In our previous blog post, we discussed two aspects of Ashtaanga Yoga in detail. In today’s blog, we will delve into the next two aspects of Ashtaanga Yoga, namely: Physical and mental aspect and Mental aspect.
Physical and mental aspect of Ashtaanga Yoga
Unveiling the essence of pratyahara in simple points:
Sense Control: Conquer your senses to embark on a successful spiritual journey. It’s the vital first step towards attaining a stable mind (chitta).
Withdrawal of Senses: Pratyahara means withdrawing the senses from their usual objects. When the senses detach, they align with the serene nature of the mind.
Breaking the Connection: By breaking the link between senses and objects, the senses naturally follow the nature of the chitta. This withdrawal is known as pratyahara.
Returning to the Source: When we disconnect the senses from their objects, they return to their origin, the chitta. They find tranquility by embracing the peaceful nature within.
Not Consuming: Pratyahara, derived from “prati” (to return) and “āhār” (to consume), signifies not indulging the senses. When the senses refrain from seeking external objects, they follow the chitta’s lead.
Experience the power of pratyahara, gain mastery over your senses, and unlock inner harmony. Embrace this practice to delve deeper into your spiritual journey.
Mental aspects of Ashtang Yoga:
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyaana (meditation)
- Samadhi (full absorption in one object)
Dharana translates to “holding” or “concentration.” It involves directing the chitta (mind) to a single point and withdrawing its attention from other distractions.
The aim is to bind the chitta to a specific place, both externally and internally. It can be an object like a candle flame, a revered figure, or an internal point like the tip of the nose or the heart.
Dharana involves focusing the mind on a chosen object continuously or intermittently, maintaining a steady flow of concentration.
The focus can be on objects outside the body, such as stars or images, or on internal spaces like the breath, mental imagery, or specific body points.
By practicing Dharana, we cultivate the ability to hold our attention and develop a heightened state of awareness, preparing us for deeper stages of meditation.
Experience the power of Dharana as a gateway to inner stillness and clarity. Master the art of concentration to harness your mind’s potential and embark on a profound journey of self-discovery.
Discover the essence of Dhyaana in simple points:
Continuous Focus: Dhyaana is achieved when the mind remains unwaveringly fixed on a single place or object without any distractions.
Unbroken Attention: Ekatānatā is the key – it represents the uninterrupted flow of focus, just like a seamless stream of oil. In Dhyaana, the mind remains undistracted, fully absorbed in its chosen focal point.
Internal or External: Dhyaana encompasses directing the mind’s focus to any place, whether it’s external or internal, without allowing concentration to break.
Thoughtful Stillness: Engage in righteous thoughts during Dhyaana, maintaining a steady flow of harmonious reflections and nurturing the mind.
Beyond Concentration: Dhyaana transcends ordinary concentration. It’s a state of deep absorption, where distractions fade away, and inner peace and heightened awareness prevail.
Experience the transformative practice of Dhyaana as you embark on a journey of self-discovery. Cultivate inner stillness, find tranquility, and unlock the profound benefits of meditation
Samadhi (full absorption in one object)
Continuous concentration on an object is called dhyaana or meditation (dhyaana). Here, the practitioner is completely aware of his surroundings and has knowledge of the object as well. But, when the practitioner gets completely absorbed in the object and the object is perceived as it truly exists in reality, then it is called samadhi. Here, all the knowledge about the object disappears, and the practitioner even loses knowledge about himself and his surroundings.
To attain samadhi, meditation needs to be intense and deep. When the mind is solely occupied by the object of concentration, knowledge is not experienced, and the mind becomes almost empty, or ‘like nothing’. Complete absorption of the mind in the object leads to the mind taking the form of the object, resulting in samadhi.
This form of samadhi strengthens the power of concentration without necessarily leading to liberation.
This specific type of samadhi is regarded as a lower level samadhi that primarily improves concentration. However, liberation can be achieved through practices such as abhyaasa (practice) and vairagya (detachment).