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Yoga

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Yoga Poses
Adho Mukha
Sarvangasana
Bhujangasana
Sirsasana
Sarvangasana
Sukhasana
Tadasanayoga
Trikonasana
Uttanasana
Savasana

Yoga Types
Purna
Raja
Mantra
Kundalini
Bhakti
Jnana

Limbs of Yoga
Asana
Dharana
Niyama
Pranayama
Pratyahara
Samadhi

Dharana

Dharana (from Sanskrit dhara?a) is translated as 'collection or concentration of the mind (joined with the retention of breath)', or 'the act of holding, bearing, wearing, supporting, maintaining, retaining, keeping back (also? in remembrance), a good memory', or 'firmness, steadfastness, ... , certainty'. This term is related to the verbal root dhri to hold, carry, maintain, resolve.

Dharana is the sixth stage, step or limb of eight elucidated by Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga or Raja Yoga. For a detailed account of the Eight Limbs, refer to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Dharana may be translated as "holding", "holding steady", "concentration" or "single focus". The prior limb Pratyahara invoves withdrawing the senses from external phenomena. Dharana builds further upon this by refining it further to ekagrata or ekagra chitta, that is single-pointed concentration and focus, which is in this context cognate with shamata. Maehle (2006: p.234) defines Dharana as: "The mind thinks about one object and avoids other thoughts; awareness of the object is still interrupted."

Dharana is the initial step of deep concentrative meditation, where the object being focused upon is held in the mind without consciousness wavering from it. The difference between Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi (the three together constituting Samyama) is that in the former, the object of meditation, the meditator, and the act of meditation itself remain separate. That is, the meditator or the meditator's meta-awareness is conscious of meditating (that is, is conscious of the act of meditation) on an object, and of his or her own self, which is concentrating on the object. In the subsequent stage of Dhyana, as the meditator becomes more advanced, consciousness of the act of meditation disappears, and only the consciousness of being/existing and the object of concentration exist (in the mind).

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