Meditation? Concentration? Practice?
  • In the Yoga Sutra, dhyana is typically translated as “meditation” and refers to a state of “continuous dharana” — a state of continuous concentration or attention.
  • Thus, the Yoga Sutra defines meditation as a state of being — a state of continuous concentration or attention. It uses different words such as pratyahara and dharana to describe preparatory practices.
  • In common parlance, however, the term meditation is used to refer to the many practicesdesigned to reach the state of  It may also be used to refer to any form of deep concentrated thought.
  • As Lorin Roche so aptly notes, “Meditation [in common use] is a catchall term that refers to innumerable techniques that can be done sitting quietly with the eyes closed.”
  • While you may use the term meditation as it is commonly understood, you may also wish to clarify traditional terminology for students in order to support their study of the Yoga Sutra and other traditional sources.

Normally what we are doing when we say we are meditating is dharana. After long practice of dharana, gradually the “flow of cognition” gets a little longer and it becomes dhyana.  – Sri Swami Satchidananda


Meditation is not what you do in the morning, that’s practice. Meditation is the daily result of that practice. – Harbhajan Singh Yogi


In modern commentaries on the Yoga Sutra, the term meditation is used to translate the Sanskrit dhyana. Patanjali defines dhyana as the constant stream of awareness from meditator to meditation object and a constant stream of information from the object to the meditator… I have used the term meditation in such a way as to maintain the ambiguous nature that it has in the English language. I have thus applied it to the collective process of the last four limbs but also more generally to any form of deep, concentrated thought. – Gregor Maehle