According to yogic culture, there is an ocean of intelligence within us, and there are technologies with which you can connect to that intelligence. When one comes in union with this intelligence, it can be referred to as “Advaita.” The technology designed by our ancestors is called yoga and meditation which helps you experience this union. In the Hindu yogic text named “Yoga Sutra,” which was written by Maharshi Patanjali, information on the process of meditation and other aspects related to meditation is described.
He points out that as the mind learns to be quiet and still, the seeds of this union are sown. Practices to fine-tune the body, mind, and senses into perfect balance are elaborated in this text. According to this text, the moment one comes to understand the fact that the desire to own things and unending cravings for various things is endless and can never be satisfied, meditation starts. Because once you come to realize this, you automatically turn inwards, which means you have become meditative.
If you want to dissect down with your logical knife, meditation might mean “to focus,” but meditation is much more than that as per yogic culture. In the yogic text, Maharshi Patanjali explained eight stages or steps of liberation or enlightenment. The first four are considered external disciplines. The fifth arises out of the practice of the first four steps and works as a bridge between the external and internal journey. The last three stages are a journey within and are the ultimate stages of liberation.
- Stage 1. Yama (ethics)
- Stage 2. Niyama (self-discipline)
- Stage 3. Asana (posture)
- Stage 4. Pranayama (life-force extension)
- Stage 5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses).
- Stage 6. Dharana (concentration)
- Stage 7. Dhyana (meditation)
- Stage 8. Samadhi (ecstasy/liberation/enlightenment)
Yoga and Meditation are more than concentration, although you must be able to concentrate in order to meditate. It eventually develops into a higher level of consciousness. When we concentrate, we turn our minds to what appears to be an object other than ourselves. Of course, the end result of this exercise is a deeper awareness of who you really are. The majority of us, though, would require support.
About Yoga Meditation
- Types of Yoga Meditation
- Science Of Sound
- Science Of Imagination
- Science Of Gazing
- Yoga Breathing Meditation
- Focusing On Sensations
- Postures/Asanas For Meditation
- Benefits Of Yoga Meditation
- Yoga Meditation For Beginners
- I Want To Learn Yoga And Meditation
Types Of Yoga Meditation
There are innumerable ways and types of yoga meditation. Meditation starts with concentrating on a thought, breath, or object with closed eyes or opened. You can silently chant, audibly chant, visualize, imagine, or focus on an object are the most common ways of meditating. Techniques like focusing on breath, emotion, sensation, etc., can also be used.
Science Of Sound
Every sound has vibrations, to which every life on earth is very sensitive, but we, as humans, have lost that awareness and to experience this we have to earn the awareness back. The use of mantras is a scientific way of understanding the effects of different sounds, arranging them in a very intelligent way, and repeatedly chanting specific mantras which are aimed at specific effects on human lives.
In ancient times, a mantra would be passed down from a teacher or guru to a disciple, who would assess your spiritual journey and guide you to the most appropriate mantra. Mantras are repeated in cycles of 108, 216, etc. They can be summarized as prayers that demand a feeling of purpose and pleasant feelings to reap the greatest benefits.
When you go a little deeper into this meditation, it demands engaging consciously for the meditator. Of late, Transcendental Meditation (TM) has gained a lot of popularity, and TM encourages the practice of mantra yoga. The real deal for a beginner is the journey between the start and reaching a state where you first taste the ultimate.
Once you have a slight taste of that drop, then your quest and thirst for curiosity will take you where you need to reach. Having said this, for most of us, the main problem is the need for an instrument that can bridge the gap between the start and the first taste of ultimate. Mantras and chanting are excellent instruments to take you there.
The creative power of sound can cause spiritual awakening, according to Hindu texts. The world is nothing but reverberation, and if you can consciously reverberate, life will happen to you in ways you have never expected. That is one of the reasons why “Om” is considered to be the sound of creation. Guided meditations are the best for beginners.
Science Of Imagination
Visualizing is a good approach to meditate, and it’s one that novices often find simple to do. A meditator traditionally visualizes a god or goddess. Basically, any object that creates some pleasant emotions within you can be considered legitimate.
Focusing on chakras, which are the energy centres in the body, imagining a flower or an ocean, etc., are some of the styles of imagery meditation, you imagine the hue associated with the area or organ of the body that corresponds to a certain chakra.
Yoga meditation healing is also used as a tool for self-healing by modern practitioners. You imagine a golden ray of light entering your body and healing your body and the black cloudy rays leaving your body. In yoga meditation healing, you can focus on specific body parts or the whole body.
Science Of Gazing
Maintaining an open-eyed concentration on an item is another way of meditating. There are no specifications about the object, and it can be anything that you can rest your eyes on. A popular variation of this technique is candle gazing. Other options include focusing on a flower in a vase, a statue, or an image of a deity.
