When the mind has been trained to remain faced on a certain internal or external location, there comes to it the power of flowing in an unbroken current, as it were towards that point.
Dhyana teaches us to observe something without judgement, or attachment – instead contemplating it in all its colours and forms in a profound, abstract state of meditation.
Dhyan regulates and controls electrical and chemical activities in the brain, heart rhythm, blood pressure, skin’s capacity of resistance and many such functions inside the body. It is an active hypometabolic condition. Psychologists call Dhyan a state of “relaxed attention”.
Benefits of Dhyan Yoga:
- A feeling of tranquility and freedom in daily life,
- Reduction in psychological disorders like anxiety, tiredness and depression etc.,
- Relief from various pains, such as headache, joint pains etc.,
- Very beneficial in insomnia;
- Infinite patience, and increase in affection and sympathy for others
- Growth in devotion and belief in the Supreme Being and
- A stronger urges and aptitude for service and cooperation in social life.
3 Types of Dhyana are described in Gheranda-Samhita.
- Sthula Dhyana: Meditation on the external physical object or on its image in chitta, our consciousness. Sthula dhyana is also an awareness of one’s body.
- Jyotir Dhyana: ‘light’ meditation on the ukta- and mukta- triveni points, located in the area of kanda and kutashtha. During jyotir dhyana the light of Shakti and consciousness absorbs all physical aspects.
- Sukshma (subtle) dhyana: It is a process when the subtle state of unity appears during the absorption of consciousness by light, and a yogin meditates on the tiniest point – “bindu”. It is located in the area of ajna-chakra and symbolizes the emptiness (shunya), as a matter of fact, it is Shunya. On the highest level a yogin transfers bindu to Akasha above his head.
Here’s How to Cultivate Dhyana:
1. Live in Alignment With Your Core Values
We all know what it feels like to do something that doesn’t feel right in our gut. It’s the feeling that makes us contract, wince, or carry around tension in various parts of our bodies. It’s the experiences that keep us awake at night or distract us from moving forward in a productive way.
The Yoga Sutras define five universal principles (Yamas) and five personal observances (Niyamas) as the guideposts for living our lives with integrity and harmony. It’s far more likely that we will meet worry and doubt during our meditation practice if we are neglecting to follow our core values.
2. Allow Your Body to Be at Ease
Refine your postures (Asana) and shift your energy through conscious and controlled breathing (Pranayama). Your meditation practice is much less likely to be hampered by excruciating physical discomfort.
Ideally, your asana practice will balance and strengthen the muscles around your spine, loosen the muscles around your hips and shoulders, and provide you with a steady grounded feeling when you sit for meditation.
You may still meet some physical discomfort. (Especially if you are new to the practice of sitting still in a seated position for more than two or three minutes.) But, you will know how to breathe and make conscious adjustments to your body during your practice rather than giving up altogether.
3. Focus Your Mind
In the practice of Pratyahara and Dharana, we hone our awareness on the present moment. We turn our attention away from our regrets, worries, dreams, and desires. And then we choose to anchor our attention on something that represents harmony or integrity.
Whether we choose a mantra, the feeling of our breath, or some other object will depend upon our training and our preferences.
Given these conditions, you can see how sustained concentration and unshakable presence (Dhyana) is more likely to occur with consistent practice of the first seven of the eight limbs of yoga.
What Happens After Dhyana?
Dhyana is not the final limb of yoga described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The eighth and final limb is translated as “bliss” and “union” (Samadhi).
Experience the seven limbs of yoga by living by your core values, cultivating ease in your body, and anchoring your mind to your own presence. In time, the eight limbs of yoga will come full circle and “union” can occur.