Yoga with Dr. Melissa West 230: Eagle Pose or Garudasana, 50 min yoga class, Dhyana: The Eight Limbs of Yoga

by Melissa West on

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Continuous Meditation

Namaste-Yoga-Episode-230The seventh class in the eight limbs of yoga series is about dhyana or meditation. Dhyana arises naturally out of the sixth limb, dharana, a gentle awareness. The difference between the two is that dhyana is continuous.

In this class we will use eagle pose to generate a continuous focus and as a result create some mobility in our joints in order to be able to come into this pose with ease. We will also practice a kundalini meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan to develop a meditative mind.

Chapter three verse two of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali say that dhyana is the continuous flow of your gentle attention towards your object of attention. Reverand Jaganath Carrerra says that when dharana becomes continuous, it automatically becomes dyana, a state of proper meditation.

In that state of proper meditation, your mind is free of thoughts, the activity of your mind ceases. It is an interesting paradox that while it takes dedication of practice to come into a state of dhyana (tapas) when you are in a state of dhyana there is no longer any struggle. Your mind is easy, peaceful, clear and one-pointed.

Peaceful means your mind is experiencing a serene mental landscape. Reverand Jaganath Carrera points out that with dhyana, your mind will be simultaneously clear, single pointed and peaceful.

Nischala Joy Devi translates Chapter three verse two of the yoga sutras slightly differently saying that the continuous inward flow of consciousness is dhyana (meditation). She says that with continued inward awareness (dharana or gentle awareness) we are transported into meditation. She describes dhyana as giving us more time to nestle more comfortable into a meditative state.

TweetableThe distinction between dharana and dhyana here is definitely on continuous. Here your awareness is settling for a longer time. Nischala = Joy Devi says even when your formal meditation is complete, part of your awareness stays rooted within. This is part of what we talk about all the time, taking your yoga off your mat. Taking your awareness with you.

Today in the yoga class I took, my teacher talked about how our yoga practice is a personal practice, however the effects of our practice spill over to all those we relate to in our day to day lives. The meditative qualities we cultivate on our mat are translated to the people we come into contact with once we leave our mats.


Props Needed: Wall, Blanket, Strap

Yoga Asanas/Yoga Postures: Viparita Karani/Sleeping Eagle with legs up the wall, Keyhole/Figure 4 Stretch, Joint Stretches, Garudasana/Eagle Pose, Prasarita Padottanasana/Wide Legged Forward Fold with Fingers Interlaced, Sethubandasana/Bridge Pose with Sleeping Eagles Arms, Jathara Parivartanasana/Reclined Twist, Upavistha Konasana/Wide legged Seated Forward Fold, Meditation to Develop a Meditative Mind

Yoga with Melissa 230 Photos of Yoga Poses



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