Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 9 – Dhyana – Full Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October’s Emotional Wellness Month. Additionally, we are in the middle of a quick series of daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. We already covered Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses and Dharana or Intense Focus. The last three Limbs of YogaDharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are often referred to as the “innermost quest” and studied together. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the lower limbs, and sequentially upon each other. However, these practices are all meditation focused, and must truly be practiced and understood on your own. Samadhi is our goal and will be discussed occasionally, but unfortunately beyond at least my daily practices! Today we will discuss Dhyana and try a Meditation to reach this state. Check out our deep dive on Dhyana.

Dhyana is the 7th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as meditation. I prefer to think of Dhyana as full meditation, a bit stronger and more specific than “meditation”. This is typically the goal of meditation, to fully stop our thoughts and have a quiet mind. After withdrawing inside ourselves with Pratyahara and focusing our minds on a single subject with Dharaha, we may reach the level of meditation where our thoughts actually stop. In true Dhyana or true meditation, we typically are not aware of this clear-minded state until we come out of it.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dhyana-focused Meditation Practice. You can try our breath-focused meditation again, and then allow your mind to quiet. Or, you can try a guided meditation meant to help bring the state of Dhyana.

Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey! I am working on Dhyana.. I usually can focus on one thing with Dharana, but my mind wanders fairly quickly when I try to quiet it for full meditation.

Dhyana Guided Meditation

Our Breath-Focused Meditation – first focus on breath, then allow your mind to quiet.

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Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Dhyana exercise! If you have another favorite guided meditation, please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 8 – Dharana – Intense Focus`- Guided Meditation & Meditative Practices

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October’s Emotional Wellness Month. Additionally, we are in the middle of a quick series of daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. We covered Pratyahara or withdrawal of the sense yesterday. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the lower limbs, and then sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and therefore must truly be attained on your own. Today we will discuss Dharana, and then try a Dharana Guided Meditation or other Meditative Practice.

Dharana is the 6th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as concentration. This comes from the Sanskrit root “dhri” meaning to hold, carry, or maintain. I prefer to think of Dharana as intense focus, a bit stronger than “concentration”. This is typically the second step for meditation – after letting the outside world slip away, we then direct our focus inward. Please see our deep dive of Dharana for more. Most of the meditative practices we think of are therefore Dharana practices – see our full list!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dharana-focused Meditation Practice. Perhaps try our breath-focused meditation again to prepare for tomorrow’s next level of meditation. Perhaps focus on your breath or body in Shavasana / Corpse Pose after an Asana practice, another meditative practice from our list, try a guided meditation below, or any other method of your own.. whatever feels right to you. We will cover mandalas and flame gazing later!

Dharana or Intense Focus Meditative Practices

Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

Morning Motivational Meditation (10 minutes)

Evening Sleep/Relaxation Meditation (50 minutes)

Grounding Meditation (9 minutes)

Body Scanning Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Loving Kindness Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Self-Reflective Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Positive Affirmation Guided Meditation (12 minutes)

Celestial Visualization Guided Meditation (7 minutes)

Manifest Meditations (Power of Attraction) (10 minutes) 

Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Dharana exercise! If you have another favorite, then please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

Check out our Top 5 Yoga Mats and Equipment for Newbies!

You may want to try a block, couch pillow, blanket, or bolster in order to help yourself find a comfortable seat for meditation.

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 7 – Pratyahara – Withdrawal of Senses – Guided Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We have completed our daily positive practices and meditations inspired by the first four Limbs of Yoga, and are back to the Upper Limbs. We are also in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October’s Emotional Wellness Month. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and therefore must truly be attained on your own. We will take the next few days in our Meditation-focused month for daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. Today we will discuss the 5th Limb of Yoga – Pratyahara and try a Pratyahara Guided Meditation.

Pratyahara is the 5th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as withdrawal of the senses. “Prati” means against or away, and “Ahara” means food or anything we take into ourselves. So, this literally means to stop taking things into ourselves. This is typically the first step for meditation – letting the outside world slip away, and going inside. The point is not about isolating yourself from outside distractions, it is about withdrawing into yourself, and then allowing outside distractions to fade away. Please see our detailed discussion on Pratyahara for more.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Pratyahara-focused Meditation Practice. You can try this with Shavasana / corpse pose after an Asana practice, with a guided meditation, or on your own.. whatever feels right to you! Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

Bonus Daily Meditation Challenge

We have a bonus daily meditation challenge for October. Today I recommend trying this Pratyahara Guided Meditation perfect for Shavasana after your Asana practice.

Pratyahara Guided Meditation

Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Pratyahara Meditation! If you have another favorite, then please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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October Emotional Wellness Month 2020 – Intentions and Yoga Philosophy

Good Morning Yogis! Happy October! October is National Emotional Wellness Month. I find challenge-focused months super helpful for my own motivation, so today we are starting another challenge for October – Daily Meditation! You do not have to participate in this or any of our particular monthly challenge themes, we will be continuing our daily Positive Practices drawn from Yoga Philosophy throughout next month. Consider getting the Daily Yogi App for reminders if you are participating – this is a great Tapas tool!

