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7th Limb -Dhyana

Definition - What does Dhyana mean?

Dhyana is a Sanskrit word meaning "meditation." It is derived from the root words, dhi, meaning “receptacle” or “the mind”; and yana, meaning “moving” or “going.” An alternate root word, dhyai, means "to think of."

One way to understand the distinction between concentration and meditation is by using rain as an analogy. When rain starts, the moisture of clouds and fog (everyday awareness) coalesces into concentrated moisture and becomes distinct raindrops. These raindrops represent dharana—intermittent moments of focused attention. When the rain falls to earth and creates a river, the merging of the individual raindrops into one stream is like dhyana or meditation. The separate raindrops merge into one continuous flow, just as individual moments of dharana merge into the uninterrupted focus of meditation. In English, we often use the word "meditate" to mean "to think," but in yoga, meditation is not thinking; instead, it is a deep sense of unity with an object or activity.

Judith Lasater

In meditation, the object of focus disappears. The subject disappears. In this state, all borders, boundaries, and separation between ourselves and the universe begin to disappear.

In Ashtanga there are three single focus points:


The breathing technique used in Ashtanga.


Mula bandha contraction of the perineum.

Uddiyana bandha, contraction of the lower abdomen.

DRISHTI: (view or gaze)

Is a specific focal point that is employed while holding a yoga posture. The ancient yogis discovered that where our gaze is directed our attention naturally follows, and that the quality of our gazing is directly reflected in the quality of our mental thoughts.


At first we may focus on one element at a time, as our practice matures then we are able to bring our focus on each of these elements simultaneously.

In Dhyana, mind connects to Mind, spirit connects to Spirit. Insight flows from this connection, but what keeps us returning to our mats is the peace that enters our lives as a result of becoming still.

Jonathan Foust guided meditation:-

Every meditation technique has one object as its focal point that you return to again and again. It could be the breath, a mantra, a thought, a sensation, a prayer. Having sensation in the body as a focal point is a powerful doorway for the mind to be drawn inside. The first level is concentration, or Dharana. I see this as being one-pointed, and it is very much associated with the linear mind. We naturally move into altered states, and sometimes we will experience Dhyana, or what could be called “one flowing ness,” and in this flowingness we become more aware of the field in which thoughts are arising.

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