A lot can happen in 7 days. That’s how long it’s been since my last blog post.
We were talking about the Yimas and Niyamas. Which is a part of the 8 limbs of yoga. So the the 3rd limb of yoga is the asanas.
The Asanas are our poses we do, to stay in meditation longer. The longer we can stay in meditation the more we can learn about ourselves. Having a leaner body or to be able to sit comfortably free from distractions so we can contemplate the universes and our place in it.
Pranayama is the 4th limb of yoga which broken down means Prana is life force while ayama means to control or extend. Learning to breathe properly is essential. The practice of yoga calls ya to pay close attention to the process of our breathing, something we take for granted.
There are many types of breathing techniques that we can use to cleanse and help meditate. We will discuss those in a whole other section.
The 5 limb of yoga is Pratyshara, which means basically withdrawal from the senses. Pratyahara is self observation and controlling our senses. Pratyahara is the ability to maintain inner peace when you are surrounded by chaos. It is withdrawing from the senses and bringing awareness inside. We rely on Pratyahara to turn the gaze inward, while remaining objective. Pratyahara assists us with finding power over our cravings or habits that are self-destructive. I often find myself going inside during turmoil to find silence to work out what’s going on.
Dharana – Dharana is concentration. Each one of the 8 limbs of yoga prepares us for the next limb. Praytahara helps us to escape the senses and draw inside so that we can prepare for dharana, or concentration. Dharana is focusing on one single item. Perhaps one uses dharana to focus on God, or a being higher than oneself. Dharana might also be a focus on an unrelated single point, such as a sound or something happening inside the body. Concentration prepares the mind for meditation.
Our 7 limb is Dhyana – Dhyana is meditation. In meditation (dhyana), one experiences uninterrupted concentration, non-duality, the experience of little or no thought process happening. It differs from dharana in that dharana involves concentration on one point, whereas dhyana is concentration with no focus whatsoever. Imagine totally emptying the mind in an uninterrupted concentrated state – that is dhyana.
Our 8th limb is Samadhi – Samadhi is to stand outside of. This is a stage of ecstasy. Once you come into oneness with the focal point from your concentration in the dharana stage, you reach samadhi. It is about connection — connection to self, connection to something greater than self, connection to all living things, connection to divine energy, connection to bliss or happiness. Some refer to this as enlightenment. Others may name it peace. It is the final stage of the 8 fold path and the goal of the other 7 limbs.
So you see limbs 1-6 are things we do. Limbs 7-8 are things that happen to us as we work through the first 6 limbs.