Dharana In Yoga & Mantra Meditation
The eight stages of Sage Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga are – Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana (Meditation), and Samadhi. In the post – Meditation – Easy Guide With Benefits & Holistic Treatment – Part 1, we learned about Asana, Pranayama, and Pratyahara, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th stages of the path to Meditation. Next comes Dharana and then the Meditation starts.
What Is Dharana In Yoga
Pratyahara is followed by Dharana, which means higher concentration. Many thought schools put Trataka, visualization, psychic symbol, Chidakasha Dharana, nada yoga, prana vidya, Tattwa Shuddhi, as a practice of Dharna, all of which lead to one-pointed concentration. Dharana or concentration is fixing the mind on one place (object or idea).
The mind can be fixed externally on the picture of Lord Shiva, Shiva Lingum, Symbol of Om, Lord Krishna or Lord Rama or on any other object or point. Internally it can be fixed on any Chakra or Heart or on an abstract idea. In Dharana, one will have only one Vritti or wave in the mind. The mind assumes the form of only one object. All other operations of the mind are suspended or stopped. He will have tranquillity of mind. Fixing the mind on something is Dharana or concentration of mind. Dharana can be done only if one is free from the distractions of mind.
There are various meditation techniques. For example the Mantra meditation, Ajapa Japa meditation, Chidakasha Dharana meditation, Vipashyana meditation etc. The first practice a beginner can start with is Mantra meditation –
Guided Mantra Meditation Technique
- Spread a blanket or an asana or a yoga mat on the floor. Be seated on it in any comfortable meditation posture wherein the spine can be maintained in an upright position.
- Allow the hands to rest on the knees in either chin mudra or jnana mudra.
- Close the eyes and keep them closed throughout the practice. Keep on listening to the instructions with the closed eyes.
- Make the head, spine, and back straight.
- Disconnect from the external world and stop making all physical movements for some time.
- Concentrate and become aware of the whole body.
- Do not concentrate intensely.
- Try not to move your physical body.
- The head, spine, and neck must be in a straight line, but without straining.
- Maintain an unbroken and homogeneous awareness of the whole body.
- Become aware of all outside sounds as well as other sensory perceptions such as smell or touch.
- Withdraw awareness from all outside stimuli and become aware only of the working of mind: what it is thinking, how it is reacting, and what images are surfacing from the subconscious.
- Let there be a conscious development of a particular thought or image at will.
- Remove all thoughts to become aware of the inner silence.
- Become aware of the natural and spontaneous breath flowing through both the nasal orifices.
- Start chanting the Mantra (Guru Mantra or any selected Mantra).
- Synchronize the mantra with the natural flow of the breath. It is not necessary that one mantra should be completed with one complete inspiration and one with expiration. This will depend upon the length of the mantra and also on the choice of practitioner, whether to do one mantra or more than one mantra or even less than one mantra in either of the expiration or inspiration.
- Note that you may or may not synchronize the mantra with your breathing.
- Chant at least 108 Mantra at a time.
- Increase the Mantra Japa with the increased capacity and as per the instructions of Guru (The Master).
- Get ready to end the practice.
- Become aware of the whole body, the emotions, the mind, the environment, the whole room, the guide and the subject being guided.
- Become aware of everything around you.
- Repeat aloud Om, Om, Om.
- The eyes may now be opened and start moving the body.
Mantra Meditation Benefits
- Mantra meditation reduces anxiety and depression.
- Mantra meditation is very good for developing a higher concentration.
- Mantra meditation has a calming effect on the mind.
- It generates love and compassion for others.
- Mantra meditation increases the immunity of the body.
- It streamlines the emotions or the pattern of thinking of mind.
- It helps to understand the thought process, understand the emotions and also helps to discover the deeper strata or layers of mind.
What Is the Best Mantra For Meditation
- A Mantra given by a Guru is considered the best mantra for the practice of Mantra meditation.
- Om Mantra, Gayatri Mantra, and Mahamritunjaya Mantra are considered of the highest order by Hindu scriptures.
- A very profound and well-known Buddhist mantra is “Om Mani Padmé Hum,” a Sanskrit phrase that carries tremendous spiritual benefit.
- Some people use positive affirmations as a mantra. Short, positive and simple affirmations work best.
- One of the popular Judeo-Christian phrase is “Let go and let God.”
The continuous practice of Mantra Meditation will help treat the mental problems and correct abnormal mental behavior. It will help develop an intimate friendship with the mind, and all of its fantastic faculties will open up.
Also, read – Meditation – Part 1 – Types Of Meditation