Asana and Dharana

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Asana and Dharana

Postby bdc » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:50 am

Should asana and dharana generally be done separately? I've just seen Jane Wolfe's Cefalu diary where they are performed separately.
Currently I practice both combined daily for thirty minutes (at least once a day, twice where possible). I hold one posture while concentrating on one thing - usually a mantra but sometimes a visualised focus - while doing rhythmic breathing (a variation of the four fold breath where the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation + holding full + holding empty - it's timed with the mantra).
I count the breaks of posture and concentration and note the number and nature of the breaks (such as the content of the thoughts when the concentration drifts) in my diary. Would it be better to separate the two?
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Re: Asana and Dharana

Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Oct 01, 2014 11:29 am

bdc wrote:Should asana and dharana generally be done separately?

One needs a certain level of success in asana before one stands any significant chance of success in dharana; so yes, generally one will drill on asana first until there is a certain mastery. Otherwise, one is likely to experience incessant frustration in dharana.

At a certain point, after one begins meditating while in posture, I would tend to think of the practice not primarily as one of asana but a practice of dharana; the asana is merely a condition of the dharana, and one that is so habituated as to not require any particular attention. Or, one can continue to drill as separate practices, of course.

As an example, remember that A.'.A.'. examination in asana is part of the 2=9 work before moivng to 3=8. Dharana is part of the work in which one must pass before moving from Dominus Liminis to 5=6.

I count the breaks of posture and concentration

That's a lot of counting and distinguishing, especially since every time you observe a break of posture you are necessarily also breaking concentration. :)

Would it be better to separate the two?

"Better" is highly individual. Generally, I would tend to recommend that one follow a sequence, and move on to a later step in the 8-fold path after mastering an earlier step, i.e., get entirely secure in posture and breathing before commiting yourself to a practice of concentratedness.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
Jim Eshelman
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Re: Asana and Dharana

Postby bdc » Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:36 pm

Excellent, many thanks!
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Re: Asana and Dharana

Postby Faust » Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:04 pm

Although the question was not addressed to me, allow me to offer an opinion.

It may not be standard but, after a while, my attempts at dharana resulted in increasing the stability of my asana (even resulting in the “lockup” sensation). A silent mind made my body more quiet.

And too much worrying with breaks actually makes you more agitated than focused. That is something I started doing only after a lot of practice.
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Re: Asana and Dharana

Postby bdc » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:51 am

Thanks very much for your thoughts, Faust, it's much appreciated!
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