Question: Sir.. Can you please explain the Astanga Yoga.. Especially prathyahaara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi..?
Answer: In the Astana yoga, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi are called as andhar yoga. You can say that these are the four stages of inner travel. The first stage is pratyahara (withdrawal of mind from senses). In the beginning, it will be difficult to withdraw your mind from senses without any support. Hence, it is advised to focus your attention on your breathing, life force or any object. As the origin of the mind is life force, it is better to focus your attention on life force. This is the direct way.
The second stage is dharana (concentration). Actually, if you concentrate on your breathing, life force or any object, your mind will be withdrawn from senses. Therefore, if you try for dharana, pratyahara happens automatically. In this stage, your mind will go out through senses. You have to bring it back and concentrate on the object with effort.
If the focus happens without effort, it is called dhyana. Focus with effort is concentration. Focus without effort is meditation. When you meditate deeply, you will reach the base of the life force. That stage is called samadhi. You can compare this andhar yoga with states of mental frequency. Alpha state is pratyahara. Theta state is dharana and Delta state is dhyana. If you go beyond Delta, it is Samadhi.
Good Morning ... Travel inwardly... 💐
Venkatesh - Bangalore