru to student from teacher to disciple, this information was passed on for hundreds and hundreds of years. And eventually, it was crafted into this subject of the eight limbs of yoga.
“The second you stepped into this world of existence, a ladder was placed before you to help you escape it.”
So again, there’s a notion that we live in this world where we can often get bogged down, and we can buy into this maya, this illusion, that we’re separate from all things. And this philosophy, this science, this practice of eight limbs of yoga helps us to rise beyond that world of maya and illusion so that we really have this perspective of knowing what’s really going on.
In some ways, I like to look at the eight limbs of yoga kind of like Led Zeppelin described as the stairway to heaven. You’re going up a staircase.
And on the flip side of a stairway to heaven, we can also go down a stairway to hell. But that’s a whole other topic and a whole other discussion.
Let’s talk about ascending and rising and climbing instead of going into the downward spiral of suffering, misery, and hell.
So we’ll start off at that first limb which is known as yama, Y-A-M-A. I like to look at as the awakened qualities. These awakened qualities are really the ethics of how yoga is practiced off our yoga mat, off our meditation cushion and how we relate to other people. How we relate to this external world. So there’s five yamas.
The first yama is what’s known as Ahimsa. And Ahimsa means nonviolence. Now, I like to take what’s stated as a negative, nonviolence, and spin that into a positive. So the opposite of nonviolence really becomes peacefulness. And this notion of peacefulness really relates to being peaceful not just within our actions and our behavior, but also within the words that we use and the speech that we choose to express, and it goes even deeper than that. And that has to deal with being peaceful within our mind and within our thoughts.
You may be really good at not going around the world in your community and attacking people and hitting people, hopefully. And maybe on the speech and the word level, most of the time, you’re using words that are peaceful and not violent.
But the challenging thing, especially as we go deeper and deeper into this, and I feel this way myself, is really being peaceful within our thoughts. You could be in traffic and somebody cut you off, and inside your head, you’re just flipping into rage and violence and cursing. And this includes really eradicating that violence even out of the mind. So it’s a practice.
Yoga is not about being perfect, it’s about perfecting your compassion towards yourself and others.
And look, the reality is we’re human, right? And humans have imperfection woven into who we are, so sometimes we’re going to get derailed. And when we get derailed, it’s okay.
We just don’t want to get derailed for days and days and days. We get derailed as we move down this practice less and less and less. So maybe we get upset in that little road-rage incident. But instead of it lasting hours, it starts to last just minutes and eventually seconds. And so that’s the direction that we’re really moving towards.
The second yama is what’s known as Satya. And Satya is the word for truth. So this energy of being truthful and being honest. Somebody wise once said that honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
We want to be honest.
If we want to be wise, then we must refrain from lies.
And what happens is when we violate Satya, when we violate truthfulness, we begin to create this hall of mirrors effect. So if you’ve ever been to the carnival or the fair, you know they have the hall of mirrors section. And you go in there and there’s mirrors everywhere, and you see thousands of images of yourself in all these different ways being depicted. Some are very skinny. Some are very large. And this is what happens when we start lying.
We don’t know what truth is. So when they say, “Let truth set you free,” it’s really speaking to this notion of setting you free from these false illusions of the nature of reality. So you pull away those lies. You become wise, and then you stand on this solid, strong bedrock of truth where there is no hiding behind anything because everything you say is aligned with truth.
The third yama is known as Asteya. Asteya means nonstealing. So again, if we spin the negative of nonstealing into the positive, the opposite of stealing something would be to give something. So this is the quality of generosity. The more you give, the more you receive.
We know through amazing meditation practices like loving-kindness metta meditation, when we send these benevolent phrases to another human being or a group of other people, not only do they benefit but we benefit as well. That neuroscience shows certain areas in our brain that are associated with stress in the amygdala region that those areas actually shrink in physical size. And then other areas of our brain that are associated with health and wellbeing, we lay down more grey matter in those areas. So those areas of the brain become more reinforced and more strengthened. So the things that you feed, you strengthen. The things that you starve and you deplete, you weaken.
