What are the 3 levels of Samadhi?

There are three levels of Samadhi that elevate depending on one’s experience with meditation and turning inwardly. Each level takes dedication but most importantly, each level requires us to remove ourselves from the material world and look within ourselves. The levels include:

Level One: Savikalpa Samadhi

This is the first level of Samadhi. Within this stage, you start to transcend all mental activity. Patanjali even states that for a short period of time, an individual loses human consciousness. This is because the way we see space and time is now altered. But, as this is not a permanent state, we return to consciousness as usual. Patanjali describes these stages to achieve Savikalpa Samadhi as follows:

Stage 1- Savitarka Samadhi

This is where the mind becomes fixated on a physical object. The individual assesses the object for what it is through a full examination.

Stage 2 – Savichara Samadhi

This stage focuses on the outer layer of an object and focuses more on the qualities that are abstract. This is a time for admiration of its texture, colors, texture, or sound. We recognize the full extent of the object and it begins to provide a breadth of insight into what it is for us to fully understand.

Stage 3 – Sa-anada Samadhi

This stage moves past reasoning and requests our minds to rest. The mind becomes only aware of itself, its own joy and peace. The focus is on what is happening within ourselves.

Stage 4 – Sa-Asmita Samadhi

At last, you are within the purity of your mind by shedding the ego and being present. This awareness of the self is all that remains. There is no fear and no desire within this stage. Within Sa-Asmita Samadhi you are aware of the authentic divinity that resides within yourself.

Level Two: Nirvikalpa Samadhi

Nirvikalpa Samadhi asks us to recognize our ego and know the limitations of our material world. In this level of Samadhi, we begin to realize the possibilities of infinite peace. The heart will feel inviting and warm and with your infinite love, you encapsulate the universe within its embrace.

This share parallels with the Divine Consciousness in the Shankara Tradition. This tradition speaks of compassion for the world and everything that resides in it. Divinity is in everything and because of this we appreciate and express love to everything and everyone. That this love is within this moment. That we transcend what we know about time and space as our futures and past blend into the now.

Level Three: Dharma Megha Samadhi

According to Patanjali, this level is not one we attain with effort. It is when we reveal that we are not seeking anything, it is a divine gift that is received by those who have lost desires of our material world. This is a higher level of consciousness that’s received the name “Cloud of Virtue“.

The Stages of Samadhi - Integral Yoga Magazine
Stages of Samadhi

How to move towards Samadhi?

Step 1: Start simple

Start by making a commitment to yourself about saying one thing every day that you’re grateful for. Sometimes this can be making a note in a journal or saying it out loud to yourself, but however, it feels best for you, make it a habit to say something that you may otherwise take for granted.

Step 2: Be present

Practice ways to be in the moment. This can be as simple as practicing your breathing, or as mentioned above, pranayama. Take a few moments of your day to slow down and calmly breathe through the nose. Sit comfortably and focus on each breath, while remembering to relax the tension in your jaw and the muscles in your face.

Step 3: The answers are within

Samadhi encourages us to look to ourselves for the answers. Most importantly, it requires us to shut out the material world and focus on what’s before us. It asks us to look at an object in our day-to-day life and truly examine its every detail.

Assess it for what it is, acknowledge it for its purposes, and recognize what it could be. Samadhi encourages us to see this in our lives, but also in ourselves. Take this time to evaluate some of the mental blocks or challenges you’ve been facing and gain control of your emotions and solutions that can help you to overcome them.

Step 4: Be patient

Life is dependent on the lens which we use. People experience life depending on their backgrounds, the lessons that they’ve learned, and the life that they have lived. 

Reaching whatever expectation you desire will most likely not be achieved with the pressure that you put on yourself. Release these desires, as they are hindering your growth, and be accepting and open to what is to come.

Step 5: Equality

Equality is a large component of Samadhi. It requires us to become in tune with the world around us. It’s important that in our journey we learn to appreciate our lives and the opportunities we have.

For this step, practice things that nourish your soul. What drives you and makes you passionate? Is there always something that you’ve wanted to try? If you can’t think of anything specific, try aligning yourself with a specific cause and see how you can help volunteer.

