Learning to Meditate in 5 Simple Steps
Meditation is not part of any religion; it is a science for calming yourself, resting the mind, systematically exploring your inner dimensions and fathoming all levels of yourself to finally experience that center of consciousness within… Commit to yourself, to your path, and to the goal of knowing yourself.
The Real Meaning of Meditation, by Swami Rama
Meditation progresses in 5 stages:
1. Stillness in Body
To begin to glimpse that tranquil space deep within you, work from the gross (physical) body inwards, refining your focus to more and more subtle energies. That means starting with a comfortable, grounded sitting posture that is effortless and steady. It’s fine to sit on a chair if you are not comfortable cross-legged on the floor. The important thing is to maintain a straight spine with a minimum of effort. On the floor, support the pelvis and the knees with cushions or neatly folded blankets so the thighs relax and the lower back doesn’t collapse.
2. Diaphragmatic Breathing
To further quiet your body and mind, cultivate a relaxed, smooth, and even breath through your nose. Feel the breath deep in the center of the torso (the chest is still and relaxed). Allow the breath to become slow and subtle. Practice daily in crocodile pose as well as in shavasana and your sitting posture.
3. Systematic Relaxation
For the third step, move your mental focus through the body, starting with your head and moving sequentially to your feet and back again. Then relax all effort and rest in whole body awareness.
Your meditation will deepen with daily practice of systematic relaxation in shavasana as well as in your sitting posture as part of your meditation method. Enjoy a guided relaxation to get started.
4. Breath Awareness
You’re in a steady and effortless seated position; you’ve established diaphragmatic breathing and released tension throughout your body. To step deeper into your meditation, turn your attention to your breath. Notice the movement of the breath at your navel center (solar plexus) and feel the touch of the breath in your nose. Feel the breath in each nostril. Track the breath in and out, even as it changes direction from inhalation to exhalation. When your mind begins to wander, bring it back to the touch of the breath in your nose.
Relax your attention and move deeper with the next step.
5. Mental Focus
On inhale, follow the flow of breath from the tip of your nostrils to your eyebrow center (deep in the middle of your forehead) and out again as you exhale. Gradually focus more on the sensation at the eyebrow center and notice the subtle energy that guides the breath in and out. Relax your attention, but return to this awareness if the mind begins to wander. If you have a personal mantra, it might arise spontaneously in this tranquil state.
Have patience and do your practice systematically. It is not possible to meditate and not receive benefits. It takes time to see results. Be gentle with yourself. Be patient. Work with yourself gradually. Persist in your practice and you will find that meditation is a means of freeing yourself from the worries that gnaw at you. Then you are free to experience the joy of being fully present, here and now.
- A Meditation Immersion—Read an article by Rolf Sovik in Yoga International Magazine
- A Meditation (Purashcharana) Lifestyle—
Read an article by Sally Kempton in Yoga International Magazine
- Create a Personal Meditation Space—
Read an article by Sandra Anderson in Yoga International Magazine
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