F O C U S and the rest falls away- Dharana
D H A R A N A
We are almost to enlightenment, but first we have Dharana and then Dhyana (kinda go hand in hand); Patanjali's 6th limb of yoga and this one is all about one-pointed focus. Dharana leads to meditation. It's only after the fact, that you realize, WOW, I was just in a stage of mediation, because when you are truly deep in it, the mind ceases to exist.
Dharana for me is becoming one with the objects of focus; whether that be a flower I'm photographing, a mantra I'm chanting, the sun setting or rising; it could be my breath, or it could be me moving from one pose to the next. It is in these moments when time doesn't exist where you really are living life. Be present, be one, and allow the flow of life to just happen. Now that's living!
I was taught that chanting a mantra (a phrase or word that is repeated) is there to help you "cross the mind over" and I feel like Dharana is true to that too. The one pointed focus withdraws you from the mind and you are just left with your true self.