Over the past few days we’ve been exploring the first four limbs of Patanjali’s ASHTANGA YOGA. These limbs are considered EXTERNAL YOGA, which means these are practices you can actually sink your teeth into and ‘do’. The next two limbs deepen the internal focus of the practices towards the eventual experience of mediation.
The fifth limb is Pratyahara or withdrawl of the senses. Resisting the temptation to be consumed and distracted by the conceptual objects being created by the senses leaves the mind free to move into a state of single point focus, the next limb of Ashtanga Yoga.
Dharana (concentration) is the last limb that can be actively ‘done’. Allowing the mind to focus on one single aspect of its experience, to the exclusion of all others, prepares us to enter a state of meditation. Weather we practice yoga or not, we all do this when a subject of great interest to us captivates our attention exclusively. However, the ability truly withdraw the senses and concentrate the mind without distraction, takes much practice.
Tomorrow we will finish our look at Patanjali’s YOGA SUTRAS, by discussing the final internal journey of yoga.
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