By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

The most advanced techniques, in Yoga, are based around training the mind. Patanjali mentions eight limbs in the Yoga Sutras. All eight limbs will train the mind, but the last four limbs are especially for balancing and training the mind.

Prathayara (Withdrawal from the Senses): During Yoga practice, we become focused on the tasks at hand. Prathayara is a state of mind that gives us the ability to think inward, and avoid common distractions, which occupy the mind during most of the day.

Dharana (Concentration): This is the ability to focus on a single point or thought and hold our attention there. Some practitioners see this as a mental or spiritual exercise. Dharana can give the practitioner mental and spiritual benefits, by training the mind, and developing spiritual beauty from within.

Dhyana (Meditation): This is the state of internal awareness, which occurs when our attention is focused on one point or thought. To some, Dhyana is a major awakening of the mind, as this method opens the door to contemplation.

Samadhi (Complete Absorption): This is a state of complete bliss and the highest form of meditation. There are different forms of Samadhi, but it is often characterized as the most complete state of internal bliss.

Training your mind is taken for granted, until we see a friend lose his or her sanity. Mental and emotional health should never be taken lightly. Without sanity, one cannot enjoy the fruits of good physical health. Endless negative thoughts can take a toll on our health. Pranayama, meditation, mantra, and asana can help anyone take control of the mind.

The objective is to flood the mind with waves of positive thought, by practicing Yogic methods, which replace negative thinking. Some people default to guilt, doubt, and fear. They wake up each morning to worry about something that may happen. Sometimes, they worry and trouble themselves over events that have gone by.

How can you practice Yogic methods in public – when you may need those most? To mentally practice udgeeth pranayama, mantra, or affirmation is to find peace during the day. You could be in a crowd, and practice udgeeth, in complete silence. Just inhale, and as you exhale, draw out the word “OM” to match the timing of your exhale.

This is just one of many examples of methods, which can be applied to control the mind. Remember that Yoga is with you all day long, and can be practiced anywhere, at any time.

© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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