A one-track mind, or, dhyana

Meditation. Lots of people have heard of it, many may think they "can't do it", others may not know what its benefits are, and quite a few probably think it sounds all bit strange and isn't for them. We have reached the seventh limb of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, and after practising how to concentrate (see … Continue reading A one-track mind, or, dhyana

Dharana: training the brain to concentrate

In my monthly look at  Patanjali's eight limbs of yoga, we're drawing towards the last few now. The three remaining are internally-focused and build towards what can be seen as the ultimate goal of yoga. These three are: dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption, union). This month I will concentrate (pun intended) on dharana. Dharana (pronunciation guide) … Continue reading Dharana: training the brain to concentrate

Pratyahara – the forgotten element of yoga?

Pratyahara is the fifth limb in Patanjali's ashtanga system. It can be loosely translated* as 'withdrawal of the senses' or more fully as 'pratyahara is withdrawing the senses, mind and consciousness from contact with external objects, and then drawing them inwards towards the seer [self]' (Sutra 2:54; Iyengar, 2002 p.168). In some ways it can … Continue reading Pratyahara – the forgotten element of yoga?

The eight limbs of yoga – asana and beyond

Eight limbs of yoga? Does that mean even more contortions? No, it's a reference to the eight stages of yoga as described by Patanjali around 2000 years ago. I realised that for a yoga blog, I hadn't done much on discussing yoga history, yoga asana, and where it all fits in, so this will be … Continue reading The eight limbs of yoga – asana and beyond

Enjoying effortless effort

We all do it: struggle, push, strain or grimace just to reach that final inch in a yoga posture, or get up the hill without stopping pedaling, or working yourself too hard without taking proper breaks. We fill our bodies with tension even when, in a yoga class, we're trying to remove tension. So what's … Continue reading Enjoying effortless effort