Antaranga Sadhana

Definition - What does Antaranga Sadhana mean?

Antaranga sadhana is the name of a yogic practice, or set of practices, which encourage progress on a yogi’s spiritual path. In Ashtanga yoga, the antaranga sadhana are the last three limbs of the eight-limbed path of yoga, and they are considered internal aids to Self-realization. These three limbs are dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (unity).

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, he encourages yogis to go beyond their external practices of the first five limbs of yoga and develop their antaranga sadhana, which works to transform the mind itself. It is said that these practices will change the chitta, or fluctuations of the mind, permanently. They also strengthen the positive habits of the mind by excluding distractions.

Yogapedia explains Antaranga Sadhana

The difference between antaranga sadhana and the first five limbs, which are known as bahiranga sadhana, are that the antaranga sadhana are internal practices. They cannot be observed from the outside, but, instead, are undertaken within and beyond the mind. Their impact is also internal rather than external, as they work directly on transforming the mind, moving it toward liberation and salvation.

There are crucial differences between the three types of antaranga sadhana, although these can be quite subtle:

  1. Dharana involves developing and increasing the yogi’s ability to concentrate. This may be through focusing on a particular object or on one of the chakras.
  2. Dhyana is a state of mind in which the yogi is in deep meditation. He/she is aware of the stream of thought which flows steadily around the object of the meditation. To be in dhyana is to be completely free from distraction.
  3. Samadhi is the experience of total unity with the yogi’s true/inner self. In a state of samadhi, the yogi experiences no separation between the individual and universal consciousness. It is a state of absolute bliss, and is the ultimate goal of all yogic endeavours.

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