The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a text that is over two and a half centuries old that was written by the Indian Sage Patanjali. The text outlined the eight limbed path to enlightenment, with the third limb being the physical practice of yoga asanas.
The eight limbs as outlined in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are Yama (universal morality with others) Niyama (universal morality towards self), Asanas (physical yoga poses), Pranayama (control of prana through breath), Pratyahara (control of senses), Dharana (concentration and stillness), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (enlightenment).
Although the eight limbs are described separately, there is no specific order and you don’t need to master all the previous limbs to move forward and begin to practice the next. The first seven limbs work together to create a path to the eighth and final limb, which is also known as enlightenment.
The eighth limb in Patanjali’s text is Samadhi. Samadhi translates to enlightenment, or Union with the Divine. Patanjali describes the feeling as ecstasy. This is the ultimate goal of the practice of the other seven limbs of yoga.
This state is described as a feeling of complete inner peace and unity with the Divine and with every other living creature on earth. They completely experience the oneness of all life in the universe. Samadhi is a state of awareness and consciousness with the body, mind and senses completely relaxed.
Reaching Samadhi is not easy and takes time and practice in meditation, yoga and pranayama. The steps and practices in the previous seven limbs are all intended to provide the path to enlightenment and the profound peace that accompanies it.
There is no timetable or order to reaching the state of enlightenment. It is something that is experienced on a personal level and not a goal that is attained in a specific time frame. Samadhi requires devotion and regular practice of yoga and meditation to clear the mind and experience the peace and unity of enlightenment.