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Physiology | Position




Dhyana (Meditation)

Dhyana is the state of advancement over Dharana. It is the stage when the person practicing Dharana succeeds in fixing his mind on an object while concentrating around a given area. This is the precursor state of Samadhi. Dhyana refers to the state of mind where one is able to control his inclinations continuously on an object. In other words, when the mind is engaged in a particular object its inclinations follow a particular order.

The preventive and social aspect of Dhyana
  • Dhyana refers to the state of mind where one becomes able to control his inclinations continuously on the object.

  • In other words, when the mind is engaged in a particular object it inclines follow a particular order .

  • This is a step ahead in the stage of Dharana.


The position

  • The head, neck and rest of the body should be well-balanced (in one line) so that it becomes easy to be stable and steady.

  • Sometimes it is wrongly translated as 'erect spine' and hence misunderstood. 

  • The erect spine not only disturbs the four natural curves but gives rise to extra curvatures or strain on the spine and requires special conscious efforts to maintain it. 

  • This makes the practitioner tired very soon and compels one to relax and bend forward.

  • On the contrary, a balanced condition of the body, neck and the head helps preceptors of the flexors and extensors of the spine to maintain the equilibrium involuntarily, without our notice.

The physiology
  • In case of a balanced spine, the breathing movements change the diameter of thorax during inhalation and exhalation.

  • The center of gravity shifts forward and backward very minutely. 

  • The oscillations of the thorax are negligible, but even this stimulates the preceptors in the trunk muscles and brings about their alternate contraction and relaxation through stretch reflex mechanism.

  • The lower brain centers can thus easily maintain a balance of the body below the level of consciousness. This allows the practitioner to develop insight of the inner environment and to increase the inner awareness as attention to the external stimuli is greatly reduced. 

  • When one is free from the usual sensory feed-back and a conscious effort to maintain the posture, one can easily become aware of these sensations in such calm and quiet condition. 

  • The visceroceptors and proprioceptors in the coccygeal, sacral and lumbar are stimulated due to special arrangement of the hip joints and stretching of the pelvic region.

  • The special sensory impulses arising in this region are conveyed to the central nervous system which are integrated by the lower centers. 

  • Experimentally it has been observed that the energy requirement in meditative aasanas is the lowest of all the sitting postures. 

  • The oxygen requirement of the body is reduced and the production of carbon dioxide is also reduced due to negligible amount of oxygen muscular activity in the body. This brings down the activity of the lungs and the heart to a minimum.

  • The knee joints are not only flexed but also rotated outwardly. This locking of legs at the knee joints restrict the flow of blood and its accumulation in lower limbs. 

  • The muscular activity in the legs is negligible and the requirement of blood circulation is also very less. 

  • The horizontal position of the lower extremities reduces the vertical distance to the heart for the venous return.

  • Naturally then, the force to return the venous blood against the gravity is also reduced.

  • Thus the blood circulation in lower extremities is reduced and redirected to the pelvic and lumbar region.

  • The nerve plexuses in this region get richer blood supply and are thus refreshed and toned up. It also tones up the lower region of the spine and the abdominal organs.

  • It may be recalled that the sacral region contains network of the parasympathetic nerves. 

  • The static stretching and maintained rotation of the knee joints squeeze the blood vessels and presses the capsule. 

  • When the meditative asana is released the fresh blood supply improves its condition. Thus stiffness of the knee joints is also removed gradually. A regular practitioner of Padmasana will never experience pain in the knee joints.



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