The Zen comes in context of a yoga practice unveils our journey through the 6th, 7th and 8th Limbs of Yoga.
In our practice of yoga we become intimately aware of the internal flutters of mind as we begin to seek to reveal our connection to one another. With yoga we learn to see our connections to Other and how to be present for our part with them. In our Ashtanga practice we also learn that we have a choice in how we respond to Other, especially when as come to know that Other is Us.
Without awareness, how can we realize our blind spots and areas for growth?
This is the activity of Yoga, where every asana serves as a Meditative Experience.
Why We Do Ashtanga Yoga
The Seventh Limb of Yoga: Dhyana
Moves Us Deeper into the Practice of Developing Awareness
Dharana, the 6th of the 8 limbs of yoga presented in the Patanjali Sutras, is the practice of one-pointed meditation, or focus on an object such as mantra or the breath. Dhyana is the practice of finding a union with between Mind and Body making Meditation no longer something you are doing, rather it is a state of Being Aware with what arises from Body to Mind, knowing there is no separation of Self, Thought or Action.
The 8 limbs of yoga are a mix of skills that challenge you to overcome physical and mental blocks within yourself. Dharana is where all your training to tame the beast of your mind comes into full focus and fruition. Dhyana now broadens and softens that pointed focus into pure awareness – for all that is coming up and the self’s connection to all that you are.
The internal limbs, the 6th Dharana, the 7th Dhyana, and 8th Samadhi, are about developing internal abilities to focus, become aware, and release into the connections realized as a consequence of Being Alive. They can’t be practiced by going outward and physically doing something, and are practiced instead though still, calm, and quieting of the body and mind. They build on one another, creating a strong base for deeper self-exploration. When we move into this deeper space, we are going beyond the parameters of the thinking, clinging, unsettled mind, where things that seem to be outside of us become absorbed. Here we can recognize that “I” and “it” and “you” are all one Being together.
Dharana is described as concentration through quieting, listening, and focusing on breath or object as a means of bringing us deeper into ourselves. As we do this we start to recognize the mental/ physical clutter and chatter within our experiences that arise when we work to strengthen our ability to focus and calm.
It’s easy to hold judgment on what arises in this process and in doing so we remove ourselves from it, rather than leaning into it, and melding. We compartmentalize the arising as Other.
Dhyana teaches that there is no Other, that categories of object and subject are illusions that melt away as we learn the flow of yoga.
Dharana starts the process of what ends with Samadhi, or really Nirvana (if you please) while Dhyana is the middle point, the 7th Limb. Dhyana is practicing being with what is in the present moment meet the present with no judgment while maintaining presence of mind, the peace that passes all object/subject understanding.
After all, we are apart of everything ~ the end revelation of your practice of yoga.