Drew Perry

Sutra III-2
A steady, continuous flow of attention directed towards the same point or region is meditation (dhyana).

The seventh of the eight limbs of yoga described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras is dhyana or “meditation.” As we noted with the previous six limbs, the yogic journey is increasingly from the external to the internal.

Meditation, according to Guruji’s commentary, is maintaining an uninterrupted flow of attention on a single point. He has said elsewhere that focusing on one point is concentration (dharana), while focusing on many points at the same time with fixed attention becomes meditation (dhyana).

In asana and pranayama we train the body and the mind to focus on the specific and individual actions of the moment, and so cultivate and refine our powers of concentration. When we are able to focus fully on the several actions at the same time, bringing a union to the body’s muscles, joints, nerves, cells, breath and consciousness, then we may achieve a more meditative state.

In this way, in Guruji’s words, “when attention, reflection and contemplation in action and observation are steadily sustained, dharana evolves into dhyana.”

So eventually the yoga poses become more than physical actions, and the breath becomes more than an automatic reflex. We sense and come to live in an extended moment when body, mind and breath act in unison.