Definition - What does Bhavana mean?

Bhavana is an intentional meditation technique used in yoga practice. In bhavana, the practitioner visualizes attaining a particular characteristic (like love, compassion or peace) or becoming the Divine (like pure Light, Energy or Consciousness).

In English, bhavana translates to “development,” “residence” or “cultivating,” and is one of the four terms used to refer to imagination. Bhavana is the fourth type of imagination that encompasses yogic vision during meditation, and is often used to set a tone or feeling for an individual or group practice.

Yogapedia explains Bhavana

The practice of bhavana within meditation can be used to invite and visualize more compassion or kindness within the self, and can often be used to shape or influence the self to acquire positive characteristics or create positive change.

In addition, especially within Tantric yogic beliefs, the power of the mind is used to imagine not only feelings, but occurrences in one’s life. Doing this can influence the individual's life path. For example, the practitioner may choose to visualize that there is more room for healthy relationships in their life and then frequently meditates on this occurring. Eventually, the outcome will be that they see fresh relationships appear as they make time for them.

Bhavana is also used by yoga teachers to set a specific feeling or mood at the beginning of a practice in a group setting.

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