Step 6: Universal enlightenment

Accepting the universal enlightenment guidelines will serve as a great foundation for you to get started on your pathway to Samadhi. This will help you to gain insight into the guidelines for morality, understand how to apply them in your life and how to connect with the self. Becoming familiar with these will help on the journey to achieving enlightenment.

Step 7: Practice yoga

By practicing yoga, you are working to develop a stronger bond between the mind and body. This will aid your efforts when trying to concentrate on the self and the senses. You are gaining control of your movements and becoming aware of the energy within.

Step 8: Channel your energy

Channeling your energy and focusing on the now is an important step into Samadhi. It’s very important to learn to be in the moment and present. You can practice this by focusing on an object. This can be any household object that interests you. Just choose one and focus on its dimensions.

Acknowledge its depth and its color. Practice just focusing on one object for a specific length of time. Once complete, try another object for a longer duration of time. This practice will help you channel energy and better your practice of being present and focused.

Step 9:  Practice positive thinking

When we’re focusing on the self, unwanted thoughts or negative emotions generally rise to the surface. This is often because we have suppressed these thoughts over time. They’ve chosen to linger in our subconscious and come out when they see the best opportunity to wreak havoc in our lives.

When tuning into the self, we’re confronting these negative thoughts. This is an opportunity for us to accept these thoughts and see them as lessons in our lives. 

Step 10: Chakra check-In

On this journey, check in with what comes up for you. Are you noticing specific patterns that have been holding you back? Is there a specific concern that keeps coming to mind that you didn’t realize was troubling you?

If this is the case, try taking a moment to meditate on what those thoughts are as they could align with a specific chakra. Identifying a specific chakra that relates to your concern may help you to find poses or techniques that help to move the negative energy out.

Step 11: Focus on healthy practices

Step 12: Learn about self

It’s difficult to know what is troubling us when we’re preoccupied with living our lives and making ends meet. Sometimes we’re not aware of something enough to pinpoint exactly what is troubling us. In this instance, perhaps there is certain behavior that you’re doing that you are just not aware of.

For instance, some individuals may have a habit of stress eating, but they’re not aware of it. Once you’re able to be an observer of your own life, you can better see these issues. Try removing yourself to see if you recognize any of your conscious choices by journaling your day-to-day or changing up your routine. This can help learn more about yourself and gain back control.

Step 13: Connect spiritually

Some individuals may not have experience connecting themselves to their spiritual side. This is an element that is vital to the progression to Samadhi as you are working closer to enlightenment.

If you wish to see beyond the material world, it will help to connect with the spiritual realm. This introduces you to know there is more beyond the here and now, that the universe is infinite, and that we are all connected.

Step 14: Language matters

In our daily routines, it may be easy to get lost in the negative dialogue. But, this language seeps into us. Into our subconscious, it is telling us that it is okay to think this way.

When we engage our thinking to be positive we are retraining our brain to speak and think positively.

Step 15: Become familiar with the history

Lastly, becoming familiar with the history of Samadhi and Patanjali Yoga Sutras will serve you best in guidance on moving towards Samadhi. You will be able to resonate with stories and statements that best serve you while focusing on instances that resonate and challenge you.

Remember that each day there is an opportunity to confront our challenges and to delve deeper into understanding ourselves and the world around us. Take time and be patient with yourself. Set intentions and be patient in your progress. Reaching enlightenment takes a commitment to the practice of yoga, spirituality, and self-love.

Frequently asked questions

Before posting your query, kindly go through them:

What is the meaning of Samadhi?

Samadhi is the eighth and final step on the path of yoga, as defined by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The term is derived from several Sanskrit roots; ‘sam’ means “together” or “completely,” a meaning “toward” and ‘dhe’, meaning “put.” Direct translations vary, and interpretations range from “bliss” to “liberation” and even “enlightenment.”

Where does Samadhi fit in Ashtanga Yoga?

In Buddhism, it is the last of the eight elements of the Noble Eightfold Path. In the Ashtanga Yoga tradition, it is the eighth and final limb identified in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Which are the eight limbs in Ashtanga yoga?

The eight limbs include Yama, Niyama, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. The samadhi is the method used to plunge through awareness. Learning samadhi isn’t the completion of yoga, it is the start. This is essential to understand.