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 its 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!

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Published on June 17, 2024