Mantra Monday: Dharana: The 6th Limb of Ashtanga Yoga

“Dharana is the binding of the mind to one place, object or idea.” -Yoga Sutras III:1

Dharana is the 6th limb of Ashtanga yoga and takes us from external practices to working directly on our internal Self.  Dharana means concentration and it is the precursor for meditation.  Before we can actually meditate, we have to be able to concentrate and hold one-pointed focus.  The ability to concentrate has been developed by the previous limbs. The body has been made supple through Asana; the breath work under Pranayama has begun to focus the mind, and the senses have been directed away from outside stimulation through Pratyahara. However, concentration must be practiced before it seamlessly becomes meditation.  The awareness of dharana draws us deeper and deeper within and the fluctuations of the mind begin to fall away naturally.  This limb is about assuming the mental focus and internal gaze necessary to meditate.  Still and quiet the mind so you can effortlessly flow into meditation.

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