As we begin Emotional Wellness Month and our bonus daily meditation challenge, I want to discuss an important common concept from Yoga Philosophy – Setting Intentions! If you have attended Yoga classes at a Yoga Studio, you likely have heard your teacher recommend setting an intention for your practice that day. We have talked about keeping Santosha / contentment in Asana practice to avoid injury. I often set Pranayama / Breath as my intention for Asana practice with a mantra of “breathe” or “just breathe”, since in more dynamic classes I forget to maintain my preferred Ocean Breath as the Asana series picks up speed. Here is a great article with more on intentions and mantras on and off the Yoga mat.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to set a positive intention for yourself for October, keeping October’s mental and emotional wellness theme in mind. This can be big or small:

Part of the reason we set intentions in Asana practice is to have something positive to come back to that we want to focus on. Additionally, we will have this to return to when we meet challenges. I set “just breathe” as my intention for nearly a decade now, and I do truly breathe into difficulties on the mat, and I have improved my breath during Asana practice by keeping this in the back of my mind. There is much to be said for the power of positive thinking.

Although I do believe in the power of positive thinking and believe this helps with emotional wellness, I will discuss my own views on this a bit later this month. Here is more info if you do not want to wait!

More on the Power of Positive Thinking

The Law of Attraction & Power of Positive Thinking Intro

11 Ways to Boost Positive Thinking

Today is the first day of our Daily Meditation Challenge for October! Some of my favorite guided meditations are Manifest Meditations, which harness the powers of positive thinking, visualization, and the law of attraction. Today my meditation practice is one of my favorite 10 Minute Manifest Meditations.

Please comment and share how if setting positive intentions is part of your Yoga or Asana practice. Are you taking other steps to improve your mental and emotional wellness this month? Are you going to join us in our daily meditation challenge for October? Always remember, be kind!

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Niyamas #5 – Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrender – Intro

Daily Yogi Yamas - Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana

Ishvara Pranidhana (Ish-VA-ra PRA-knee-DAH-na) is literally translated to English as surrender to all-pervading consciousness. The more common translations include surrender or devotion, and the essential concept here is faith in a higher power. This surrender is not about giving up hope when you face your problems, but acceptance. Ishvara Pranidhana is typically the most confusing of the Niyamas, especially for new Yogis or those who do not practice outside religions.

Despite the difficulty of both understanding and incorporating this last of the Niyamas into our lives, it is often one of the most rewarding. We all have good days, and we all have bad days. The essence of this is allowing the bad days to pass, trying to believe everything happens for a reason, and keeping moving forward in positive directions despite challenges we may face. I have called my short temper in the past “Ginger Rage”. Tantrum is probably more appropriate… for example very frequently swearing if I get cut off on the highway. But has my little tantrum helped the situation at all?

Advanced Yogis who incorporate Ishvara Pranidhana into their lives may begin seeing difficulties as challenges to overcome, and opportunities to practice managing our responses. This is one of the keys of long-lasting happiness, since getting upset often does nothing to help a bad situation and only makes things more difficult for ourselves. Instead, try to stay calm, and do not allow a negative encounter to draw you into negativity. Of course, this is easier said than done! Remember, it is a journey.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to practice acceptance when something bad or less-than-positive happens today. Try a deep breathing exercise when you encounter a problem. If you lose your temper, perhaps try to step outside yourself and see yourself reacting to a difficulty, and ask yourself if your reaction was productive. If it is possible, try seeing the silver lining for potential for growth in a bad situation. If you are practiced in religious faith, perhaps try praying for your own peace, calm, and understanding instead of a solution to a problem you are facing. Again, this is a journey and this particular practice today is one of the most difficult, so be gentle with yourself. If at first you do not succeed, evaluate what your reaction contributed, and try again next time. Treat this as an experiment, and see how you feel later after trying different approaches to problems that arise.

Please comment to share how this exercise impacted you. Feel free to share your successes or your struggles with this challenging practice. Always remember, be kind!

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Niyamas #4 – Svadhyaya – Self-Study – Intro

Daily Yogi Yamas - Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana

Svadhyaya (svad-HYEYE-ya) literally translates from Sanskrit as reading or reciting to oneself, but is typically translated as self-study. Svadhyaya includes not only self-study, but also study of “sacred texts.” This includes the sacred texts of Yoga such as the Yoga Sutras where we take inspiration for Yogi Daily’s positive practices. This also includes reading or studying sacred texts of any and all world religions such as the Bible, Buddhist texts, or whatever religious or philosophical texts resonate with you.

Svadhyaya is all about approaching life with the open mind and heart of a scholar, continuously leaning and growing. It is also about actually practicing learning. This is our first Svadhyaya day, so we will focus on self-study and new beginnings rather than scripture.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to start keeping a journal. I have found a journal to be one of the best ways to study and learn oneself, directly from yourself! Buy a guided or blank paper journal, or make a free online journal (password protect for privacy!) with LiveJournal or WordPress. If you already keep a journal or diary, start adding to your entries about this new journey you are beginning with us. Remember to include notes about both events and your feelings.