“You are what you repeatedly do.”
Therefore, a habit in excellence is related to these habits that we create within our lives.
When we’re giving, we’re going to be happier. We’re going to be in a state of joy.
In fact, a lot of times, people that are really depressed, it’s because they’re stuck in this prison where they’re just bathing in all this ego, and all the attention is just on themselves. And they’re focusing on the suffering, and they’re magnifying more and more suffering and more and more misery.
If they can take the attention off of themselves and put it onto another human being or an animal or a cause outside of themselves, that can be one of the most therapeutic healing modalities to helping us transcend depression.
When you’re feeling depressed, the last thing that you want to do is hole up inside your house and do a marathon of Netflix or Hulu or whatever it is. Chances are, at the end of that, you’re just going to feel even more depressed. So get out of your house, go out there, focus on other people, focus on giving back, and be in that spirit of generosity.
The fourth yama is Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya has to do with celibacy. So that’s really about being mindful of how we work with our sexual energy. And back in the day and still to this day, if you’re a monk or you’re a nun or even on this meditation retreat that I’m about to go on for two weeks, you take a vow of celibacy, which is to refrain from all sexual activity.
The idea is that sexual energy is the strongest, most powerful energy that exists within us. And if we can harness that, we can use it to help us awaken. But also, this energy being so powerful, can become incredibly destructive. And it can cause a lot of suffering to ourselves and to other people when it’s misused.
A monk may refrain completely from sexual activity, but those of us that live in this modern-day world, what this really means is using that energy of sexuality in a way that is positive and pure for yourself and whoever it is that you’re sharing this level of intimacy with.
And then number five of the yamas is Aparigraha. Aparigraha means nongrasping. If we spin nongrasping into a positive, the opposite of grasping and holding and clinging– you do that because you feel like if you don’t have that, that you’re not going to be enough, and that you’re not going to– you’re not going to be enough. So the opposite really is abundance.
Being in this energy of abundance that you don’t have to grasp, and you don’t have to cling. That you are enough and you have enough. To feel abundant. To pay attention to all the abundance that exists within your life.
But a lot of us, we grasp.
We try and hold on to people that we’re in a relationship with. We don’t want them to change, and so we can become incredibly stifling to another. A parent can do that to a child. A wife could do that to a husband or vice versa.
A boss could do that to a coworker. This coworker is on this path where they have a lot of talent and skill and inspiration, and people can feel threatened by that. And then they try and keep them inside of a box. And then that backfires.
Let go to the natural flow. Let go to the natural flow of nature and the universe.
We live in this world full of loss and gain. Sometimes we’re going to lose something. We’re going to lose people. People are going to die. You’re going to die. I’m going to die. That death is also something we have to surrender to. And on the flip side of loss is gain. Sometimes we’re going to gain. We’re going to gain more money. We’re going to gain more power. We’re going to gain more attention.
But it’s not going to last forever.
At some point, what goes up, must come down.
Life is full of these highs and these lows or what’s known as the vicissitudes.
When we live by the ethics of the yamas, we move through the vicissitudes of life with more evenness, steadiness and equanimity.
So those are the five yamas: peacefulness, truthfulness, generosity, celibacy, and abundance. That’s the first limb.
Now let’s move to the second limb. The second limb is known as the niyamas. And the niyamas translate, for me, at least, into the codes of noble living.
The yamas have more to do with how we deal with others, and the niyamas are more qualities of how we can work within our own practices, our own life, and also our own self.
The first of the niyama is known as Saucha.
Saucha means cleanliness. And there is a big popularity right now of going in, cleaning out the clutter– I’ve been talking about this for years, but now you have TV shows where people go in, and they’re learning how to clear the clutter out of their closets and out of their house and the amazing effect that that has. So we’re talking about being clean within the spaces that we live in and that we move through on a daily basis.
This includes your home. This includes your car, your vehicle. This includes your office. This includes your garage. This includes your closet. This includes all those different areas. And to be clean. The more clutter that you accumulate– that has a psychic weight inside of your mind. It’s going to affect your mental space in addition to your external space.
