Dharana in yoga practice means ‘to hold the mind at one point’. In Sanskrit, the word dharana is derived from the root dhri, which means ‘foundation’ or ‘base’ so, that object or concept upon which the mind is firmly based; is dharana.
In the yogic tradition, dharana belongs to the internal stages of raja yoga which is the path of mental discipline. Dharana follows the stage of pratyahara in which the mind is withdrawn from the external sensory objects and internalized. After separating the mind from the senses, the mind can go deep. Once we are able to create the differentiation or distinction between the sensory awareness and the mental awareness; then the mind can be directed to go deeper, where dharana becomes intense.
Dharana which is initiated as mental concentration deepens mental awareness. As the mental awareness deepens, in absence of sensorial awareness; the yoga practitioner reaches the stage of dharana.
Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda