To calm the mind, to relax, to stop thinking, to release stress, to overcome anxiety, to be peaceful, to deepen my yoga practice... these are some of the most regular answers the students from our meditation courses give when we ask them why they would like to meditate. Whether or not one of those is the reason why you are reading this blog, meditation is a practice everybody should incorporate into their daily lives.
Explained simply to us by Swami Kailasananda, one of our main yoga teachers, just like you take a daily shower to cleanse your body, or brush your teeth to clean them, so you should meditate to cleanse your mind, thoughts and emotions.... to me, this sounds like a good enough reason to think about establishing a meditation practice.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is at the heart of the yoga practice. In a nut shell, meditation is an experience we fall into. Just like when we fall asleep, we have no control over this experience. There are things we can do to prepare for the experience like putting on our pyjamas, switching off the lights etc; but we have no control over the actual experience of falling sleep. It is the same with meditation, we prepare for it, we sit still, close our eyes, focus our mind etc; but the actual experience is out of our hands.
What is this experience? The yoga Masters tell us that this experince can not be described. It is an experince that transcends the mind and intellect. It can be compared to the experience of peace and bliss...it sounds good doesn't it? Everybody wants to be happy and peaceful, so in saying that, it makes sense to make it a regular part of your practice.
How to Meditate?
As suggested by our teacher Swami Vishnudevananda, there is a natural progression in the practice. Ideally the yoga practice should start with the postures (asanas), breath (pranayama) and relaxation (savasana). Once we establish a regular practice of this aspects then we are naturally attracted to yogic diet (vegetarian), positive thinking and meditation. If your inclination, curiosity or your resources are heading towards meditation, there is no need to wait. This is the reason why we have put together this easy guide to help you kick start your meditation practice!
1.TIME, PLACE & PRACTICE are the most important conditions.
2. POSTURE yourself in a steady, comfortable, cross-legged position with the spine and neck erect but not tense.
3. BREATHE is the key!
Consciously regulate the breath. Begin with five minutes of deep abdominal breathing to bring oxygen to the brain. Then slow it down to an imperceptible rate. Keep the breathing, rhythmical, inhale for three seconds and exhale for three seconds. Regulation of breath also regulates the flow of prana, the vital energy.
4. CONCENTRATION is the preparation for meditation.
Just like we prepare ourselves to go to bed and suddenly fall seep, in the same way we concentrate to fall into the experience of meditation. 3 points are important here:
5. DISASSOCIATE from your thoughts.
If your mind wanders, watch it objectively, as if watching a film. Just observe your thoughts for a few minutes and they will diminish.
6. INNER PEACE the goal.
With practice, duality disappears and Samadhi, or the superconscious state, is reached. In Samadhi one rests in the state of bliss in which the Knower, the Knowledge, and the Known become one.
WARNING! Meditation does not come easily, but as your practice becomes regular you will enjoy the balancing, nourishing and powerful benefits of meditation.
So do not waist even a second and start your meditation practice NOW!
If you have any questions please leave a comment ;)
Yoga White Lotus Team