In addition to being clean within our spaces, we also need to think about being clean within our physical space, our body space. And many in the spiritual traditions, they look at the body as if it’s a temple. And we need to treat it like a temple.
Would you go and trash your church or temple? So why would you trash the temple of your own body? Why would you put stuff into your body that’s trash and harmful and not going to be supportive of your health?
The yogis, they would do a cleanse four times a year at the juncture of every season as a way to clean the body. So to detox the body.
The second of the niyamas is known as Santosha.
And my wife, Lauren, and I used to have a lovely, little fish. And he was the cutest little betta fish, and his name was Santosha because Santosha means contentment. He, at least from our limited perspective, seemed like a very, very content little fish. He lived in his little fishbowl, and he just seemed very, very happy.
Now, contentment, to me, is a little bit mundane, so I like to throw a little spice into that word contentment. And I like to amp it up to a higher vibration known as gratitude.
So the attitude of gratitude is– the quote you may have heard me say on other podcasts that I love so much that really, really captures the essence of what this is about is by Meister Eckhart who says, “If the only prayer you ever say your entire life is thank you, that would be enough.”
So gratitude is a form of prayer.
Thank you. Thank you for this body. Thank you for this breath. Thank you for this life. Thank you for the sun that rises every morning. Thank you for the moon that shows up at night.
I remember we did a retreat one time in Iceland, and it never got dark. The whole time we were there it was daylight. After about three days of that, you really start to miss darkness, and you start to miss the moon.
A lot of us love the sun and being out all day. We love the summer. We’re out playing. But the reality is if that was happening all the time, you would realize how much you miss the opposite of day and sun.
So there’s a lot to be grateful for. And when we’re in that attitude of gratitude, we’re in a state of benevolence. We’re in a state of fullness. We’re in a state of meaning and richness. That richness doesn’t have to be through physical materialistic things.
The real richness is the abundance arising from within.
And one of the best ways that we can be rich is to be grateful.
The third niyama is known as Tapas.
Tapas means purification. So the way that you can look at purification is your ability to challenge yourself. A lot of us, we want to run away from challenges. We want to be comfortable. And the older we get, the more comfortable we become.
A lot of times, people after they graduate college, what happens?
They put on a lot of weight. They stop growing mentally.
The moment you stop growing is the moment you start dying.
The reason why we were all put on this planet is to grow through being challenged. And this explains why you and me and probably everybody that you know on a daily basis is facing challenges.
Put yourself in situations that are challenging, that are confronting, that are intense, and watch yourself persevere through these challenges. And each time you step into that cave of challenge, you grow more. And as you grow more, you become more. And as you become more, then you can give more.
The fourth niyama is known as self-study.
And this kind of relates back to the growing thing. It’s like look, you’re never going to be a master at everything. You’re going to always be a beginner. And when we think we know it all, our cup is full, there’s no room to take anything in.
In the Zen tradition, they call this the Zen beginner’s mind. So there’s always ways– and you guys do this when you listen to The Be Ultimate Podcast or you read a good book or you go watch a documentary or you go to a lecture or you enroll in a yoga teacher training or whatever it is.
Each time that you do that, that’s part of the self-study, and it feels good, right? It feels good to be learning. It feels good to be building up information, to be building up your knowledge system. So that’s something we want to implement, hopefully, on a daily basis.
This is why I’m going to a retreat in a few days. I’m going to go be a student. I want to grow. I want to learn. And right after that retreat’s done, I’m going on a week-long retreat with Dr. Joe Dispenza, and I’m going to go study with him. I’m a teacher, but as much as I’m a teacher, I’m also a student as well.
Lastly, number five of the niyamas is known as Ishvarapranidhana, which means celebration of the divine.
The divine could be, for you, sacredness. It could be God or goddess. It could even be nature or the universe. It can be whatever it is that you want to call it, whatever resonates with you but the recognition that there is a force that is much bigger and larger and greater and more magnificent than your own limited identity and your own little ego.
Your ego is the small body of self, and Ishvarapranidhana helps you to access the large body of self.
