Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 28 - Meditation 12 Steps from Sivananda

While many people are enjoying meditation, and noticing how it does get easier over time, there are still many "asana addicts" who find meditation boring.  Since the reason we flow through vinyasa, or ashtanga sequences is to prepare for 'meditation" in some way we should embrace this meditative state.  One practice that I find embodies meditation is Sivananda. 

This practice embraces relaxation, the 12 fundamental asana as highlighted in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, allows people to find stillness in the breath and poses, and encourages concentration and focus throughout.  Concentration being the key ingredient to achieve meditation, therefore we can concentrate on a candle, flower, sound, etc., and ultimately this concentration will help to dissolve the internal noise, chatter, or monkey mind.  Can you achieve this concentration during Yoga practice?  YES, we use concentration on our breathe, our dristi (Gaze), our third eye etc.  Today for those still curious about ways to approach meditation I have highlighted the 12 steps to meditation from Sivananda Europe.  The beautiful book Meditation and Mantras by Swami Vishnu-Devananda is also a useful tool for those wanting to explore this aspect of their practice further.

     12 Steps to Meditation
  1. Set aside a special place for meditation – the atmosphere you build up will help still the mind.
  2. Choose a time when your mind is free of everyday concerns – dawn and dusk are ideal.
  3. Using the same time and place each day conditions the mind to slow down more quickly.
  4. Sit with your back, neck and head in a straight line, facing north or east.
  5. Instruct your mind to remain quiet for the duration of your meditation session.
  6. Regulate your breathing – start with five minutes' deep breathing, then slow it down.
  7. Establish a rhythmic breathing pattern – inhaling then exhaling for about three seconds.
  8. At first let your mind wander – it will only grow more restless if you force it to concentrate.
  9. Now bring the mind to rest on the focal point of your choice – either the Ajna Chakra (the point between your eyebrows) or the Anahata Chakra (in the middle of your chest).
  10. Applying your chosen technique, hold your object of concentration at this focal point throughout your session.
  11. Meditation comes when you reach a state of pure thought, but still retain your awareness of duality.
  12. After long practice, duality disappears and Samadhi, the superconscious state, is attained.

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