Our most recent exploration of the yoga sutras ends with sutra 3.7, which states, Trayam antarangam purvebhyah: These three [dharana, dhyana, and samadhi] are more internal than the preceding limbs. Following last month’s sutra, also focused on the last three limbs of yoga, this sutra refers to the inward focus of dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (bliss).

Over time, and with practice, the first five limbs of yoga fall away, leaving only an inward practice. No longer does the physical nature of the practice remain in the forefront. Instead, an internal focus overtakes yoga as a whole. This is a gradual shift, and one that is not marked by a specific event. The transformation takes place in such a way that the practitioner realizes that the very nature of the practice has shifted entirely.

This shift marks a change in perspective of one’s true nature—that which is connected to, and one with, all that is. No longer separate from everything that appears to be separate, the practitioner reaches a level of understanding that marks enlightenment, even if glimpsed in moments.