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Season 1 - Episode 2

Perfect Concentration

5 min - Talk


Ultimately the point of tuning these three centers, the belly, heart, and head is to help us discover a physiological relationship with what the yogis call Samyama (Perfect Concentration). Perfect concentration is a combination of Samadhi (Absorption), Dhyana (Wide Open Awareness) and Dharana (Steady Attention). If we can more easily rest in this state, our teaching will have a greater chance of being a live and true experience.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Feb 16, 2019
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The yogi's way of doing research, or seeing clearly, is known as perfect concentration, or sanyam. This shows up in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, third chapter, 34 Sutra, where sanyam is defined as a combination of what we know as dharana, steady attention, dhyana, wide open flowing awareness, and samadhi, absorption. Now, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi are the last three of the eight-limb path, sometimes referred to as the internal limbs. Just for review, in case you're not so sure, the eight limbs are yamas, self-restrains, niyamas, observances, asana, postures, pranayama, which sometimes gets defined as breathwork but is really work with the life force, pratyahara, withdrawing of the senses, and then dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Now, sometimes when we hear these in order, especially when there's a number, one, two, three, on words to eight, there can be a sense that they're steps, or that they're progressive, that I'll start with the first yama, which is ahimsa, non-violation, and I will make my way towards samadhi.

And yet, in truth, in experience, you begin to find out that it's actually the reverse. We are already in samadhi. We are already absorbed. We are already connected. And part of the play of the yogi is to start to wake up to this already existing facts.

When the yogis speak about seeing more clearly, they're not trying to get us to see magical, mystical things. They're trying to get us to see reality. And so in these exercises, some of what we're tuning towards is, can you find this experiential truth of samadhi? And one of the ways we do that is really tuning the instrument of perception of the belly. There's this sense, when you're really in the belly, that you're in the embryonic fluid of the cosmos.

You're held. You're connected. And yet it's very hard to feel motivated to do anything from here, yes? And so that's why we really work on the instrument of the perception of the heart region, which more closely aligns with dhyana, this open, flowing, ever-present awareness, like the rivers to the ocean to the clouds to the rivers to the oceans. The heart is always in the flow.

So we awaken this instrument of perception. And then how to really know what to do? Well, we need the instrument of dharana, the ability to hold the attention steady, which many of us experience more in the region of what we call the head. We resist calling this area the mind in this season because mind has become to be a slightly confusing word. So these three instruments, samadhi, dhyana, dharana, absorbed, wide, open, and steady, are really what we're trying to hone in this season to invite us to a richer perception.

Because while I know this will affect the quality of your life, I also know this will intimately affect your teaching. Because when we come in to share the teachings of yoga, if we have a fixed idea about how things should be, if we're not seeing clearly the connection and the flow between us, we might artificially force a situation. And the play, right, once you sort of know the connection, you know the flow, and you know how to hold your attention steady, the intuitive knowing, the compassionate wisdom will come through, and you will have no choice but to be in the right action, not in violation with what's supposed to happen. What this will result in is that your teaching will become a place of learning, of interest, of investigation, of discovering together live, as opposed to in advance already thinking that you know what it's supposed to look like. I'm really glad you're here.

Thank you.


Gabriella N
I am really glad you doing this. What a clear, clear, useful and complete summary of how we can understand LIFE and how we can operate "better" in it. Thank you 🙏🕉🙏
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Gabriella, so happy you are here.
Lydia Zamorano
Absolutely on point. Love!
Kira Sloane
1 person likes this.
Lydia! LOVE YOU!

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