Want more Ideas for journal day?
Check our Journal prompts board on Pinterest!

Please comment and let us know if you keep a diary/journal now, or if this is new for you! If this is already part of your life, please share how often you write or your feelings and experience with keeping a journal. If this is new for you, let us know if you went paper or electronic, and how you feel about staring this new practice. Always remember, be kind!

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Ashtanga – The 8 Limbs of Yoga – Intro Yoga Philosophy – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

8 limbs of yoga

Welcome, New Yogis! If you are in a 30 Day Challenge, you may want to check the challenge welcome page and shortcut page, and get free printable calendars and checklists! We will begin with some background info before we get into the Daily Yogi practices for our group. For this intro day, we will introduce Ashtanga or The 8 Limbs of Yoga, from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Daily Yogi’s Daily Positive Practices are inspired by the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Our Daily practices will generally cycle through these 8 Limbs and their branches.


What is Yoga?

We will start at the beginning. So.. what is Yoga? Is it exercise? Is it a philosophy?

Linguistically, Yoga is Sanskrit for “to yoke” or “to join” and is often translated to English as “union”. 

Technically, Yoga is a set of practices, that for many results in a calmer and happier life. Yoga practice involves exercise (Asanas) and much more. Traditional Yogi Texts include the Vedas, The Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutras. The 8 Limbs of Yoga where Daily Yogi draws inspiration are from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Religion according to Merriam Webster is “the belief in a god or in a group of gods; an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods.” Therefore, by this definition, Yoga is not a religion. Yoga allows for practitioners of any, all, and no religious background. Also, Yoga philosophy parallels the beliefs of at least five distinct Eastern religions. The various Yogic Texts also alludes to main themes (ie the golden rule, charity, etc) in western monotheistic religions. However, some of the practices some individuals incorporate into their Yoga routine, such as chanting, can have a “religious” feel to others. So, if any practices do not appeal to you, remember you are free to take what works and leave what does not.

There are 8 Limbs of Yoga according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Ashtanga (ahsh-TAHN-guh) is a Sanskrit word meaning “eight-limbed.”

The 8 Limbs of Yoga

1 Yamas (YAH-muhs) – Interpersonal Ethics (5: Ahimsa / Non-Harming, Satya / Truthfulness, Asteya / Non-Stealing, Brahmacharya / Moderation, and Aparigraha / Non-Attachment)
2 Niyamas (KNEE-yah-muhs) – Personal Observances (5: Saucha / Purity, Santosha / Contentment, Tapas / Discipline, Svadhyaya / Self-Study, and Ishvara-Pranidhana / Surrender)
3 Asanas (AH-sa-nuhs) – Poses (Hundreds)
4 Pranayama (PRAH-na-YAH-muh) – Breath (Dozens)
5 Pratyahara (PRAHT-yah-HA-ruh) – Withdrawal of the Senses
6 Dharana (dah-RA-nuh) – Intense Focus
7 Dhyana (dee-YAH-nuh) – Full Meditation
8 Samadhi (sah-MA-dee) – Enlightenment

The first four limbs are varied personal practices, exercises, and habits. The last four limbs are mostly meditation-based and build upon each other. So, I created the tree graphic above to share how I envision the Limbs of Yoga. The first four limbs are roots of the tree, that feed and support the sequential growth of the upper four limbs. We will focus primarily on the lower four limbs with our daily practices. However, we will also touch on some meditation techniques of the upper four limbs.

Sanskrit and Linguistics

A quick note about Sanskrit: as I mentioned before, I am a huge nerd, and particularly love languages. In addition to my native English, I have studied Spanish, French, Latin, Classical Greek, and Japanese. Classical Sanskrit is the language of ancient India, the Vedas, and Yoga. It is one of the original/foundational languages. So, I have been fascinated by Sanskrit roots that trickle down into literally all of the languages I have studied. Also, for those of you who are interested, Classical Sanskrit is supposed to be the true name or vibration for each word. So, I will use both English and Sanskrit / Yoga terms. Also I will also do my best to provide simplified (if not 100% accurate) pronunciations for those of you new to Sanskrit/Yoga.

Ashtanga Vinyasa

There is a specific type of Asana that many refer to as “Ashtanga.” I usually call this style of Yoga “Ashtanga Vinyasa.” Ashtanga Vinyasa is a series of specific, challenging, and dynamic sets of Asana sequences and other Yoga practices. We will discuss this more later.

Daily Yogi App

I also created an app as a Tapas tool, with daily gentle reminders and easy access to our daily positive Yogi practices. The Daily Yogi App is AVAILABLE NOW on both Apple and Android devices. Our app enables pop-up notifications and quick access to our daily positive practices. Additionally, the app also allows for easy research on each of the 8 Limbs of Yoga

We are glad to have you here! Please do what is right for you to succeed! Start your journey with a 30 Day Challenge Group. Follow us on Instagram (where we have second daily reminders!) or Facebook, and join our group bringing positivity to our lives and the world each day! Sign up for daily emails for positive practice suggestions in your inbox every day. Download our app for Apple or Android to enable daily push-reminders, and/or join our group discussions to share your journey.

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