When the object of meditation engulfs the meditator, appearing as the subject, self-awareness is lost. This is samadhi.
The last of the eight limbs of yoga described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras is samadhi, or union.
Samadhi is hard to describe, although various authors and commentators have tried. B.K.S. Iyengar uses the analogy of the artist or musician who for a brief time is totally absorbed in the art, transcending a sense of self that is separate from the creation of the art. He adds, however, that for the yogi the experience of samadhi becomes “natural, continuous and effortless.”
There may be many paths to samadhi, but the practice of yoga (through the limbs of yama, niyama, asana, pranaymama, pratyahara, dharana and dhyana) provides an age-old methodology for us to work with.
As Patanjali told us back at the beginning in the second sutra, yoga is meant to still the fluctuations of consciousness. Our daily yoga practice can give us some moments of stillness, where we may find fleeting, periodic glimpses of a state of oneness with body, breath and mind.
As part-time practitioners we will need to be content with these glimpses of what B.K.S. Iyengar describes as a state where “awareness of place vanishes and one ceases to experience space and time.”