2.53 Subsequently, the mind is fit for concentration.
Engaging in the life experiment of yoga is a gradual progression of waking up to your life and living wholeheartedly by following the yamas, niyamas, asana, and pranayama with regularity. This process is already training your ability to focus. This is a two-pronged approach: Each limb is asking you to strengthen your capacity to focus by giving your attention to some aspect of your life. In this way you are shining the light of awareness on your life. At the same time, each one of these practices efficiently decreases sources of agitation and reactivity, effectively diminishing distractions. It is a feedback loop that keeps enhancing your ability to concentrate. Removing strain (yamas), releasing struggle (niyamas), favoring uplifting thoughts (pratipaksha bhavana), creating joyful steadiness in your body (asana), and enhancing the flow of vital energy through conscious and deliberate breathing (pranayama), all effectively contribute to focusing your awareness.
This sutra provides a simple way to assess if your pranayama practice is working:
How steady is your mind?
Once you choose a point of focus can you stay with it?
In your own practice and life, do you have clear intentions and goals?
Are you clear on your priorities?
Are you moving in the direction you intend?
Are there fewer distractions?
Can you neutralize arising distractions? (Most often the distractions are related to your likes (raga 2.7), dislikes (dvesha 2.8) and who you think you are or should be (asmita 2.6).
Is this the case for you? If you are noticing a calmer and more focused mind, how does it influence your outlook, perspective, choices, and interactions?
Is your ability to focus influenced by choosing a meaningful focal point?
As usual, one more way of exploring the meaning of this sutra is by chanting it.
You can choose to chant it in its traditional form with some of the words coming together:
2.53 dhāraṇāsu ca yogyatā manasaḥ
धारणासु च योग्यता मनसः ॥५३॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually:
If you prefer, you may listen to the podcast: