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Wk 135 – 8 Limbs – Dharana – Focused Attention

Dharana is the sixth of the Eight Limbs of Yoga as described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. It refers to the concentration of the mind where it becomes one-pointed, a fixed attention on an object. It is a holding or binding your attention to the object with the intention of reducing the rajasic movement that feeds, agitating the senses and mind or the tamasic boredom and apathetic state that gets the senses and mind stuck. We are looking for the middle sattvic path that cultivates mental stability and freedom from distraction. When he mind is distracted if feeds the Kleshas Avidya – Ignorance, Asmita – Egotism, Raga – Attachment, Dvesa – Aversion, Abinivesha -Fear. We use pratyahara and dharana in our asana and pranayama practice to weaken the power that the Kleshas have on us. 

Dharana is the doorway to meditation as it requires you to rest your attention on something for some time. This requires diligence and persistency like training a puppy. It requires effort, to be switched on, not off to train a mind puppy! The puppy likes to chase it’s tail, chew on a bone obsessively, take naps, hide, etc. We need to train the puppy, so it can be of serve and a good companion to us. So remembering that in practice Yoga Sutra 1.33 states we need to culitivate loving awareness, friendliness, joy and compassion. This keeps a trusting loving relationship with the mind puppy to practice being present. To be present, you just need two things Intention and Attention. An Intention to be present, with the effort and vigilance to turn your attention back to the presence. As the mind puppy will wandering if bore or entertaining judgements, stories, bias and act out. The Yogi needs to be receptive, sensitive and loving kind to reach the goal of practice, Nirodha, stillness to then awaken to the state of Yoga. So we practice Yoga!

In this practice, we will combine all the work in Yoga-Asana we have done in the sessions on the Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara to drop into this practice hopefully with ease. Vinyasa Krama means a special or intelligent arrangement to progress in steps. The steps of Dharana to lead to the advanced practices of Dhyana and Samadhi.

So in Yoga Sutra 2.47 it states we can create effort and focus our attention on these listed below in the intention to become more effortless to progress forward.

  • 1.34 Breath Awareness specifically the exhale and nature pause after exhale slowly preparing the mind to rest in stillness
  • 1:35 Sensation either physical, energetic or mental
  • 1:36 Light that is healing, inspiring and transformative that frees you from your suffering
  • 1:37 focus on a virtuous person, diety or mantra to stabilise the mind
  • 1:38 focus on the meaning of your dreams and the state of dreamless state of sleep Nidra
  • 1:39 focus on anything that is useful and pleasing that stabilises the mind

We will use Prana Dharana, a point to point breathing method. We will use the mantra SO HUM and soak in the meaning ‘I AM THAT’ then reverse the mantra to HUM SA ‘THAT AM I’. And Bhramari Pranayama, Kapalabhati, Bahya Kumbhaka in Uddiyana, Mula Bandha Kriya and Maha Mudra. Enjoy the Vinyasa Krama!!!!

*My wrist is wrapped up to offer myself support as I fell and waiting for it to heal. So I might be demonstrating different things on my hand that is injured. Please follow the healthy hand*