8th Limb of Yoga – The human mind has a tendency to not focus on one thing and be all over the place. It is the reason why millions around the world suffer from a variety of mental health issues. Be it anxiety or stress, an ever-pacing mind can never do any good.
There is a way for you to bring this mind to a calm state and focus on an object worth focusing on. The ancient art of yoga has numerous techniques and methods to calm down this monkey mind and make it focus at the right place.
Ever heard of Dharana? No? Don’t worry! The information below has the answer to that.
Dharana – A Brief Introduction
Dharana is the 6th path in the eight-fold path of Ashtanga yoga. It refers to a state of mind where you are focused on one single object. This object can be anything from an image to any idea in your mind.
It is also an aspect of Antaranga Yoga (internal limb) by Sage Patanjali. Dharana happpens when your senses are under control and not distracted by sensual pleasures. In other words, you can say that entering the stage of Dharana helps you experience the true spirit of yoga in all its glory.
Everyone tends to run behind things which appeal to their five senses. Daily practice of Dharana calms down the mind and minimizes distractions of external world.
What Does Dharana Stand For?
The word Dharana stands for concentration. It is broken into two parts where the root word Dha means holding or retaining strongly. The second word, ana means an object, thought or memory.
Keep in mind, in Dharana the object of focus holds more importance than the act of focusing your attention. Once your mind is focused on the desired object, no external or internal distractions can affect its concentration. It is a reason why many refer to Dharana as “focused concentration”.
Is There Any Difference Between Dharana and Samadhi?
All the Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga are interconnected in such a way that the previous limb leads to the next limb.
In case of Dharana, it comes after Pratyahara when you get rid of all sensory desires. On the other hand, when you stabilize the mind in Dharana, next comes the stage of Dhyana. You should enroll in a Yoga Alliance certification to know about Dharana from yoga experts.
In combination, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are known as Samyama yoga. However, each of these have separate characteristics.
That said, let us find out what these differences are.
- Practicing Dharana requires you to focus on a single object or idea. On the other hand, Dhyana is a broad concentration. You enter the state of Dhyana only after you are successful in focusing the mind on that object or idea and it stays there.
- Dharana requires a lot of effortful focusing. While meditating on any idea, you have to stay focused on that one thought. Put simply, Dharana is the practice of making an object the centre of your attention and meditating on it. On the other hand, Dhyana is more of effortless focusing which happens once you have passed the Dharana stage. Enroll in Yoga Alliance certification to know more about this.
- The element of focus in Dharana is a bit fragmented. You might be distracted by the surroundings and struggle to stay focused on one thought. On the other hand, Dhyana does not have any fragments but is a continuous flow.
Yoga experts have come up with a few simple tips to help you practice Dharana without hassle.
Tips to Practice Dharana
To practice Dharana you need to cut out all the distractions affecting your mind.
That said, given below are 2 powerful tips to help you practice Dharana without hassle.
Focus on One Thing
Start the day with a workout and Pranayama exercise. Make a list of the tasks you have to accomplish that day. You should focus on one thing at a time as divided attention is not good for practicing Dharana. The Yoga Alliance certification will help you understand and practice Dharana with total focus.
Tratak is a candle-gazing exercise which comes in handy when you want to increase concentration and focus. With daily practice, this exercise helps your mind become stable and focus on the object of desire.
If you find it hard to focus on one task at a time, enroll in a certified yoga school. The experienced yoga teachers would teach you everything about Dharana and what makes it the true spirit of yoga.