What does meditation have to do with yoga?
In meditation there is no seeking or searching as the soul and the goal have become one.
The practice of yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between body, mind and spirit. Its objective is to assist the practitioner in using the breath and body to foster an awareness of the self as an individualized being, intimately connected to the unified whole of creation. In short it is about making balance and creating equanimity so as to live in peace, good health and harmony with the greater whole. This art of right living was perfected and practiced in India thousands of years ago and the foundations of yoga philosophy were written down in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, approximately 200 AD. This sacred text describes the inner workings of the mind and provides an eight-step blueprint for controlling its restlessness so as to enjoy lasting peace.
The core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for yoga practice.
In brief the eight limbs, or steps to yoga, are as follows:
- Means absorption. It is the art of self study, reflection, keen observation, or the search for the infinite within. It is the observation of the physical processes of the body, study of mental states and profound contemplation. It means looking inwards to one’s innermost being. Dhyana is about discovery of the self.
- When the powers of the intellect and the heart are harmoniously blended, this is dhyana. All creativity proceeds from it, and its good and beautiful results benefit mankind.
- Dhyana is like deep sleep there is a difference. The serenity of deep sleep comes as a result of unconsciously forgetting one’s identity and individuality, whereas meditation brings serenity which is alert and conscious throughout. The Sadhaka( practitioner) remains a witness to all activities. Chronological and psychological time have no existence in deep sleep or in total absorption. In sleep the body and mind recover from wear and tear and feel fresh upon waking. In meditation the Sadhaka experiences Illumination.
- Dhyana is full integration of the contemplator, the act of contemplation and the object contemplated upon becoming one. The distinction between the knower the instrument of knowledge and the object known vanishes. The Sadhaka becomes vibrant, alert and poised. He becomes free from hunger, thirst, sleep and sex as well as from desire, anger, greed, infactuation, pride and envy. He is unassailable by the dualities of the body and mind and self. His vision reflects his true self like a well polished mirror. This is Atma-darsana reflection of the soul.
- Jesus said that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of god. Pondering upon the meaning of life. Man is convinced that there dwells within his soul a force of light far greater than himself. Yet in his walk of life he is beset by many cares and doubts. Being caught in the environment of artificial civilization he develops a false sense of values. His words and actions run counter to his thoughts. He is bewildered by these contradictions
Meditation is a method for synchronizing body and mind in the present moment. When the body and mind are in sync, we are naturally relaxed, alert, open, and aware, and we experience ourselves and the world in a direct, unmediated way, without conceptual filters. It is this direct experience of the fullness, vitality, and splendor of life that is the gift of meditation.
Sabija ( bija means seed)- sitting in meditation reciting a mantra is the art of planting a seed
The self (Atman) is no doubt beyond purity and impurity, but it gets caught by the desires and by the mind. Lord Krishna says “As fire is covered by smoke and a mirror is covered by dust, an embryo covered by the womb so is the atman engulfed in desires generated by the senses and by the mind.(Bhagavad gita). So keep the body firm as a mountain peak and the mind still and steady as the ocean, for meditation. The moment the body loses its intelligence or firmness the intelligence of the brain loses its clarity, both in action and receptivity. When the body and the brain are well balanced, pure intellectual illumination is experienced.
The lotus flower is revered in many religions and belief systems as revealing the path of life from birth, through transformation and finally enlightenment. It is the symbol of health, purity, peace, beauty and enlightenment. It is not just...
a glorious flower with an intoxicating fragrance, but it is a reminder that beauty can sprout from the most unexpected places. The Lotus flower is born in the mud beneath a body of water. Although it can’t see the light it manages to intrinsically find its way through the murky waters. Moving blindly through the darkness, strictly on faith, the weights begin to lift and its path becomes clear as it approaches the light.
Does the lotus know that it is destined to blossom into a symbol of perfection, or is it driven by hope and faith? When the lotus finally makes its way through the waters and is bathed in the light of the sun it, seemingly unscathed by the murky depths it arose from, blossoms into something of indescribable beauty.
Our journey as a human being, is similar to the lotus you and I move through attachments and before we experience freedom, we feel heavy and weighted down at the bottom of the water. As we start to ascend we release these attachments becoming more connected to our source and we unload our accumulated baggage and becoming lighter. Eventually we reach the surface and experience the warmth and glistening, radiant light of the sun. you have moved through all darkness and are ready to now bathe in the light of pure happiness and joy. As we emerge into our highest self the light illuminates us and we blossom into the beautiful lotus flower for all of the world to see and experience in our presence. It is your time to shine!
