The Eight-Limbed Yoga
Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses from their objects. The
natural tendency of the senses is to go out towards the objects of the
world. In doing so they pull the mind out and away from the inner Self and
create powerful waves on the lake-mind.
Therefore, the yogi must be
able to pull the senses within if he is to keep a balanced and peaceful
Then analogy given to us is that of the tortoise which, under
perceived danger, pulls in all its limbs and head.
Concentration. One-pointedness. The meditator is fully focused on the
object of concentration, his mind as still as the flame of a lamp in a
windless room. When this state is maintained long enough, it will lead to
Dhyana is translated as meditation. It is a natural flow of thought or
consciousness between the meditator and the object of meditation. It is a
very joyous state and is compared to the flow of oil from one vessel to
the next. Very natural and effortless.
In dhyana there is still duality
of consciousness which is the feeling of separation between the meditator
and the object of meditation. When maintained long enough this state will
lead to the highest rung of the ladder of ashtanga yoga which is
As described by Swami Sivananda this is "The state of consciousness
where Absoluteness is experienced attended with all-knowledge and joy;
Oneness; here the mind becomes identified with the object of meditation;
the meditator and the meditated, thinker and thought become one in perfect
absorption of the mind.
Much practice is necessary to attain this
stage. Regular (daily practice) of all these eight limbs is absolutely