Dhāranā. The sixth of the eighth limbs of Yoga. Also meaning concentration.
Book I. 35 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (Sri Swami Satchidananda’s version):
Visayavatī vā pravrttirutpannā manasah sthitinibandhanī
“Or the concentration on subtle sense perceptions can cause steadiness of mind.”
Today I contemplated this verse and immediately this memory of experiencing the drum playing at the Drum Tower in Beijing came to my mind. Focus, rhythm, steadiness all present here. The sound of the drums was so loud that I could feel it in my bones. I have this same sense experience chanting OM before or after a yoga class, or when I chant mantras alone or at a kirtan. For me, chanting does bring about a steadiness and peacefulness to my mind and body. The vibrations felt on my lips and the sound that travels to my brain and heart.
The Drum performance:
Sri Swami Satchidananda goes on to write that such concentration experiences demonstrate a “progression in one-pointedness”. He suggests “concentrating on the tip of the nose”, but you could also practice the next time you chant Om after yoga class.
These are all simply moments of this path of yoga…