Part of an ongoing series about the eight limbs of yoga and how they manifest themselves in an Ashtanga practice.
Part 6: Dharana (concentration)
The asana practice is meditative. A yogi can cultivate this experience on the mat by building dharana into daily life. It is not easy to get to a state where you detach yourself from the next thought rising. It takes practice. Sitting quietly for a few minutes before or after an asana practice can train the mind to concentrate on “formless consciousness,” as Gregor Maehle writes in Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy (p. 4). Focusing on the bandhas during asana practice also develops concentration. Ideally, a yogi is able to concentrate on many things at once: bandhas, breath, and asana.