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6th Limb of Ashtanga: What is Dharana and its benefits?

One should be the master of their own mind, without letting their emotions to overpower. 

As a result, self immersion is one powerful yet spiritual bodily state, so as to restore and regain the lost balance and focus of your holy mind. Indulging in activities such as painting, music, meditation, cooking, exercising, yoga can aid in achieving the former state of being. Although it is advisable, to avoid any form of digression of engagement from your self immersive state. But how shall one maintain this state of being in life? This is where Dharana comes into play. 


What is Dharana?

Dharana, known as the 6th limb of Ashtanga, by master Patanjali is a process of withdrawal of mind from the senses and its subsequent blending with the soul.

It is about retaining a centralized focus at something internal or external. Internally one can focus on their chakras or a particular body part and externally one can focus at a particular object or point. Our entire purpose of doing this is to calmly and patiently focus on that one thing we chose to focus on without any distractions.

When we focus our mind at one single point, then the rest of our mind tends to quiet down. In response to this, our energy is centralized towards focusing on one thing and none of our past memories, thoughts or others actions should divert this peaceful state of being.


Dharana is a crucial step in Ashtanga, to practice Dhyana and Samadhi. Our focus and mental strength regained while restoring the state of Dharana is carried forward while practicing Dhyana and Samadhi. Although Dhyana and Samadhi in the eight fold path of Ashtanga is indulgence of mental activity rather than physical. Thus Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are all interconnected in attainment of balance of mind, body and spirit.


How to practice Dharana and what are its benefits?

1- Practice focussing your attention on a single object, thought or a part within you for deeper concentration and to escape a wandering mind full of thoughts and memories.


2- Ideally, it should be performed at every moment while you are indulged in certain activities throughout the day. Avoid multitasking and stay focussed on your body while you only exercise, focus on your food while you eat and while working or cooking, focus on areas and aspects of your indulgence in that activity. Be as immersed and involved as you can be. 


3- Our fast lifestyle does not grant us enough liberty to take time off and relax just with ourselves. This process is yet again an achievable state of Dharana, wherein you press the pause button to everything happening around you and in your mind to focus on one thing or sometimes nothing at all to revive from the mental, physical and emotional stresses hampering your holistic peace.


4- Reaching a state of self awareness or consciousness, aids us in balancing our struggles such as anxiety, depression, stress. It is all about training our mind in such a manner so as to escape any further chances of self destructive activities and state of frustration to begin walking the path of constructive decisions and mindfulness.


In eteriety, a stable and calm mind is necessary to free ourselves from toxic thoughts, habits and lifestyle. This state of Dharana when complemented with the right kind of diet, lifestyle and an overall self awareness state of being benefits our wellness journey for a longer period of time. A happy and sound state of mind is full of gratitude and affection and undoubtedly the strongest builder for a peaceful and happy community at large.  


Dharana Wellness Centre, a wellness retreat near Mumbai, focuses on holistic health which includes physical, mental and spiritual balance. One of the key ideologies of this eco wellness retreat lies in the holistic approach. As an Ayurvedic healing center in India, Dharana combines the use of an integrative, modern approach for holistic health with Modern diagnostics with traditional practices like Yoga and Ayurveda to ensure a sustainable wellness journey.