October 17, 2022
Dhyana, is a Sanskrit word that translates to mean meditation. It is the 7th limb of yoga as described by Patanjali in the first written record of yoga - The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This text gives detailed descriptions and instructions of the 8 Limbs of Yoga.
The 8 Limbs of Yoga provide a supportive frame for yoga practitioners globally. The word Sutra translates to mean thread each thread is required to support the next just as each limb provides necessary support and guidance to form a framework or a solid practise. This framework overlaps and entwines to form a logical system that guides all yoga practitioners safely along the path “upaya” of yoga.
Yoga is an endless journey beginning with the yamas and niyamas, which provide a moral code of behaviour towards both the self and others. This helps to clear the mind for undistracted asana practices. When a steady pose and a solid base is achieved pranayama is introduced. Then pratyahara can be achieved, which translates to mean withdrawal of senses. This withdrawal is obtained by not allowing yourself to become distracted by sensation, each sensation is acknowledged, then the focus is returned to the practise. This encourages dharana or concentration which then leads to the 7th limb dhyana or meditation. Meditation helps to clear the mind so that it becomes free from fluctuations.
Meditation can be easy to do, as each of the preceding limbs makes the practice more achievable. Originally the main focus of yoga was to achieve a healthy body and mind to enable meditation. It is then through the practise of dhyana that the 8th limb could be experienced Samadhi.
How to Practise Meditation
There are no hard and fast rules for achieving a meditative state. The image of sitting with a straight spine in the lotus might immediately spring to mind. However, we need to remember that early practitioners lived very differently to how we do today. Maintaining such a posture could be damaging to the knees, hips or lower back. So to suit todays lifestyle adapting a seated posture is perfectly acceptable. It is possible to sit with the ankles crossed, on a chair, on cushions or with your back supported by the wall.
We are fully aware today that meditation does not need to be performed only whilst seated, people reach a meditative state through mindful movement, meditative walking, when lying down and even whilst knitting. Yes, research tells us that knitters reach a meditative state.
Please do not feel that you need to try to maintain an uncomfortable seated position to benefit from dhyana.
One of the best ways to begin a practise is to find a comfortable position and begin to breathe slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth. Each time the mind becomes distracted bring the attention back to the breath.
Start slowly for a short duration. A short, focussed meditation is far better than a lengthy distracted session. Remember also that a short achievable meditation is more beneficial than no meditation.
Sign up to get the latest on special offers, new releases and much, more. We we promise not to bombard you with endless emails and as a thank you, you will receive you a FREE Relaxation Download that is yours to keep.
© 2023 Yoga 2 Hear.
All rights reserved.