Let’s talk about posture and find your perfect posture for today!
The head- the crown of the head should be parallel to the ceiling. To tilt the head down is a sign that you are thinking of the past and this is very tamasic. To tilt the head up is looking to the future and Rajasic. To keep the head level in center is to arrive into the present Sattvic.
Eyes closed and look within. Shut ears to outward sounds
Plams together at center of chest thumbs pointing toward the sternum. If the mind wanders the pressure between the hands will become weak you can simply bring awareness back by gently reinstating pressure.
Today’s suggested mantra
“Om Nimah Shivaya”
Na is the Lord's concealing grace, Ma is the world, Śi stands for Śiva, Va is His revealing grace, Ya is the soul. The five elements, too, are embodied in this ancient formula for invocation. Na is earth, Ma is water, Śi is fire, Vā is air, and Ya is ether, or Ākāśa. Many are its meanings.
Namaḥ Śivaya has such power, the mere intonation of these syllables reaps its own reward in salvaging the soul from bondage of the treacherous instinctive mind and the steel bands of a perfected externalized intellect. Namaḥ Śivāya quells the instinct, cuts through the steel bands and turns this intellect within and on itself, to face itself and see its ignorance. Sages declare that mantra is life, that mantra is action, that mantra is love and that the repetition of mantra, japa, bursts forth wisdom from within
It means "I bow to Lord Shiva." Shiva is the supreme reality, the inner Self. It is the name given to consciousness that dwells in all. Shiva is the name of your true identity - your self.
According to Hindu mythology there are three Gods who run this creation. The Brahma - who creates the universe, the Vishnu - who preserves the Universe and the Shiva- who in the end destroys the universe. Among the three deities, Shiva, though considered as destroyer, also symbolize the - the inner self which remains intact even after everything ends
The Correct Posture and Beginners Meditation
The Correct Posture Instructions on Posture for Effective Meditation Erect Spine One of the first requisites for meditation is correct posture.
- The spine should be erect. When the devotee is seeking to direct his mind and life force upward through the cerebrospinal axis to the centers of higher consciousness in the brain, he should avoid stricture or pinching of the spinal nerves caused by improper posture.
- Sit on a Straight Armless Chair Simple cross-legged meditation posture Meditating with Straight Armless ChairThose persons whose legs are supple may prefer to meditate sitting cross-legged on a cushion on the floor, or on a firm bed.
However, Paramahansa Yogananda recommended the following meditation pose:
- Sit on a straight armless chair with the feet resting flat on the floor. Hold spine erect, abdomen in, chest out, shoulders back, chin parallel to the ground. The hands, with palms upturned, should rest on the legs at the juncture of the thighs and the abdominal region to prevent the body from bending forward. If the correct posture has been assumed, the body will be stable yet relaxed, so that it is easily possible to remain completely still, without moving a muscle. Now, close your eyes and gently lift your gaze upward, without straining, to the point between the eyebrows — the seat of concentration, and of the spiritual eye of divine perception.
A Beginner's Meditation gold lotus rule From the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda:
“If the beginner yogi sits on the hard floor to meditate he will find his legs going to sleep, owing to pressure on his flesh and arteries. If he sits on a blanket over a spring pad or mattress, on the floor, or over a hard bed, he will not experience discomfort in his legs. A Westerner, used to sitting on chairs with his thighs at a right angle to his torso, will find it more comfortable to meditate on a chair with a woolen blanket and silk cloth under him, extending under his feet which rest on the floor. Those Western yogis, especially youths, who can squat on the floor like Orientals, will find their knees pliable, owing to their ability to fold their legs in an acute angle. Such yogis may meditate in the lotus posture, or in the more simple cross-legged position. “No one should try to meditate in the lotus posture unless he is at ease in that position. To meditate in a strained posture keeps the mind on the discomfort of the body. Meditation should ordinarily be practiced in a sitting position. Obviously, in a standing posture (unless one is advanced) he may fall down when the mind becomes interiorized. Neither should the yogi meditate lying down, for he might resort to the ‘practiced’ state of slumber. “The proper bodily posture, one which produces calmness in body and mind, is necessary to help the yogi shift his mind from matter to Spirit.” — Paramahansa Yogananda, God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita