Yoga Meditation For Stillness Of Mind
(Port Elisabeth, South Africa )
I just found your site and hope to be a regular visitor. Not quite sure where to ask my question, so may I ask you first and take it from there. I get the feeling it is a common problem but my search didn't get anything.
I wonder if you could give me some help with my current yoga problem. I have a pretty rewarding home practice every morning at 4 am which is also my favourite time of the day.
My problem stems from my belief that yoga is as much about meditation as it is about stretching as hard as I try I can not seem to still my mind and tune in to the universe every morning.
I think there must be a technique to train the mind to be more still. I know its human nature to think but when you trying to tune in and be still. It chatters away like a monkey. Surely someone out there has a technique to quieten it just a bit or to teach it to become progressively quieter.
Don't you have some ideas for me? Maybe a web site or a forum where people are discussing the problem. Anything to help me become quiet and listen during my morning dance.
Port Elisabeth, South Africa
It is great to know that you have a well established yoga practice. It will not be much difficult for you to start meditation as you are likely to have achieved perfection in asanas and control of breathing. Before achieving stillness of mind, you need to practice meditation and become a neutral observer of your thoughts. I have brought out the necessary information for you as reproduced below.
Starting with Meditation. Start with most simple process and then gradually move forward. Initial practice can help you to focus your mind and achieve stillness of mind. Your progress will depend on your own efforts, self study and the guidance of a teacher. Even minimal yoga meditation will help you to do better in your yoga practice and achieve relaxation and concentration. Do not set any targets, let go of the ego. Dissolving your ego is the main problem. You give your control to the supreme consciousness and you will get unlimited support to proceed further.
It is advisable to practice daily. Frequency of meditation is more important than timing. Keep it simple but follow religiously.
1. Mind Control for Meditation Practice. Let go of the ego. Do not think of meditation as a target you want to achieve. Treat your meditation practice as surrender to supreme consciousness and approach meditation with a spirit of gratitude. Thank God for what he has given you and ask for divine grace to help you in your meditation. Try to leave all your worries behind when you sit for meditation. Cultivate the habit of living in the present moment. Do not think much of the past or present.
2. Duration of Meditation. There is no set time limit for meditation. You can set a time of ten, fifteen or twenty minutes for meditation. A simple ten or fifteen minutes breathing meditation can help you to reduce your stress levels, improve your self awareness and provide considerable inner peace. You must be able to hold your sitting pose for meditation comfortably for the duration of meditation. It will be pointless to sit for meditation if you experience any pain in the sitting pose.
3. Time for Meditation. Do meditation in the same place and time, once or twice a day. You have to assign high priority to meditation practice daily. The more importance you give to meditation, more effective it will be. Regular practice is the key for further progress. Best option is to spare 15 minutes at the end of yoga
practice for meditation. Else, do yoga stretching exercises for warming up the body and take few deep breaths. Do not do any physical exercise after meditation.
4. Mantra. Only a spiritually evolved guru can give you a mantra for meditation and its applicability. You can choose your own mantra or you can achieve considerable concentration by choosing "Aum" as your mantra.
5. Aim of Meditation. You can aim to attain stillness in your seating pose, practice breath awareness and then focus the mind for meditation.
6. Place for Meditation. Create a comfortable space in your home for meditation. There should preferably be silence and no other disturbances.
Simplified Meditation Sequence. This involves gradually focussing your awareness sequentially on your body, your breath and your mind.
7. Sit in sukhasana or padmasana keeping your back and neck straight. Your weight should be evenly balanced normal to the ground. Stillness in meditation will also depend on your capacity to sit in your meditation posture for 15 minutes, which will be easy for you as you are already doing yoga. It may take few sittings before you become comfortable with your sitting pose.
8. Close your eyes.
9. Relax the body. Explore the body as if you are really curious about it. Do it with your eyes closed, using your inner attention. Mostly this involves the cognitive sense of touch, as you "feel" your body. Go through all of the parts: head, arms, trunk and legs.
10. There is no point of struggle in meditation, we are trying to achieve relaxation and concentration and it may not be possible in first few sittings. Do not set targets, enjoy your meditation practice. In this way, there is no self pity or anger if you do not get success in few sittings.
11. Breath Awareness. Be aware of your breathing. Carry out relaxed breathing, do not lay stress on any particular type of breathing. Imagine that you are getting prana with each inhaltion and releasing toxins from body in each exhalation. Eliminate jerkiness or irregular breathing, the breath during inhalation and exhalation should be smooth.
12. Repeat Aum five to ten times.
13. Concentrate the Mind on space between the eyebrows, the ajna chakra.
14. Witness the flow of thoughts. Keeping your mind focussed, let the thoughts flow through your mind without interruption while you become a neutral observer. Keep a watch on all your thoughts. In this way you are not working against the mind by trying to keep it still. Gradually you will find that your concentration improves and the chatter of mind gradually reduces.
This is the essence of meditation and can be achieved with determination and regular practice.
Core of your being remains unaffected, thoughts come and go. After some time, they will stop disturbing you.
When meditation is finished, take a minute or so to come out of it gradually.
Hope this helps.
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