The bedrock of our approach at Dhyana-Life is our personal practice of classical Ashtanga yoga which has helped us work on our mind and emotions.
What is Dhyana?
‘Dhyana’, is a natural, meditative state in which one feels a sense of wellbeing and calmness. It is the gateway to the final goal of Ashtanga Yoga – a union with one’s true self which is ever-blissful. The potential to rest in this centre of peacefulness and wholeness is available to us at any given moment since it is our natural state. What gets in the way is our mind.
If you take a moment now to simply watch your thoughts, you will be amazed to see how many thoughts rush through your mind within a matter of seconds. It takes very little to distract us. In fact our mind is a like a sponge which effortlessly collects thoughts and impressions as we go about the business of living. Imagine then how dirty this sponge is likely to be?
This is why Patanjali defines yoga as “yogas chitta vritti nirodhah” (1.2) – yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. For once the mind is calm and clear, the union is bound to take place. Imagine two lakes – one full of muddy water and disturbed with many ripples running through it and the other calm, undisturbed and clear. If you were to look into both lakes, which lake do you think is likely to reflect your face vividly back to you? This then, is what the practice of Ashtanga yoga is all about – making the lake of our mind still and clear so that we can see who we really are, knowing which we experience a deep abiding bliss.
Dhyana in Action
Have you ever noticed how your mind goes silent and you lose track of time when you are focused on doing something you love like listening to music, or pursuing a hobby such as gardening or painting? This is because when the mind is completely absorbed you effortlessly move from a distracted, noisy mind to a silent, focused mind.
Our personal endeavour is to practice Dhyana not only when we sit down to meditate but in every moment of the day through mindful attention to the present moment – not letting memories of the past or worries of the future carry us away.
More about Classical Ashtanga Yoga
Contrary to popular perception which equates yoga with asana, in the classical approach, ‘asana’ forms only one of the 8 steps of Ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga yoga is in fact a systematic process spelt out by Patanjali in his ‘Yoga Sutras’ for achieving success in yoga. The term ‘ashtanga’ literally means 8 limbs as there are 8 sequential steps laid out by him:
Therefore, ‘asana’, the third limb, is a means for achieving the final goal. A sick, unhealthy body and a troubled mind will not let us sit and meditate – asanas clear the body and mind, allowing ‘dhyana’ to take place.