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Ashtanga Yoga
The Eight-Limbed Yoga
Page 3

5. Pratyahara

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 mind.
Then analogy given to us is that of the tortoise which, under perceived danger, pulls in all its limbs and head.

6. Dharana

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.

7. Dhyana

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 samadhi.

8. Samadhi

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 necessary.

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