Dharana is the sixth limb of yoga.  The essential idea in the concept of Dharana is focus of attention on a single object.  In Dharana, we create the conditions for the mind to focus its attention in one and only one direction.  We encourage one particular activity of the mind and, the more intense it becomes, more easy it is for the other activities of the mind fall away.  Dharana is therefore the condition in which the mind focuses and concentrates exclusively on one point and thus forces the mind into the nowDharana is only one step away from Dhyana, contemplation, or meditation.

The mental exercise begins by focusing on an object and developing the discipline to return to it every time the mind fluctuates.  The object of focus could be a physical object, concept, or even a person.  The object should be pleasing to the mind because if it is something that causes irritation, distraction, or discomfort, then the mind will drift away from the object.  The object of focus should have the qualities of sattwaDharana is training the mind itself to gain mastery over what it pays attention to (and how it is paid) as a way of staying present.  Dharana practiced is devoted to instructing your mind to stop drifting back to mind chatter.  It prepares your mind to stay focused and develops your ability to steady the mental fluctuations that can keep you distracted, unhappy, and disconnected with the present.   Dharana demands presence and helps you stay detached.  Thus you are not focusing on winning; rather your focus is on staying engaged and enjoying the engagement.

Dharana helps you stay in a conversation and devote yourself entirely to the other person.  One of the fundamental desires of human beings is to be heard.  Dharana will help you stay in a conversation so that the other feels that they have been heard.  This does not require you to agree, but listening and giving the other person undivided attention is all that is needed.  This will help increase understanding and improve the quality of your relationships with family member, coworkers, and customers.  This will foster collaboration, teamwork, and efficiency.

What is multitasking?  It is just shifting of attention.  The reason is that when we are engaged in multiple tasks that are similar such as talking, reading, or writing a letter, the same pathways in our brain are used.  Multitasking creates a bottleneck in such pathways.  This bottleneck will adversely impact the end result, quality, engagement, and our level of satisfaction.  Dharana will help hold focus and prevent shifting of attention thus leading to a more meaningful completion of the task at hand and thus higher levels of satisfaction and happiness for self as well as the customer.

Dharana is the first step in the inward journey that will ultimately lead to flow and better understanding of us.

About Kammitment:  Led by scientist and life-coach Kamalesh (Kam) Rao, Kammitment helps one realize and make a commitment towards self-actualization, through tailored leadership coaching workshops and programs for students and professionals in all stages of their lives, by drawing upon the time-tested principles of Yoga and Mindfulness.  Kam has spent 20 years as a scientist and a manufacturing industry professional in the pharmaceuticals industry, and continues to consult with the industry.  In his free time he leads executive coaching programs for Fortune 100 clients.  A certified Yoga instructor, Kam lives in Oakland, CA and is an active volunteer in the Bay Area community when he is not perfecting the next Pretzel pose in Yoga and its myriad benefits.  For further information, please email [email protected]

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