Sahaj Samadhi meditation

As Art of Living participants, we are not supposed to openly discuss our practice with outsiders. You are supposed to be a trained and certified instructor to impart sudarshan kriya or Sahaj Samadhi meditation. The comments here are meant as a general orientation to the practice for those thinking about taking the course. It should not be construed as a recommendation or instructions for the practice.

In June 2004, I took the meditation course from Michael Fishman. Only a few instructors, personally trained by Sri Sri, are allowed to teach the course. It stretches over four evenings with about two-hours each session. It’s less demanding than the introduction course in terms of time and emotional investment. Sahaj Samadhi means “natural enlightenment” in Sanskrit. It is a mantra-based meditation system so you are given a mantra or sacred word that you will repeat silent to invoke meditation. You are not supposed to share it with anyone else.

Sri Sri explains the crux of the practice:

“Meditating is the delicate art of doing nothing – letting go of everything and being who you are.”

Like most of Art of Living’s training, the course provides clear, easy-to-follow instructions, simple dos and don’ts, and a narrow focus meant to lower expectations. The Art of Living Foundation’s approach seems to be to get the maximum benefit of the practice with the minimum risk for relative novices. As Michael Fishman told us, we were not going to be ascetics sitting in a mountain cave devoting our entire day to prayers and meditation. It seems to me that Art of Living is adapting yogic practices to modern life, in which practitioners have to earn a living, pick up the kids from soccer and clean the house. Therefore, we should not be expected to cut off large chunks of time. But still, it’s crucial to have a daily practice so the time does add up and the practice requires dedication and discipline.

How it works

I have a daily routine of 20-minutes pranayama and kriya in the morning so I add another 20 minutes of meditation is added with a cool-down exercise. It’s easy to flow from the breath work into meditation. At the end of meditation, you use atlernate-nostril breathing (Nadi Sodhana) to ease yourself back into normal life. Art of Living doctrine also requires that you meditate another 20 mintues later in the day, at the latest before supper. Always do your Art of Living routines on an empty stomach. In the evening session, I usually do a short pranayama exercise to shift me into meditation mode.

Most people think that there must be something complicated about meditating — there is not. What it does require is discipline and a knack for shutting off the mental babble that passes for thinking. The different meditative methods are really ways of turning off the monkey mind. Insight (or vipassana) meditation, for instance, focuses on the breath as an anchor for the practice. Whenever the mind strays, you focus it back on the breath. In Sahaj Samadhi, the anchor is the mantra.

During the course, there was lots of handholding and patience with the students, answering score of questions that ranged from the operational (“Should I shower before or after my morning practice?”) to ideological (“If Sri Sri recognizes Maharishi Maheshyogi as his master and practiced Transcendental Meditation, why does he now practice Sahaj Samadhi Meditation?”). Fishman provided a framework for meditation and its integration in our lives. He also discussed why Sahaj Samadhi Meditation works and what meditation is not — it is not hearing the voice of God or the prophets; it is not seeing visions, and it is not pondering the fate of the world. This technique is not aimed for a swami sitting in a cave on a Tibetan mountain. For Art of Living, daily meditation is a kind of spiritual hygiene — like flossing your teeth — for relieving stress. At its optimum, it’s an encounter with the divine within us.

My apprenticeship

I’ve learned a few things that underscore my practice:

  • I put in the time. I meditate on schedule and within the alloted time.
  • I keep my expectations low.
  • I remain open to whatever comes.

My biggest discovery was that I was really in control of my meditation. No one can tell me if I’m meditating correctly or not. If I want, I can still there and count backwards from 100. I can daydream. Only I can calm my mind, move it towards stillness and turn my gaze inward. Of course, it frequently hard to quiet down the monkey mind, a term used by Buddha himself to describe the mind’s

At the other end of the meditative state from monkey mind is sleep. The restful, silent condition of meditation is conducsive to sleep so it’s a kind of stalking prankster, waiting for the mind to lose its wakeful vigilance and slip into slumber.

20 thoughts on “Sahaj Samadhi meditation

  1. Hi everyboddy.
    I find It thoughtawakening that most of you are lacking critical questions. Do´nt believe gurus, masters and profets, seek the truth yourself.
    Try looking up antroposofi.
    love Bo.

    1. As Art of Liv­ing par­tic­i­pants, we are not sup­posed to openly dis­cuss our prac­tice with out­siders.

      Statements like the above, belonge to the past, where the church had monopoly fo allmost everything conectet to the sritual world.

  2. Jai Gurudev!
    What I can say about sahaj samadhi dhyan is- The Biggest Blessing. I was quite happy and fulfilled after doing basic and advance courses but I had no idea about Sahaj that it would change the whole spiritual perception within me. Giving 20 min. in sahaj drains out all stresses first physical and then those lays in the mind. All gets completely vanished, what remain left is a clear and contented ME. I consider having sahaj samadhi dhyan in my life is the greatest blessing i could have and practising itself is a great blessing everytime. God bless!
    Jai Gurudev!

