Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 1

देशबन्धः चित्तस्य धारणा ॥१॥

deśa-bandhaḥ cittasya dhāraṇā ||1||

Concentration is binding the psyche to a place.

deśa - place, point, region, spotbandha - fixing, directing; binding, tying, a bond, tie, chain, fettercitta - psyche (the totality of the human mind, conscious and unconscious); mind; heartdhāraṇā - retaining, keeping back; fixation; collection or concentration of the mind; to exercise concentration; the act of holding, bearing, wearing, supporting, maintaining;

Commentaries and Reflections

Commentary by T Krishnamacharya:

“Just as Mūla BandhaUḍḍīyāna Bandha,
Jālandhara Bandha and Jivha Bandha
are very important for Prāṇāyāma,
Mano Bandha is very important for Dhyānam.
Mano Bandha is Dhāraṇā.”

Dhyānam is the seventh Aṅga of the Aṣṭāṅga Yoga.
In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step,
Dhāraṇā, should have been practiced thoroughly.”

Commentary by TKV Desikachar:

Prāṇāyāma leads to this.
Pratyāhāra, to see without the senses distracting or pulling the mind, and
Dhāraṇā –
To see without the mind losing itself,
because of colouring or expectations.”

“Perhaps the best explanation of Dhyāna is given by Patañjali in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verses One and Two, where he states that one must first fix the question (Dhāraṇā) and then link to it (Dhyāna).
One who is not able to fix the question is not able to succeed in Dhyāna.”

“Since Dhyāna cannot occur without an object of concentration,
there must be an area where you fix your mind.
So, first you have to fix or bind your mind
on a particular place, a chosen object;
this is known as Deśa Bandha.
And second, the mind should establish
a relationship with this object which
should last, at least, for a moment.”

‎”A busy mind is always telling you where to go.
A quiet mind can be told where to go.”

“Here the word Citta is used rather than Manas.
Citta is not used in Chapter Two,
except with regard to Pratyāhāra in verse 54.
Otherwise, the term Manas is used,
as in when the mind is automatically
pulled out by external forces.
Therefore for many of us mind is Manas.
Unless there is a shift from Manas to Citta,
it is not possible to do Dhāraṇā.”

Who is going to decide the place,
and who is going to say go there?
Or something else is telling the
mind to go there and stay there?”

Commentary by Paul Harvey:

Dhāraṇā has three distinct, cyclical phases,
from a placing of awareness on the focus,
to an awareness of observation wandering,
to a re-placing of awareness on the focus.”

Dhāraṇā is both a Sādhana and a Siddhi.
In that, it is a Siddhi of Pratyāhāra,
as well as a Sādhana for Dhyāna.”

Dhāraṇā – a state of effortful attention.
Dhyānam – a state of effortless attention.”

“To hold the Citta for connective moments is Dhāraṇā.
To be held by the Citta for connective moments is Dhyānam.”

Dhāraṇā is the process of ‘holding onto’ the object.
Dhyānā is the process of ‘linking with’ the object.
Samādhi is the process of ‘integration into’ the object.”