Dharana in Yoga Practice

Dharana in yoga practice means ‘to hold the mind at one point’. In Sanskrit, the word dharana is derived from the root dhri, which means ‘foundation’ or ‘base’. So, that object or concept upon which the mind is firmly based; is dharana.

In the yogic tradition, dharana belongs to the internal stages of raja yoga which is the path of mental discipline. Dharana follows the stage of pratyahara in which the mind is withdrawn from the external sensory objects and internalized. After separating the mind from the senses, the mind can go deep. Once we are able to create the differentiation or distinction between the sensory awareness and the mental awareness; then the mind can be directed to go deeper, where dharana becomes intense.

Dharana, which is initiated as mental concentration; deepens mental awareness. As the mental awareness deepens, in absence of sensorial awareness; the yoga practitioner reaches the stage of dharana.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda
Yoga Practitioner


About drmcpanda

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S.,M.D. Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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11 Responses to Dharana in Yoga Practice

  1. drmcpanda says:

    I have referred the book ‘Dharana Darshan’ which describes Yogic, Tantric and Upanishadic Practices of Concentration and Visualization as taught by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati published by Bihar School of Yoga in drafting the article ‘Dharana in Yoga Practice’.

  2. Vinod Varma says:

    Thanks Doctor, for regular knowledge capsule. It helps people like us to get familiar with the world of Yoga even while involved in routine work.

    I think, Dharana in particular makes mind very powerful as one practices it; and that in turn would help in our work environment.

  3. Satya says:

    Candle gaze or jyoti trataka is an excellent example of dharana, where your attention is fixed to one point which leads to concentration and this concentration leads to meditation which is next step, dhyana.

  4. The mental exercises are useful and a way to increase mental powers.
    It is a specialized field and may be fruitful in routine practice.
    I have been focussing on thinking on various issues concerning problems and am happy with current level of mental concentration.

  5. Prakash Padhan says:

    Thank you for connecting me with Yoga.
    I think,Dharana is a part of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga.
    As I have read in a book ,Dharana can be done only after purification in Asanas & Pranayama.Is it true?

    • drmcpanda says:

      The eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi.Dharana follows the stage of pratyahara in which the mind is withdrawn from the external sensory objects and internalized.

  6. Chandra Kumar Panda says:


    The article on Dharana yoga is a beautiful caption showing the emphasis on mental strength and concentration.Mind is the pivotal force in accordance with the direction of which, the body moves to work where-ever the field of work it may be.So naturally our mind should be spared to concentrate by any means;say,it may be through yoga,meditation etc.

    Yours Sincerely
    Chandra Kumar Panda

  7. V.Nageswar Rao says:

    Dear Sir,

    This article cleared my doubts about Dharana. If I am right I clearly understood that Dharana is much more improved and assertive than common yoga and yogasanas, which give us more peace and healthy life by regular practice.

    Thanking You.

    With Regards,

    Sadguru Sainath ki Jai ho,


  8. Madhusudan Mahunta says:

    Dear Sir,
    It is a nice article for a better and healthy life.
    Yours Sincerely
    Madhusudan Mahunta

  9. We see mirage in a desert. We are deceived into believing that a pool of water exists a little ahead. As we proceed further we see that the pool keeps shifting its place a little more and more ahead. Finally we deduce through our intellect that the pool is a mere appearance. But, even after gaining this vital understanding, the illusion persists. It doesn’t disappear. This imagery has often been used to indicate the illusory nature of human desires and aspirations. It has also been used to suggest the Mayic nature of Existence. But one aspect has not been touched so far. The appearance of a pool may not indicate the presence of water, but it certainly points at the presence of a vast stretch of sand underneath. Can there be mirage without sand?

    Now, let us apply this to our own internal state. We say that ‘I’ doesn’t actually exist. It appears to be there, but has no substantial existence of its own. It is a fact, just as a mirage is a fact. But can’t we deduce that the appearance of non-existent ‘I’ is indicative of the presence of a vast reality underneath? Doesn’t this illusory ‘I’ carry its lush and lustre because of that reality? Is that ground reality known as God? And if ‘I’ carries a little bit of that supreme God’s glory, should we reject it altogether as mere appearance and false? 🙂 🙂

  10. Santhosh says:

    Dear Uncle,

    Thanks a lot for giving us the meaning and help us to undersatnd the importance of “Dharana”. The holding of mind is a very difficult task for any person. Through a very regular practice of meditation it will help them.

    Amazing article 🙂
    Thank You,
    Santhosh KV

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