  3. It’s actually a great and useful piece of info. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jai Gurudev,
    How Sahaj Yoga Medition introduced in 1970 by Shri Mataji
    Nirmala devi leading to self realisation differs by what we practise .(sky technique,Sahaj Samadhi Meditation ) . Is it alright to practise both ?

    1. I don’t think anyone can claim ownership of one meditation technique or the other; these spring out of the mind-body connection. I’ve been told that it’s not wise to jump back and forth between meditating methods impulsively, but deepen and strengthen the practice of one. On the other hand, a meditative practice also leads one in new directions.

  5. We are starting Sahaj Samadhi Meditation / Art of Meditation Course in Schaumburg (suburban of Chicago) on November 9th – 11th with one of senior teacher from India Swami Pragyapadji.

    Thanks for all information.

  6. Great to have stumbled upon this article. I was trying to know more about transcendental meditation and sehaj samadhi , and got the clear answers i guess 🙂

    Guruji never disappoints in answering any question 🙂

    Jai Guru Dev 🙂

  7. Jai Gurudev,
    Will doing sudharshan kriya , shaj samadhi meditation lead us towards enlightenment ?. Should I learn any advanced meditation technique from the ashram for achieving the same ?. I am a business man and I have free time which I would like to dedicate completely towards meditation, since I would like to swim in the ecstacy more and more. To be frank I would love to do sahaj samadhi for atleast 1 hour completely. But I think gurudev has told , If some one wants to do Tapas the it means he has lot of ego to be satisfied. But my case is not that I am egoistic that I am able to meditate long but innocently I would like to drink the divine more and more. Though I get completly contented in the 20 mins meditation itself. i some how get a inner feel that if I prolong it some more time it may lead me to ultimate. I am shamelessly desperate to dring it. Or why should I be shame full b coz I am Just desperate to become me ?.. pls guide ..I dont know what can you figure out out of my above statements, but all of the above is connected and this is what running often in my mind ..pls thorow some lights .

    1. Hello, sorrry for my english, I speak spanish but I am doing my best. I took the AoL course part 1 and then I learned Transcendental Meditation. I am not very constant with the practises, but with the MT I felt the same of you, that meditating more time that the recomende it would be better. I think you must meditate as long as you want ( it´s only my opinion) . I highly recomend you read “Autobiography of a yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda.

    2. hii, i read your statement and i am also connected with art of living but now a days i am also searching new ways and i have searched vipasnna maditation especially for enlighten ment so, you can also find this technique but it is different than sehej samdhi and it is not mantra based so, pls tell me about what should i do, i am also want to give more time to meditation

  8. I have done three course’s of AOL so far and my experience tell me that I am still seeking peace of mind ,and now I am going for sahaj samadhi meditation, I am trying to achieve art of letting go of myself,apparently I need to give rest to my mind by letting my mind go without thinking which is what I am trying to achieve by doing these course’s and I am hoping that I will get to that point when I have control over my scartted mind.

  9. Planning to take the Art of Meditation course soon.

    Me? – did the art of living course twice and the Art of Silence once. Both were pretty ok experiences. Was told how my life will be stress free, blah blah blah. Wasn’t too much into these “living” techniques. I knew how to life my life. But deep down, I knew I could (and have to be) a better person. Did not know exactly how, bit knew that if I continued my life as is, I am not going to develop as a person. So I thought I should try things to ‘go where I want to be’ before it is too late (I am 27). So gave AOL a try.

    1. Girish,
      You only get out of these courses what you’re willing to receive and nurture. Sounds like you have a lot of patience, which is essential for growing in the experience.

  10. Sir, I’ve done course of Sahaj Samadhi in Bangalore, but I am unable to get the desired result. Kindly let me know the correct method to do sahaj samadhi meditation.


    1. Anita,
      First, congratulations on taking the course. As to your question, it all depends on what you have as the “desired result.” In fact, putting myself in the mind of a Sahaj Samadhi instructor, the point would be to have no “goal,” but to find refuge in “nothingness.” Keep going back to the AoL to practice and ask questions.

      As with any form of meditation or yoga, any “effect” will not come overnight. It is a slow, gradual daily process as you become more skilled in honing in on the “sweet spot” of meditation and as the meditative process starts changing you. In your case, it may mean that another meditative style, say vipsasana or zen, might fit you better at this point in your practice.

      Please note that I am not qualified to instructor on the Art of Living techniques. I am just consulting the “guru within.”

    2. Hi Anita,

      Please let me know the procedure to do sahaj samadhi meditation as I live in a town and I can’t learn the course here. Thank u looking forward for u’r reply…


  11. Having initially started meditating using the TM method and later spending time at a Theravadan Buddhist Monastery and using the vipassana method – which I still use – I whole-heartedly agree with Sri Sri ‘s explanation of the crux of meditation. It is the only reason to meditate – the peacefullness and bliss that result cannot be imitated by the external entanglements that hollowly promise so much.

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