What is Dhyana Yoga?
Dhyana Yoga or also know as Raja Yoga is meditation and meditation is needed to quieten and control the mind thus becoming the master of the senses.
For an untrained mind our senses becomes its master. These senses which are seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling are always moving outwards to the take pleasure in the objects of the senses.
The mind is said to have close to 50 thoughts per minute, that is nearly one thought every second. When the mind is allowed to do as it pleases it will inevitably bolt off in all directions just like when a horse is released from the reins. When the mind is in this state there is no peace, calmness nor control of feelings and emotions. Over time the mind becomes like a dirty mirror where you cannot see your own reflection.
In meditation we observe the internal states, the mind itself and we can examine and analyse the mind so that we can rise above it and ultimately take control. From control of the mind you are free from the highs and lows of life and are able to maintain a perfect, blissful and balanced state.
With time and further practice, one will have many break throughs in meditation and we can try to reach Samadhi (states of a meditative consciousness which is above and beyond normal intellect and mind).
The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali
Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras was left for us by the great sage Pantanjali around 400CE. This text is about Dhyana Yoga and shows us how to achieve enlightenment through the 8 limbs of yoga (see the diagram below). The final limb is Samadhi which is the goal of Dhyana Yoga. To read more about the 8 limbs of Yoga please click here and read our article. Below are 3 types of Samadhi:
- Savikalpa Samadhi is the lowest of the Samadhi’s where you will transcend all activities of the mind and you will for a short period of time lose all human consciousness .
- Nirvikalpa Samadhi is a higher state of awareness and the next stage of Smadhi where you go beyond both the ego and mental impressions and only consciousness remains.
- Dharmamegha Samadhi is the final stage of samadhi. At this stage you are beyond even the desire for enlightenment and is given to you or revealed to you by your true self.
Your Dhyana Yoga
You can begin this right now at home – all you need is a quiet place to practice!
There are many ways to meditate but please do not rush your practice, take your time, relax your body and mind, sit comfortably with eyes open or closed. You can either chant a mantra such as “Om Namah Shiva”, or “Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya”, or focus on the light within, or an object if your eyes are open such as a murti, or a candle / diya, or you can even add peaceful music or chanting from youtube.
We recommend doing a minimum of 20 – 30 minutes both in the morning and evening. Your practice will evolve over time but you will begin to see benefits if you put the time into your practice. In addition to this try to be mindful at all times, but especially when you’re eating or before sleeping. Try not to use electronic devices before sleeping and during eating and instead take time to let your mind relax – take control of what you are thinking.
We also offer meditation classes and if you would like to join a guided meditation, where we talk you through the process through various steps to relax your mind. You can contact us here for details.