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Yoga Sutras for Modern Day Life: Help For Those Who Don’t Just Wake Up Like This

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1:17: The 4 levels of Samadhi, done on an object are, 

For the sake of brevity,We will be discussing this verse in parts.


Defining the Sutra

Samadhi is usually defined as a state of oneness with universal consciousness. It is ultimate freedom from fear, doubt,  incessant thoughts, shame and loneliness. It is a feeling of connectedness with the world. It is the permanent dissolving of struggle and the sustained experience of allowing. The  ultimate state of Samadhi is spontaneous. Meaning, you don’t have to work on it. As Beyonce said, “I woke up like this”.  There is no work involved in being in that state. In this verse Patanjali talks about some ways to taste Samadhi for those of us who don’t just wake up like that.


Why It Is Important

Many people don’t go into yoga past asana, or physical poses because it just seems too unattainable, difficult and theoretical. Patanjali lets us know that if we have enough desire, we can have Samadhi now.  That there are ways that it can be experienced without having to live in a cave in the Himalayas. It is attainable now.


Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail

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