Our hope in providing a studio theme at Kula each month is to deepen your understanding of the philosophy behind yoga, so you can start living yoga both on and off the mat. This year we will be exploring the traditional 8 Limbs of Yoga. The practice of yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between the body, mind and spirit. These eight steps basically act as a guideline on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. Our May focus is Dhyana, or meditation.
Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there – buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day ~ Deepak Chopra
What is Dhyana?
Dhyana, or the 7th limb of the ancient science of yoga, is derived from the Sanskrit root “dhyai” which means “to think of”. Translated, it literally means meditation. Dhyana builds upon previous limbs, asana (physical posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (control of the senses) and dharana (concentration) When we gain control or our movement, breath and mind, we are better able to create space within the body necessary to explore meditation. Where dharana practices one-pointed attention or focus, dhyana is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus or thoughts at all.
Dhyana is retaining one’s tranquil state of mind in any circumstance, unfavourable as well as favourable, and not being disturbed or frustrated even when adverse conditions present themselves one after another ~ D.T.Suzuki
Dhyana on the mat
When you settle in savasana after a blissful yoga class, you tend to feel relaxed, carefree and more able to let go. With the use of Dharana (concentration) throughout the practice, you may now find more space within you. This is the perfect time, and preparation, for remaining still for meditation, or dhyana. It is the deeper concentration of the mind, the instrument of self-knowledge, where you can separate illusion from reality, finding your true self. The purpose of meditation is to interrupt the fluctuations of the normal mental activity, our inner chatter, as well as sensory knowledge, memory and imagination. We find this an easier concept after a yoga class, where we’ve spent time creating a single pointed focus, concentrating on the breath where other thoughts are generally quietened, breaking that endless stream of thoughts and feelings. So, how can we translate this into life off the mat?
Dhyana ~ In life
In a word, practice. Meditation is not easy, but once achieved can have amazing benefits for both the body and the mind. It can relieve stress, leaving you feeling calmer and more at ease, and allows you to find space between external events and your reaction to them. Find yourself a comfortable position and let go of your attachment to the physical postures, just allow yourself to be still. Start with an achievable duration, like 5-10 minutes, and work your way up. Initially don’t worry about the thoughts that come up, just allow yourself to witness them unattached and let them go. Over time, the thoughts will ease or your attachment to them will become less.
Once the mind is at peace, the whole world is at your fingertip ~ Om Namah Shivaya
Kula Yoga has a beautiful hot yoga studio on Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn, Melbourne. Kula offers ‘Hot Yoga’ classes for detoxification, dynamic poweryoga ‘Flow Yoga’ as well as a gentle ‘Light Yin Yoga’ option. Beginners through to advanced students are welcome to all classes. Kula also provides prenatal & postnatal yoga classes, and provides Melbourne workplaces with group corporate yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing, and school yoga programs. Kula also runs an annual ‘Kula Cruise’ yoga retreat sailing from Bali to Lombok & the Gili Islands. Find out more on our website www.kulayoga.com.au. Or follow us:
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