Dharana: The Art of Concentration in Yoga

2 June 2024 by
Dharana: The Art of Concentration in Yoga
Holistic Care

1. Focus the mind on an object, either within the body or outside. Hold it there steadily for a time. This practice is called Dharana. Practice this daily. Laya-Yoga is based on Dharana.

2. Purify the mind first through the practice of Yama and Niyama, then proceed to Dharana. Concentration without purity is futile. Some occultists can concentrate but lack good character, hindering their spiritual progress.

3. Steady Asana and purified Yoga Nadis make concentration easier. Remove distractions for intense concentration. A true Brahmachari, who preserves his Veerya, will have excellent concentration.

4. Avoid the mistake of starting Dharana without ethical training. Ethical perfection is crucial.

5. Internal and external concentration: Concentrate on any of the seven Chakras or externally on any Devata like Hari, Krishna, or Devi.

6. Attention is key in concentration. Those with developed attention will excel. A person filled with passions and desires cannot concentrate even for a second. Their mind will jump like a monkey.

7. Pratyahara (withdrawing the senses) enhances concentration. Progress in the spiritual path step-by-step: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara. Only then will Dharana and Dhyana be successful.

8. Visualize the object of concentration clearly, even in its absence. Call up the mental picture instantly. Good practice in concentration enables this with ease.

9. Begin with concrete objects: Concentrate on the tick-tock of a watch, a candle flame, or any pleasing object. The mind can be fixed more easily on a pleasant object.

10. Increase concentration by reducing worldly activities and observing Mouna (silence) daily for two hours or more.

11. Persistent practice: Keep practicing concentration until the mind is well-established on the object. When the mind wanders, bring it back.

12. Deep and intense concentration: Other senses won't operate. Practicing concentration for one hour daily bestows tremendous psychic powers and strong will-power.

13. Different focuses: Vedantins focus on Atman, Hatha Yogins and Raja Yogins on the six Chakras, and Bhaktas on their Ishta Devata. Various meditation objects are described in Trataka and Laya Yoga. Concentration is essential for all aspirants.

14. Benefits of concentration: Those who practice evolve quickly, work efficiently, and produce excellent work. What was once difficult becomes easy and clear. Concentration purifies emotions, strengthens thought currents, and clarifies ideas.

15. Practice exercise: In a quiet room, close your eyes and think of an apple. Consider its color, shape, size, parts, origins, taste, and effects. Mind associations will try to intrude. Maintain a definite line of thought without breaks.

16. Understanding thought laws: Like physical laws, mental laws (association, relativity, contiguity) operate in the thought-world. Understand these laws for effective concentration.

17. Reading with concentration: Reading with focus reveals new insights and esoteric meanings. It deepens philosophical understanding.

18. Gentle thinking: Avoid wrestling with the mind or bodily tension. Gently maintain focus on the object. Concentration is challenging when hungry or unwell.

19. Handling emotions: If disturbed by emotions, let them pass without resistance. Use indifference or prayer to manage emotions.

20. Varied objects: Train the mind to concentrate on various objects, sizes, and subtleties to form a strong habit.

21. Focused reading: Read one page, close the book, and concentrate on what you read. Find parallels in texts like Gita or Upanishads.

22. Initial challenges: Concentration practice may be difficult initially, requiring new mental grooves. After a few months, it becomes enjoyable, offering unique happiness. Concentration alleviates misery and is essential for self-realization.

23. Managing desires: Reject arising desires immediately to reduce them gradually. This diminishes mental modifications.

24. Mental purification: Eliminate mental weaknesses, superstitions, and wrong Samskaras for effective concentration.

”Concentration is the root of all higher abilities in man.”Swami Sivananda

By adhering to these principles and practices, one can master the art of Dharana, leading to profound spiritual and personal growth. 

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