Meditation is an extremely effective tool that can be hard and frustrating to find out. When you 1st begin practicing, you find out how uncomplicated it is to be distracted by all the other thoughts and feelings that swirl about in your thoughts. You also find out how a great deal practice and determination to find out how to meditate, in particular to practice routinely and regularly in your each day life. The important to meditating correctly is an ancient yogic strategy known as dharana—the sustained practice of focused concentration. Learning and practicing this mental talent can make your meditation much easier, more helpful, and a great deal much less agonizing.
The journey to stillness
As numerous who have attempted meditation almost certainly know, the journey to stillness demands a lot of patience. The scriptures of yoga describe a procedure to meditation that appears, on paper, to be rather linear. For instance, Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga outline a step-by-step guide to reaching enlightenment in a way that nearly reads as uncomplicated.
But how numerous instances have you sat down to meditate only to observe a thoughts complete of speedy thoughts moving in all directions? If this has occurred on your cushion, you are in the majority. Let’s 1st recognize that even the master yogis have been human. Remember—the really explanation the eight limbs and other suggestions have been produced was so that we would have handrails to hold when the mind’s winds of transform threatened to knock us more than.
Patanjali intentionally decoupled concentration and focus from the practice of meditation. He realized you can not meditate without having a fundamental quantity of sustained attention—this ought to be established 1st. Practicing a single-pointed concentration for a period of time naturally leads to the seventh limb, dhyana or meditation.
What is Dharana?
Dharana in Sanskrit indicates concentration or single focus. “Dha” indicates “holding, carrying, or maintaining”, and “ana” indicates “other, or something else.” It is the sixth limb in the eight-limbed path of Ashtanga Yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras. It is the initial step in attaining a state of meditation.
Dharana is the sustained practice of focused concentration on a single object. This focus is normally the breath, but it can also be the repetition of a mantra, the visualization of a deity, or the contemplation of a deep truth. It’s not so critical what this object is that we are focusing on the objective is to quiet the thoughts with this total concentration.
Dharana vs. dhyana
The distinction involving dharana and dhyana can be a bit confusing. Dharana is the active focusing and concentration on a single point. Dhyana is a state of thoughts exactly where one’s focus is maintained or absorbed in the point of focus. Dharana is like focusing the lens of a camera on a moving object and dhyana is when the object remains nevertheless and the camera’s focus is locked on to the object.
Are you prepared to practice?
Classical yoga texts inform us that the final 3 of Patanjali’s limbs—dharana (deep concentration), dhyana (awareness of existence) and samadhi (oneness or enlightenment)—are to be practiced after we have a foundational understanding of yoga’s powers of illumination. According to B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga, we are prepared to practice dharana after “the body has been tempered by asanas, when the mind has been refined by the fire of pranayama, and when the senses have been brought under control by pratyahara.”
The other stages in the eight-fold path also provide a powerful foundation for practice. The Yamas and Niyamas are the ethical and moral requirements that assistance a yogic way of life. Having a comfy seated position, a single that does not take also a great deal work to keep in, will be vital. A slow deep calming yogic breath will also be useful to calm and steady the thoughts.
Four kinds of concentration
There are 4 stages of concentration that use unique levels of objects, from the most physical to the most subtle, to enhance concentration. The more subtle the object, the tougher it will be to concentrate and build the absorption of thoughts on the distinct object. These are viewed as progressive stages to challenge and deepen your energy of concentration.
- Vitarka (dense) concentration focuses on a strong or tangible object. This would contain objects such as the breath, the senses, visualizations, mantras, or thoughts.
- Vichara (subtle) concentration focuses on power (prana, chakras, vayus), elements of the thoughts, and spiritual and philosophical qualities.
- Ananda (enjoyment) concentration focuses on the joy and bliss located in deep states of meditation.
- Asmita (individuality) concentration focuses on the detached sense of self that is the witness of all of your experiences.
Dharana in practice
In dharana, the aim of the practice is to create the capacity to regain your focus when the thoughts wanders away from the object of your concentration. An vital aspect of this practice is developing the awareness of when your consideration wanders away towards other thoughts.
So what does it imply to practice dharana? Rolf Sovik, author of Moving Inward: The Journey to Meditation, says that we can consider of dhyana as “meditation proper,” and that our knowledge of dhyana is created achievable by a sustained practice of dharana. If we have been to consider of dharana—our commitment to focus the thoughts on a single breath, mantra, or sensation—as taking notice of each drop of water as it drips from a faucet, then dhyana is a stream of water droplets, flowing without having pause. In other words, after we train the thoughts to return its focus to the present moment more than and more than once more, ultimately there is no pause involving these moments and we knowledge pure, present awareness, or meditation.
An instance of how yogis use dharana to move into dhyana is with mala beads, or mantra meditation. When meditating, close your eyes and touch every single bead. With each touch, repeat a mantra to your self or refocus your awareness on your breath. At 1st, you will have to re-harness your awareness with each bead involving each touch you will observe the brain’s habitual need to chase a further believed, memory, emotion or thought. But with continued practice, dharana’s duration will final for two beads, then 3, then for an whole mala till you are seated in a steady stream of pure awareness. If you are applying a mantra, it will start to flow effortlessly without having the exertion of the thoughts, and you will start to knowledge a level of awareness that is distinct from the influence of any thoughts. It is right here, yogis say, that we start to find out and find out our correct nature.
Benefits of dharana
Many folks who practice dharana think it aids them strengthen their memory and aids clear their minds of be concerned and adverse thoughts. It can aid you strengthen your yoga practice by bringing more consideration and focus to the breath and alignment of the yoga asanas. Lastly, if you can find out to be focused in the midst of each day life, you will come across your self more productive, relaxed, and in a position to deal with pressure more correctly.