You can either keep your eyes fully or partially open. The hatha yoga texts stress upon gazing points or “Drishti,” especially in the Ashtanga sect of hatha yoga. The standard meditation requires you to gaze or focus between your eyebrows.
Yoga Breathing Meditation
Yogis have used breath as a point of focus for many years. Counting of breath also can be used as it is in pranayama. The basic aim of breath mindfulness is to cautiously observe the breath as it is. Once your breath becomes your focus point, the minutest details are observed, like sensation, quality, temperature, and movement of organs related to the respiratory process, etc.
Yoga breathing meditation is the predominant technique used by practitioners of vipassana, a Buddhist practice. Vipassana is basically aimed at your ability to see things clearly.
Focusing On Sensations
With eyes closed, focusing on the physical experiences is also a type of meditation. You can focus on any sensation as the temperature, the strength of your spine, or the suppleness you feel in your lower body. Same way, you can also meditate on specific emotions or any discomfort that you may be having. This can be a bit too challenging for beginners.
Postures/Asanas For Meditation
While sitting in Sukhasana or Padmasana is said to be the best way of meditation, it is not the only way of meditation. One can also use a chair if somehow sitting down is not possible. The only requirement is that the spine should be comfortably erect while meditating. If sitting on the floor is not comfortable, you can use pillows or blankets to support your spine.
Relax your arms and place them on your thighs, palms facing up, and in a comfortable position. Roll your shoulders back and elevate your chest softly. Maintain a long neck with a slightly lowered chin. The eyes may be opened or closed, depending on the technique you use. Breathing is a natural and unrestricted activity.
You can meditate while walking! Did that surprise you? But that’s true. Let us see how. You need to walk slowly and consciously, being aware of every step. All that matters is the act of walking itself; the rest is irrelevant. Arms should be as relaxed as possible and swing effortlessly, slowly start to synchronize your breath with your steps. For example, for the first 4 steps, you might inhale and for the next 4 steps, you might exhale. If that doesn’t make sense, just breathe normally. The place, destination, pace, distance, etc., doesn’t matter, as long as you have total involvement.
Standing meditation can be effective as well. It is frequently advised for people who find it to be beneficial to their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Place your feet hip-distance apart to shoulder-distance apart. Knees are supple, and arms are relaxed at your sides. Check for proper posture throughout the body. Shoulder, chest, neck should be comfortably stretched and a stable head. You can look straight, with eyes closed or open.
Although lying down is associated with relaxation, Savasana, or Corpse Pose, is also used for meditation. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your hands facing up. Allow your feet to drift away from one another, entirely relaxed, by touching your heels together.
Although your eyes can be open or closed, some people feel that keeping their eyes open makes it easier to stay awake. Although more physically restful than other positions, supine meditation requires a higher level of alertness to be awake and concentrated. As a result, beginners may have a harder time staying awake while meditating in this position.
Benefits Of Yoga Meditation
Meditation causes profound physiological and psychological changes, generating an actual shift in the brain and the body’s automatic functions, according to research. When it comes to the physical, mental, and emotional advantages of meditation, the list is endless. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
- A fresh perception of stressful situations
- Developing stress-management abilities
- Improving one’s self-awareness
- Concentrating on the present moment
- Distinguishing between positive and bad feelings
- Expanding one’s imagination and creativity
- Enhancing tolerance and patience
Yoga Meditation For Beginners
Beginners to yoga meditation may face some challenges at first, but regular meditation practice can pay off big time. A little stretching warm-up or doing asanas for meditation to get the blood running freely throughout your body before meditation would add to benefit. Meditating at the same place and at the same time will have added benefits. Now the real deal for you is to look to get addicted to meditation rather than forcing it into your schedule. Once that happens, the rest is sorted.
Morning yoga and meditation is the best time to practice, though it will have its advantages if done anytime. But when it is done first thing in the morning, the calmness and stability of morning yoga and meditation spills over all your needs throughout the day, making you more productive and fruitful.
I Want To Learn Yoga And Meditation
The best way advisable to start yoga and meditation is to seek the guidance of an experienced teacher or guru. Once you have a little understanding of the process, you can do it individually or with meditative groups. The experiences of every individual are different as a beginner, but one thing is common for all the practitioners: once you have practised it for a significant period of time, it is going to become an integral part of your life.
Over a period of time, you would notice that your life has changed drastically. Initially, those changes might be too subtle to be noticed, but upon investing some time for your own well-being, you would start to notice the changes. Who knows, after some years of practice, you may be shedding some light on how to start Yoga and Meditation for beginners!