Now, you can do this in many different ways. Some people are going to do this by going out in nature, being in the mountains, going to the beach, and gazing out across the ocean. And there’s a lot of research that shows when you look at the ocean, you look at the blueness of the ocean, you look out at the horizon, you feel the vastness of life.
In some people, this means going to church and taking time out of your week to go celebrate God. Go celebrate Jesus or Krishna or Buddha or Muhammad, whatever it is that resonates with you. To go to the temple.
So there’s many different ways that we can do this. But to find time in your life where you’re connecting back to the sacred.
The third limb after the yamas and the niyamas is asana or poses. And this is what, typically, we think about when we think about yoga.
Originally, yoga had to do with the science and the mind. And then after about 3,500 years or so of yoga just being in the science and the mind, yoga postures began to get created within the practices of yoga.
The pose, in the beginning, was really meant to help the yogi meditate more and to help the yogi have a higher quality of meditation.
We need to remember a yoga pose is supposed to be in service of meditation, not the other way around.
So Patanjali, he defines pose, which is known as asana, as really embodying two qualities. And the first quality is known as sthira.
Sthira means steadiness.
So when we do a posture, we want to do it steadily. So we’re, physically, steady as we can be and that we’re also steady within our mind, as steady as we can be. And that we’re steady as well within our breathing. That our breath isn’t choppy or erratic. And then the other of the two qualities is known as sukha.
Sukha means ease.
I’ve also heard that it’s translated at times into comfort and sweetness. So you’re in a yoga position, and you want to be steady, and you also want to be at ease. And if you’re not, then technically, it’s not a yoga asana. It’s not a yoga pose. Another definition of asana means to be seated quietly within.
Now, a lot of the yoga postures, especially in modern yoga, are standing positions. So what does this mean to be seated quietly within? Well, really, it’s more of a metaphoric seat than it is a physical seat. So you’re in a standing pose but inside your mind is as if you’re taking a seat inside the throne of your mind, and you’re just seated quietly. You’re watching and observing, not reacting but always responding from that place of peacefulness, of Ahimsa.
Some poses are challenging and intense, and you don’t like them. You might even hate them. You might despise them. You may never want to do them again but even in those poses, to be quiet and to be non-reactive because how are you going to do this in your life if you can’t do it in a yoga position?
The posture and the pose is really the container. It comes back a little bit to the to Tapas, the purification. Challenging ourselves physically so that our bodies are strong. This temple is strong. And then this becomes the container for the magic to be able to flow through. Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Your body is the garage where you park the soul.” When we do the poses, we’re making sure that that garage is all set up so that then we can access those deeper levels and those deeper dimensions of who we are.
The fourth limb of the eight limbs of yoga is known as pranayama.
We could look at more modern terms. What’s really become popular recently is this idea of breath work. Breath work has gotten really, really popular these last few years.
Prana, if you’re unfamiliar, means life force or vitality.
It’s energy. It’s Chi. It’s what the ancient Egyptians called, ra, R-A. And the more energy we have, the more animated our experience of life becomes, the more heightened our senses become, the more data that we could take in, and the more likely that we are to pierce through maya, that veil of illusion and separateness to discover the true nature of reality beyond the Newtonian physics and into more of the quantum physics.
Ayama means the expansion of or the elongation of.
The word pranayama means the expansion of energy of life force.
And we do that by working with our breath. And how many people don’t even think about their breath, normally, unless they’re about to die or they get punched in the stomach? Then you think about your breath.
The yogis knew that working with the breath was one of the big gateways of moving through the science of true realization and awakening. And the yogis, they always would study nature. A lot of their revelations came from observing animals, observing trees, observing the sky, observing all things in nature.
What they realized is that when they came to study animals, the animals that lived the longest were the animals that breathed the slowest. And then, adversely, the animals that lived the shortest were the ones that breath more rapidly.
