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Learn how to improve your focus for a calm and productive life.

The eight limbs of yoga

Almost 2,000 years ago an Indian sage, Patanjali, created the Yoga Sutras, a collection of ancient yogic texts. One of the main teachings is the Eight Limbs of Yoga (Ashtanga) which can be described as the foundation of yoga and is commonly practised today by yogis all around the world. The Eight Limbs comprises of eight steps that lead us to enlightenment. If practised regularly they can help us to live a happy and meaningful life.

Patanjali’s Eight limbs are:

1. The Yamas (restraints)

2. The Niyamas (self-disciplines)

3. Asana (yoga poses)

4. Pranayama (breathing techniques)

5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)

6. Dharana (concentration)

7. Dhyana (meditation)

8. Samadhi (absorption)


The fifth limb of Patanjali’s eight-fold path embodies concentration, otherwise known as one-point focus. For many of us, our ‘monkey’ mind is so busy that we can have difficulty focusing on one task at a time. Often we tend to multi-task when there is so much evidence to suggest that this is not a productive way to approach to our work and personal lives. Think about a time where you have tried to sit down and really immerse yourself in an activity and your mind begins to ponder what you are making for dinner or a conversation you had with a work colleague earlier that day. In yoga, practising one-point focus allows us to prepare for meditation, however, there are also many other benefits to Dharana including improving our concentration and becoming more self-aware. This limb of yoga can be difficult to practise initially as it can require effort, however with practise this skill will improve over time. The goal of Dharana is to eventually transition into an effortless state of meditation.

To practise Dharana, we need a focal point. I often use the breath, counting the inhalations and exhalations, however you can also be an image, vibration, sound or mantra. Join the Facebook group Yoga Tribe Community for more videos on Pranayama (breathing techniques).

Practice Tip: Sit or lay in a comfortable position with the spine straight and eyes closed. Rather t