In Patanjali’s 8 limbs of ashtanga yoga, a state of meditation, known as Dhyana, is the seventh limb. You transition into this limb from the sixth limb of Dharana, where you learn to focus your thoughts. When you have focused your thoughts and it is not such a struggle to do so anymore, you enter a new state.
The state of meditation that is associated with the eight limbs is more advanced than the experiences most Americans associate with the word “meditation”. Meditation has become popular in the United States more recently, but much of it would actually be considered other limbs like Pratyahara or Dharana. It takes more practice to achieve the state of Dhyana.
People might describe this state in different ways and it can be difficult to find information on it. However, it is often known as a state where your mind and body become one. You no longer notice what is going on outside of yourself and you are not thinking in your mind. You no longer have to focus on concentrating. You have reached a new state of consciousness with clarity and focused concentration.
Dhyana brings peace and healing to your mind and body. Reaching the state of Dhyana brings you to the highest limb in the eight limbs, which is Samadhi, a state of bliss or enlightenment. We will cover this last limb next week.