You may have come across the term Dharana in your yoga practice.
But do you know what Dharana really is?
Dharana is the attachment of consciousness to a point.
It can be an inner or outer point, but ultimately it quiets the mind and focuses on a single entity instead of letting the mind do its usual thing.
Dharana is a unique process for each person because you choose a restricted area of focus and let your mind wander within it. Gradually, this realm becomes smaller and smaller until you reach Dharana and find inner peace.
An interesting aspect of dharana is that its very nature includes no ego.
The ego, or Ahankara in Sanskrit, is the master of distractions.
When we’re multitasking, our ego demands our attention, but can never really engage with any one of those tasks.
Our attempts at multitasking actually take us away from any activity and divide our attention and focus into smaller and smaller increments.
In this way, ego blocks our ability to present. But Dharana is trying to fix that.
Simply put, Dharana is the constant focus you maintain throughout your yoga practice.
Some yogis emphasize focusing on your breath to train you to focus on the things you can control during your practice. Because many different obstacles arise in the process of striving to attain Dharana.
Let’s examine some of the obstacles you may encounter in practice.
1. Comparing yourself to others
compare yourself with others
A fundamental question in yoga is what works for you. Does it help you move in a certain pose or stay still all the time?
This easily translates into our self-comparisons with others. While it’s easy to get caught up in, what’s its purpose?
Comparison is a natural instinct we embody as humans, but whether it works as a valuable tool is debatable.
Allow yourself to be what you should be, especially in a yoga practice designed by you and for you. When we judge our own process, we hinder our own success.
Instead, if you feel like you’re getting caught up in comparisons, try asking yourself the following questions:
Does comparing myself to others help me?
What do I gain from these comparisons?
Do these comparisons do more harm than good?
What is the ultimate goal of this dilemma?
Often, you’ll find that taking the time to compare yourself to others helps develop greater self-esteem.
The time you spend with yourself is priceless. So, don’t let your energy go to waste on a process that ultimately benefits no one.
2. Compare your current practice to past practice
Compare your current practice with past practice
If you do yoga every day, or can remember every practice you do, you may realize that certain poses are easier to do than others.
As with any stationary process, there will be ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Some days will feel better than others. But that doesn’t mean the worst days are trivial.
Yoga is all about being present. What has happened in your practice so far can only affect your future growth and should not set a standard to fight against.
Likewise, the energy you spend comparing your current practice with past practice can easily be used to find growth in new places.
Ask yourself what the strengths of this comparison are.
3. Let your mind wander
let your mind wander
The practice of mindfulness is at the heart of yoga and meditation. But blaming yourself for letting your mind wander isn’t the answer either.
Rather than seeing it as a hindrance, it makes more sense to see it as an inevitability.
Your mind will wander. How you approach it matters in your practice.
Bringing our mind back to the present is a constant practice in yoga that helps us gain focus.
Yoga is training the mind when the mind wanders.
It also gives you an opportunity to practice compassion and empathy with yourself.
How often can we participate in this process?
Let these moments be opportunities to recognize your inner teacher.
By bringing yourself back to the present moment, you are helping yourself like your own teacher. They reflect the benefits you receive.
This opportunity should not be missed but enjoyed and cultivated.
Now that we understand the possible obstacles, let’s dive into the benefits of Dharana and the lessons we can learn from it.
Benefits of Dalarna
Benefits of Dalarna
Dharana is the spiritual aspect of yoga that increases thought and exercise control.
The physical sensations of yoga you learned on the mat are now being applied to your mind. You apply your physical surroundings to your inner landscape.
Dharana allows you to develop a heightened sense of focus when other distractions may arise. And there will be distractions.
Dharana both calms and strengthens the mind.
Especially when dealing with stressful areas, Dharana provides us with a place of calm where we can seek refuge within ourselves when our surroundings may not be as hospitable as we would like them to be.
Controlling ourselves is a constant practice when we have no control over our external circumstances.
This approach enables us to develop