Breathwork as a Pathway to Samadhi

After conducting my last breathwork class, I realized that the #1 reason why I love breathwork is because it can give the practitioner a taste of samadhi in a very short time. Samadhi is, generally, a state that only seasoned meditators experience after many years of practice and a whole lot of grace. In Hinduism, this is the ultimate goal of yoga – the final stage of meditation – at which union with the divine is reached. For many of us, this state will only occur at death.

According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, there are two main types of samadhi: “with seed” and “without seed”.

f1-samadhi-diagram

Sabija Samadhi

Sabija-samadhi requires an object of meditation, a thought form, or an object of meditation. These absorptions are usually accompanied by objective goals. In sabija-samadhi, for a short period of time you lose all human consciousness. In this state, time and space are altogether different; you are completely in another world. You see a world in which millions of desires are not fulfilled, and millions of things remain to be done. But when you are in sabija-samadhi, you see that practically everything is done; you have nothing to do – you are only an instrument. If you are used, well and good; otherwise, things are all done. But from sabija-samadhi everybody has to return to ordinary consciousness.

From my own experiences, sabija-samadhi can easily occur during the practice of breathwork. There is no need for breath or body, you become one with the divine, and realize that there are so many things at play that only a God-like mind can understand. Surrender comes easily from this realization.

Nirbija Samadhi

Nirbija-samadhi is without form or object – it is a direct experience of the divine. Nirbija-samadhi is a resolute practice to completely cease identification with the contents of the mind. Nirbija-samadhi only occurs when there is spontaneous surrender of the practice and the practitioner. When all karmic imprints have been surrendered, nirbija-samadhi alone remains.

Nirbija-samadhi is the highest samadhi that most realized spiritual Masters attain. It lasts for a few hours or a few days, and then one has to come down. Through continued practice, gradually one becomes able to come down from nirbija-samadhi and immediately function in a normal way. Generally, when one enters into nirbija-samadhi, one does not want to come back into the world again.

Dipping one’s toes into the various states of samadhi through breathwork and other meditation practices allows us to go ever deeper into understanding and BECOMING one with the divine state of consciousness.