They started to work with slowing down the breath. The average human being breathes about 15 breaths per minute. And the yogis, they were able to work their way where they were able to easily breath one breath per minute. So they were slowing down their breath rate, and then that would have a positive effect on the heart. Basically, you’re slowing down the breath rate and your systems of your body, they just don’t have to work as hard. So load and stress that’s put on the body, it diminishes and therefore longevity of life begins to expand.
A lot of these yogis were Centenarians. They lived well past the age of 100 years.
When we do pranayama and we do this breath work, we’re flooding our organs, our tissues, and our cells with vitality. And then, also, when you shape your breath, you shape your mind. When your breath becomes agitated, your mind becomes agitated. And when your breath becomes steady, your mind becomes steady. The breath and the mind are interdependent of each other.
Moving on. Still climbing that stairway to heaven. Now we are at limb number five.
Limb number five is known as Pratyahara which means sense withdrawal.
This limb is about mastering the senses. In the first four limbs, they have to do with things externally outside of us. And this limb of Pratyahara is where we shift from the external world, and we turn into this internal world.
In the same way NASA’s scientists might be responsible for exploring outer space, the yogis, their job was the science of exploring the inner space.
In yoga, they use the metaphor that the five senses are like five horses pulling a wagon or a chariot. And the wagon or the chariot is your body, and the charioteer, the person steering this chariot, this wagon, is your mind.
The horses are the senses. Most people are dominated and enslaved to those five senses or five horses. When that’s the case, bad things happen. When the horses are leading the way, bad things happen. You get pulled down into nasty ravines. You end up going down trails and paths that you never wanted to go down. And in some cases, you get taken off the cliff. This is what can happen when those five horses are leading the way.
We want to be able to master our five senses.
Our senses may say, “Hey, let’s eat a gallon of ice cream.” Our five senses may say, “Hey, let’s go eat a case of donuts or drink a twelve pack of beer,” or whatever it is. Do the drug. And this is how a lot of people live their lives. They become weak, and the five senses are leading the way. They’re not happy. They’re miserable. They’re barely getting through life, and in some instances, lives are even getting ended prematurely simply because the five senses are running the show.
We want to be able to master these five senses and we do this through practice. Remember, the things that you strengthen and that you feed and you work on and you flex and you exercise like muscles become stronger. You want to strengthen your willpower and your ability to be in control of those senses so you steering the chariot– you’re the one that’s determining where you’re going to go and where you’re going to move, what actions you’re going to take.
Another way you can look at it is the senses are like satellite dishes. And usually, these satellite dishes are facing outward, and they’re picking up all the data that’s coming in through the external world. So you’re getting the visual representation. You’re smelling. You’re tasting. You’re feeling. You’re hearing. And all that’s coming from the outer world.
But in Pratyahara, what we do is we take those satellite dishes, instead of them being pointed outwardly, we turn those inwardly. And now we’re able to pick up on data and information inside … the voice of intuition, wisdom, the inner teacher, what’s known as the inner guru. All that comes from the inner dimensions.
This is when we begin to become free of the external world. It’s not that we don’t need to eat food and that we don’t need to interact with people, but we become free in the sense that we realize everything that we ever wanted, it already exists inside of us. All the abundance and the love and that richness and the beauty and the wisdom and the answers and the knowledge, it’s right here within us. But we’re never going to be able to tap into that with those five senses or satellite dishes pointed outward. We got to turn them in.
When I go on this meditation retreat in a few days, 14 days pretty much all day, this is what we do. You’re looking within. You’re going within, and then you start to awaken that there’s this whole magnificent world that exists within.
“People look for retreats for themselves in the country, by the coast, or in the hills when it’s possible for you to retreat into yourself any time you want.”
Pratyahara is about taking a retreat and going inwardly.
This takes us to the sixth limb which is dharana.
Dharana means focus or concentration.
And you can look at focus and concentration. When it’s lacking, it is like a big flooded swamp. Our attention is scattered. Our ability to focus is spread out and diffused. And so things become very superficial.
When we start to work with dharana and the focus and concentration, this is like creating the banks of a river. And now instead of having this big flooded swamp, we have this flow of powerful focus, singular energy moving in a strong direction. And now instead of things being superficial, they become deep and profound.
