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What is Sanyam?

According to Patanjali, practising the three parts of Ashtanga Yoga (Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi) in a single subject is called Sanyam. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, sanyam collectively describes Dharna Dhyan Samadhi.

The three components of Sanyam are as follows:

  1. Dharna : (commonly referred to as “concentration) To concentrate the mind at any place, internal or external, is Dharana. We can concentrate on the throat, nostrils, navel chakra, star, moon, portrait of a great man, an idol etc. Removing the mind from all the places with a sattvic attitude and establishing it in only one place is called Dharana.
  2. Dhyan: (often referred to as meditation) Continually focusing the mind on one subject without breaking is called meditation or Dhyan.
  3. Samadhi: (referred to as absorption or integration) In meditation, when there is only the realization of the goal and the individual form of the mind disappears, then that meditation becomes samadhi.

Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi becoming one is called Sanyam. By being restrained ( sanyamit), the light of wisdom shines and it leads to the light of pure knowledge. In this state, the intellect becomes free from avidya, attachment, and aversion.

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