Dhyana is the 7th of the 8-Limbed Path.
The Previous Limb -> Dharana
Sanskrit Word: Dhyana
English Translation: Meditation
Concentration is coming out of the ability to remove distractions. While you're still like bing bing bing bing bing bing you're never able to concentrate. Once we're able to focus the mind, now we can use that focus on a task. You can use this concentration for a lot of different things, whether it's meditative practices which is the next limb of yoga or whether it's simply being able to focus on your job better focus on starting a business focus on your kids or your family. Finding this place of, "I can eliminate distractions at any time and totally focus my mind," can be super helpful for pretty much anything that you do.
Meditation is to one of the most awesome but also one of the hardest parts of yoga. So again, yoga is so much more than asana practice. Yoga is also meditation. So one could practice yoga and never do any of the postures that we do in traditional yoga classes - never do a triangle pose, never do a downward facing dog, but they could simply sit in meditation and say, "I'm a yogi too. i do yoga." and I think it's really important to remember that. Yoga is so much more than postures.
In seated meditation, the goal is that you've gotten a lot of this excess energy out, so all the bing bing bing bing of your mind has kind of disappeared or maybe not disappeared, but it's been described as like a lake with muddy water. You can kind of stir it up, or even like a glass of water with something in it you stir it up, and it's all mixed up. That's kind of how our mind is most of the time in its default state - it's muddy, it's like bing bing bing, it's all over the place. Once you've given it time, the mud will start to settle down, and then at the base of the lake it'll just be mud and that's fine for that to be there. Then, the whole rest of the water will be totally clear and that's what we're slowly trying to do through our yoga practice.
We're slowly trying to clear out impurities, toxins, bad habits, waste that we've absorbed from the world for our whole lives, or maybe even from previous lives, slowly getting that out. Slowly eliminating the samskaras, which are the grooves in the minds, or the habits that we go to usually in times of stress or trouble where you know, "Oh I'm stressed out I'm gonna go run and do this, or I'm gonna act this way." those are the samskaras. We're trying to find a place of calmness and equanimity, which simply means evenness of mind, calmness of mind, where we're no longer focusing our on our preferences, likes and dislikes, how we feel about other people, all that stuff. We're really able to live a life of ahimsa which is not harming to others, not harming to self and then offering loving kindness and all that we do which can help to create a really peaceful and calm mind state. Once we found this mind state, then it becomes a lot easier to sit in meditation.
A lot of times, we'll find when you're beginning meditating, things may kind of come up in your mind that you're not happy about. This is called the vrittis or the fluctuations of the mind, the turnings of the mind - constantly just thinking about stuff, thinking about this, thinking about that. Or it can go into a negative place and think about bad things that happened. Slowly over time, by practicing all eight limbs of yoga, you can really find improvement in things like that. You can find improvement in sleep, your relationship with others, your relationship with yourself, with your business, with your job, with your ability to find calmness and peace of mind anytime anywhere regardless of what is happening and what it is that you have to do. It's taking you into this calm centered place where you're focusing inward, not focusing outward.