Jump to Topics

Set the mind to meditate: explore ashtanga yoga’s dhyana

Set the mind to meditate: explore ashtanga yoga’s dhyana

Dhyana, the seventh part of our series on ashtanga yoga, teaches us to channelise our thoughts and develop focus and clarity of mind
ashtanga yoga, meditation, focus, dhyana, sleep
Representational image | Shutterstock

Dhyana or meditation refers to an elevated state of consciousness where the mind focuses and reflects upon a chosen object. Many people practise meditation to improve their well-being, gain self-knowledge, and seek some tranquillity in their daily routines.  

Nirmal Madhav regularly practises ashtanga yoga amid a busy work schedule. A speaking disorder makes him stutter. In conversation with Happiest Health, he explains how he conquered the issue with meditation.  

“I have always felt uncomfortable with my stammering,” says the 39-year-old IT professional from Chennai. “In the past, I struggled during job interviews and would often freeze due to the stress and pressure. However, I learned to overcome this stress by practising meditation daily.”  

Dhyana – an overview 

Dhyana is the seventh and penultimate limb of ashtanga yoga. According to yoga expert Rajendra Yenkannamoole, the founder of Vasudeva Kriya Yoga, Melbourne, dhyana is a continuation of dharana, the preceding practice. 

Think of meditation as a mature state of concentration, he says. Mere closing the eyes is not meditation; the object or goal of contemplation is important, he explains.  

Madhav says, “Meditation had a profound effect on my life, and [thanks to it,] my confidence skyrocketed. As one practises meditation one becomes comfortable with oneself and one’s thoughts.  

“This newfound confidence has broadened my perspective on life, and I now approach problems with a relaxed and proactive attitude, leading to quicker solutions.”  

Read more about Yama and Niyama 

Read more about Asana  

Read more about Pranayama  

Read more about Pratyahara  

Read more about Dharana   

An uninterrupted flow of concentration 

Yoga experts explain that a flawless state of concentration, or dharana, can lead to dhyana, meditation, and ultimately, samadhi.  

In dhyana, one’s focus becomes a continuous and uninterrupted flow of concentration on a single object, without any conscious effort. In this state practitioners lose themselves and become fully absorbed in the present moment..  

Meditation in speech struggles 

Madhav says that through regular meditation sessions, he learned that hiding his speech problem only made things worse. “It’s best to accept it and move forward with it. When speaking with strangers, I inform them beforehand that I stutter. This makes a huge difference mentally and gives me the confidence to speak freely without the fear of being judged or rejected.”  

Interviews, he declares happily, no longer stress him out. The difference is that he is now happy with himself, and in control of his day-to-day activities, which makes it easy for him and the people around him. 

Longevity and 3 essential hormones 

The advantages of meditation are unique to everyone; they depend on the practitioner’s personal disposition, challenges, circumstances, psychological makeup, personality, attitude, and physical health.  

According to a recent study, meditation also has a positive effect on the production of three essential hormones that contribute to longevity, stress reduction, and improved well-being: cortisol, DHEA, and melatonin. 

  • Cortisol levels decrease during meditation, which helps to alleviate stress and reduce the risk of illness and premature ageing.  
  • DHEA levels increase during meditation, acting as a buffer against stress hormones such as cortisol.  
  • Melatonin levels increase during meditation, which helps one to sleep restfully. 

Meditation has proven itself to be effective in managing mental health issues such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and anxiety. Through meditation, individuals can transform the way they relate to their life experiences, concepts, beliefs, and attitudes, and make positive changes in their lives. 

Schedule daily sessions 

Dr Haripriya, assistant professor, Department of Swasthavritta and Yoga, Sri Sairam Ayurveda Medical College and Research Centre, Chennai, says, “It is important to set some time aside for meditation each day, even if it’s just 10 minutes.” Consistency is the key to developing a meditating habit, and even a short daily practice can take us towards mindfulness and reduce stress, she adds. 

There is no right or wrong way to meditate, and there is no such thing as a perfect meditation session. Each person’s experience with meditation is unique and the experience of each session can be different.  

“Everyone is doing dhyana according to one’s personal taste. Ultimately, the most important thing is to approach meditation with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow,” says Yenkannamoole.  

Features of dhyana 

  • The breath becomes slow
  • A single point of focus and awareness
  • Practice of effortlessness and wakefulness 

The benefits of meditation 

  • Helps to get rid of negative emotions and develops a positive, practical mindset  
  • keeps the mind calm and quiet  
  • Increases concentration and memory 
  • Improves clarity of thought and will power 

The goal of meditation is not to achieve a specific outcome or state of mind; it is meant, but to cultivate awareness and be present in the moment. 

Share Your Experience/Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. According to American Heart Association, immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest. Keeping the blood flow active, even partially, extends the opportunity for a successful resuscitation once trained medical staff arrive on site. It is an important lifesaving first-aid tool that can be performed by anyone.
A new lifestyle adaptation seems to be about breaking a set of habits that are not as innocuous as they are believed to be
Chocolates have been credited for providing better heart health. According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in 2020, eating chocolate at least once a week helps reduce the risk of heart disease. The study says that eating chocolate more than once a week was associated with an eight per cent decreased risk of coronary artery disease. But how does one choose a good dark chocolate? Watch to find out.
People with vitamin D deficiency have a lower insulin secretion than those with optimal levels of the vitamin, according to some studies




Opt-in To Our Daily Newsletter

* Please check your Spam folder for the Opt-in confirmation mail
We use cookies to customize your user experience, view our policy here

Your feedback has been submitted successfully.

The Happiest Health team will reach out to you at the earliest