8 Limbs of Yoga – Dharana

The art of the inner body and inner being.  In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called ashtange, which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb).  The Yoga Sutra is considered the fundamental text on the system of yoga, and yet you won’t find the description of a single posture or asana in in.  Essentially, Patanjali says, your entire life is being called to attention and intention.

Dharana, which is the sixth stage of yoga, means “immovable concentration of the mind”.  It creates the conditions for the mind to focus its attention in one direction or on a task in which it is completely engrossed.  The mind has to be stilled in order to achieve this state of complete absorption.  Dharana is like the laser beam that blasts through distractiveness and paves the way for a calm, centered, still mind.

Focus is like a muscle on the body, the more we use it the stronger it becomes.  In the practice of Dharana, it becomes able to focus efficiently on one subject or point of experience.  We learn how to slow down the thinking process by concentrating on a single mental object – a specific energetic center in the body.  Now we can unleash the great potential for inner healing.

When we focus our mind, we conserve our energies and do not dissipate them on irrelevant thoughts, and it helps us to improve the memory, be more efficient, take charge of our life, and accomplish great things.  When the mind has become purified by Dharana practice, we will gain more body and mental awareness, and attaining peace of mind, eventually.

“The powers of the mind are like the rays of the sun.  When they are concentrated, they illumine.”  – Swami Vivekananda

Clare K.