Yoga with Dr. Melissa West 229, Yoga for Hips, 1 hr Hatha Yoga Class, Dharana: The Eight Limbs of Yoga

by Melissa West on May 30, 2014

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Yoga for Hips


Namaste-Yoga-Episode-229The sixth class in our eight limbs of yoga series will focus on dharana which translates as concentration. It is as if everything in our series has led us to this point. Through the yama and niyama we develop a reverence for ourselves and all living beings in the world with whom we are interconnected. Our practice of asana and pranayama allows us to gather and refine our life force, bringing ease and steadiness to our bodies, minds, hearts and emotions. The fifth limb that we practiced last week, pratyahara, teaches us to draw our senses inward in an intimate way. This week we will bring a gentle contemplation, an easeful awareness and friendly presence with what is. We will do this through long holds to focus on sensations in our bodies and meditation practices to focus on our breath.

Chapter three, verse one translates dharana as the binding of the mind to one place, object, or idea. Reverend Jaganath Carrera points out that our minds are not in the habit of focusing on one thing, in fact, our minds want to run all over the place, and they do. With the practice of dharana you bring your mind back to your point of focus, over and over again. Eventually your mind’s wanderings will become less frequent and your mind will become more still and clear.

This week, it is as though everything we have been practicing since the beginning of the eight limbs of yoga are coming together, or should we say inward? As Nischala Joy Devi points out, only five of the eight limbs of yoga are in book two of the Yoga Sutras, and the final three limbs (dharana (contemplation), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (union with divine consciousness) are in book three. Devi suggests that this is not because they are separate practices, but rather progressions towards internal states cultivated from our earlier practices.

Through the yama and niyama we develop a reverence for ourselves and all living beings in the world with whom we are interconnected. Our practice of asana and pranayama allows us to gather and refine our life force, bringing ease and steadiness to our bodies, minds, hearts and emotions. The fifth limb that we practiced last week, pratyahara, teaches us to draw our senses inward in an intimate way. Through all of these practices we become ready for what Nischala Joy Devi calls an easeful awareness. Or at my Shambhala meditation practice here in Victoria they call it a friendly presence with what is. There is comfort and ease with what is happening now.

Tweetable Quote: Dharana is gentle contemplation, an easeful awareness and friendly presence with what is. Melissa West.

Yoga Props Needed: Yoga Blanket, Blocks, Eye Pillow.

Yoga with Melissa 229 Photos of Yoga Poses

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