C The Main Upanishads

  • Buddhism

Just as salt dissolved in water becomes one with it, so the union of Self and Mind is called samādhi. When the breath becomes exhausted, and mind becomes still, they merge into union called samādhi. This equality, this oneness of the two, the living self and the absolute self, when all desires end is called samādhi.

Many yoga practitioners are drawn to the practice through the āsanas: the physical postures, of which there are thousands representing all aspects and forms of existence. There is a pose to represent everything, from a boat (Navasana), to a lion (Siṃbhasana), to an enlightened sage (Vaśiṣṭhasana). These poses and movements help to keep the body healthy, as well as unblocking energy channels so that after a yoga practice we feel strong, healthy, vibrant, and peaceful.
But what actually is happening to make us feel this way? Through āsana practice, we fine-tune our awareness of the body and become more aligned and aware of what signals our bodies give us about the overall state of our health. This is the beginning of a process of fine-tuning that starts with the body, and grows ever more subtle though layers of our being—which perhaps we have yet to realise even exist.

The purpose of this article is to briefly highlight these layers of our existence, according to the ancient yogic texts of the Rāja Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali and the Upaniṣads, along with my experience and understanding of them. Your deepening awareness of these can evoke an expansion of yoga practice on all levels, and point the way to a profound Truth which resides within us all – the Self.