This week we explore the power of your attention with Dharana or concentration, Dhyana or meditation, and Samadhi or pure bliss. The last three limbs of the eight limbs of yoga. Attention is a quality that we all possess, but few of us know how to harness its true power. When we direct our attention in a focused and concentrated way, we can achieve amazing things. In the yogic tradition, this quality of attention is known as dharana.
Concentration leads to meditation (dhyana), and meditation leads to pure bliss or samadhi. The eight limbs of yoga are designed to help us move from the external world of the senses (the first four limbs) to the internal world of the mind (the last four limbs). The last three limbs—dharana, dhyana, and samadhi—are collectively known as samyama.
The ultimate goal of yoga is to release us from our suffering. Through samaya we can access higher states of consciousness and live in a state where we are connected to all things especially our higher self.
In order to understand how concentration and meditation lead to pure bliss, it’s helpful to know about the eight limbs of yoga. The eight limbs of yoga are a system for living a meaningful and purposeful life. They are:
1) Yama – social intelligence 2) Niyama – emotional intelligence 3) Asana – physical postures 4) Pranayama – breath control 5) Pratyahara – sense withdrawal 6) Dharana – concentration 7) Dhyana – meditation 8) Samadhi – pure bliss
The first four limbs (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama) relate to our relationship with the external world and focus on developing self-control over the body and mind. The last four limbs (pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi) relate to our relationship with the internal world and focus on developing single-pointed concentration leading to meditative absorption or union with the divine. Working through the eight limbs of yoga gives us power to connect to our higher self.
Have you ever been so lost in thought that you forgot where you were or what you were doing? Or have you ever been so focused on a task at hand that time seemed to stand still? These are both examples of the power of attention.
When we direct our attention in a focused and concentrated way, we have the power to achieve amazing things. Our attention is like a spotlight—it has the ability to illuminate whatever it is directed towards. Just like a physical spotlight, our attention can be moved around from one thing to another. We usually think of attention as something that happens automatically—we pay attention to what captures our interest or what demands our attention. However, with practice, we can learn to control our attention and direct it wherever we choose.
Often we feel we are in the state of mediation or Dhyana, however, we are actually in a Dharana state. We have focused attention on one object or thought. Dhyana or mediation, has been explained to me as an unfocused awareness. A state of connection to self where you’re neither here nor there but somewhere in between. Much like savasana, allowing your conscious mind to drift as it will, without being attached to any one thought or object.
It is much easier to understand that we use all three of these limbs together and practice grace with ourselves and our minds as we try to achieve them.
Samadhi is not something that can be achieved through effort or force—it happens spontaneously when your consciousness becomes completely absorbed in meditation. When this happens, all sense of time and space disappears and you become one with the all that is. I have heard it best described; as when I becomes we and you no longer feel separate. You realize the interconnectedness of all things.
Learning more about the eight limbs of yoga we can see yoga is not stretching. Yoga is not a work out. Yoga is a process to release us from the weight of being human. With practice and effort, yoga can take us to a place where we are all connected to one another and we are connected to the best of ourselves on an individual level. There is power in this awareness and connection
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We love Texas and we love Mansfield. Mansfield is known for it’s Pickle Parade. Don’t just watch the parade, be a part of it! The Pickle Parade is on March 18th at noon in Historic Downtown Mansfield. Sign up to walk with us down Main Street.
Glow Aerial Yoga
Join Té for a fun-filled Friday night of flowin’ and glowin’ at Glow Aerial Yoga on March 24th! Wear your favorite glow in the dark outfit and get ready for an hour of aerial yoga that will light up the sky! We ask that you do not wear zippers or jewelry in the fabric for your safety and to please bring socks. The party starts at 7:30 pm and the cost is $30.
FREE Yoga at The Lot Downtown
Join Lynn as she kicks off the Spring Health Fair with a Free Yoga class at THE LOT in Historic Downtown Mansfield. Class starts at 8:30 am the Health Fair goes until 1:00.
Please register so we know you are coming.
Earth Day Yoga, Nidra & Sound Bath
Join Mallory for this 90-minute Earth Day class celebrating our Mother Earth. We will start out with a yin yoga practice allowing the body to release, allowing us to settle into our yoga nidra meditation. Then we will enjoy the sounds of the therapeutic crystal bowls. Sound therapy is based on the idea that every part of your body creates a vibration which resonates in a certain way. Sound healing works by sending sound waves throughout the body helping restore balance at a cellular level. The benefits include deep relaxation, better sleep, increases brain wave frequency and decreases stress and anxiety. Feel free to bring blankets, pillows, essential oils or anything else to make your practice more comfortable. All levels welcome!
Aug 2023-May 2024 Yoga Teacher 200 Hour Training & Certification is Open for Registration!
If you are looking to teach yoga or deepen your yoga practice, join Sunshine on this Life-Changing Journey. Sunshine School of Yoga 200 Teacher Training Program will focus on the science of yoga and the art of teaching yoga. We will explore posture, breath work, mindful meditation, and the science behind it. We will move deeper to understand anatomy, the benefits of movement, Yoga history, and an exploration of the eight limbs of yoga.
If you cannot make it in person, our 200 Hour Training has virtual Certifications available to start today!
You can sign up now for 100% in person or 100% virtual Aerial Teacher Training as well. Check out all the details at https://www.sunshineyogashack.com/school-of-yoga/
Our 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training will begin in August, in person, virtual or hybrid. Details coming soon.
Come and see us this week. Keep your practice strong. If you don’t have the Sunshine Yoga Shack app, download it today from your app store and book classes today.
Love and light,