November 27, 2011
III.1 Desha bandha chittasya dharana.
Concentration is fixing the mind to a place.
As with all the other limbs, our study of concentration begins on the mat. Every posture is meant to be performed with the gaze directed to a specific point, the drishti. This is “fixing the mind to a place” in the most material sense, the place being a physical location. As control of the sense of sight is developed, the mind is fixed to a more subtle place, the breath. These exercises prepare us for the sustained concentration of awareness that defines meditation, which may occur on the mat or potentially in any action of daily life: quietly observing a sunset, devoting all your attention to washing a dish — these are examples of concentration. Texting while driving? Not concentration.
Exploring the interior limbs is where the subtle truths of yoga can begin to emerge, providing limitless benefits. Concentration is a great tool. It can advance your asana practice but more importantly, it will make you a more effective person as you act from a place of awareness and intention, the place of your truer Self. As another person put it, “keep your eyes on the prize,” as you engage in the lifelong process of uncovering that Self, the ultimate goal of yoga.