If we’re going through our days and we’re always on our phone and we’re looking at social media here and there, and it’s like we’re just going through the rat race of life, we’re living this very surface level superficial experience of life.
There is no time for deep thinking. There’s no time for solitude.
In yoga, the way that they work with dharana and focus and concentration is they pick an object to focus on. And this might be a mantra or this might be looking at a picture or this might be looking at a candle flame. And you just focus on that over and over and over again.
In mindfulness meditation, we may focus on the breath or physical body sensation, or we may observe thought or feelings or even sounds. All these things become an anchor. And we’re focusing on that anchor.
When dharana is weak we lose the focus, right? We start thinking about other things. We start ruminating on our past, or we start planning for the future. And we’ve lost the focus, which is okay. This is how you make it stronger. So the mind goes away, and then eventually, we become aware this has happened, and then we gently bring our attention back to the object that we’re choosing to focus on. And the more we do that, the more we strengthen it, the more strong our focus becomes.
Now, eventually, it becomes so strong where it’s almost like a laser that we get so focused on that object that then we move to the seventh limb, which is dhyana.
Dhyana is meditation.
The way dhyana works is you’re focusing on the object. And what happens is that you become so dialed into that object that you become one with it.
Now you begin to transcend yourself. You move beyond yourself, and you also move beyond time, place, and space.
There’s no separation between you the observer and the object that you’re focusing on. Those two become one and the same, and that’s dhyana.
How do you know you’ve reached dhyana?
You know when you sit down and you meditate and time goes by really, really fast or way faster than you thought like you set your clock for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever and it feels like 2 minutes. Well, chances are you reached an access of dhyana and maybe you fluctuated a little bit between the dharana and the dhyana. But overall, you’re more in that dhyana.
That’s meditation according to Patanjali and these eight limbs of yoga.
And then finally, the last limb.
The eighth limb is samadhi. And samadhi is the goal of all yoga.
The goal of all yoga is to experience oneness.
Not to think it, not to hear it on The Be Ultimate Podcast but to really, really experience oneness is what we’re talking about. And this samadhi is a continuation of the dhyana.
Oneness is what Einstein labeled as the unified field or the Taoists, they call it the Tao. And in modern-day science, it’s known as the quantum field. It’s beyond the realm of, again, Newtonian physics. It’s this subatomic field of energy that exists beyond time place and space.
When we achieve samadhi, we become one with the universe.
Our veil of separateness completely dissolves. There is no more Travis and his body and his mind and his thoughts. All that evaporates. It goes away. And the essence of who I am and you are and that all life is, nature, animals, all of it, the source of it all is one and the same. And again, if you haven’t experienced this, this could sound crazy and maybe even new agey. But I’m here to tell you that it’s real and exists. And if you move through these practices of yoga, you too can also experience it.
Enlightenment is when the wave realizes it’s the ocean.
We’re all waves. And we think that we’re separate waves and that we’re separate from the ocean but we’re not. The wave is part of the ocean and so are.
We’re all connected through this ocean of interdependence and connectedness.
But the reality is that although on one level there is this field of oneness, in the classical world of Newtonian physics, there’s also the world of duality. And that’s the great paradox of living life and of being a human being. So really both are true.
On one level, we’re separate and on one level, we’re connected. And our life is this dance between the two.
“You need to remember your Buddha nature, and your social security number.”
We still have to function in this world or my teacher Jack Kornfield who wrote the famous book After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.
You become enlightened. You become awake, and you still got to do your laundry. You still got to pay your bills. You still got to function in the world.
This is the dance.
“Love says, ‘I’m everything.’ Wisdom says, ‘I’m nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows.”
So those are the eight limbs of yoga. I hope you found it inspiring, awakening, motivating, or at the very least just gets you thinking.
Let’s finish with the ultimate prayer.
“May we bring strength where there is weakness.
May we bring courage where there is fear.
May we bring compassion where there is suffering,
and may we bring light where there is darkness.
May we be ultimate.”
Produced by Jason Reim
Music by Ryan Richko