“Yoga and Meditation Class” – you must have come across such ads outside various gyms, studios, or on social media as well. But do you know Yoga and Meditation are not different at all? Meditation is an integral part of Yoga itself. Yes, you heard it right!
Yoga is a complete science of life. Ancient Yogis perceived the physical body as a vehicle, with the mind as the driver and the soul as the passenger. The forces – Action, Emotion, and Intelligence respectively make the mind-body-soul work together. And when there is friction in any of the forces, the journey is full of jerks and breakdowns. Hence, it becomes very important to take care of all the three together for smooth functioning.
There are 8 limbs of Yoga also known as ‘Ashtanga’ that focus on the mind-body-soul unification and purification.
The eight limbs of Yoga are as follow –
1. Yama (Self Restraints),
2. Niyama (Personal Discipline)
3. Asana (Postures)
4. Pranayama (Conscious Breathing)
5. Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Senses)
6. Dharna (Visualization or Concentration)
7. Dhyaan (Meditation)
8. Samadhi (State of Zero Thought or Oneness)
To align our Mind, Body, and Soul, these are the 8 prescribed methods by ancient Yogis. And with my own experience, I can tell you that they work the best in this given order. Yama and Niyama bring the necessary discipline and attitude that is required to take on the journey of Yoga. Asana brings balance and strength to the physical body. Pranayama builds the bridge between the physical and the non-physical body. Pratyahara initiates the travel inwards and Dharna keeps the mind focused. And then comes the state of Meditation or Dhyaan which leads to Samadhi where one feels united with the true self and the universe. As easy as it can get, if one practices this for at least 1 hour, the result is utter blissfulness all around.
However, not everybody in the world enjoys the luxury of being a Yoga teacher and has the liberty to take out time from their busy work schedule to practice this complete and vast form of Yoga. People ask me, “is it possible to directly jump to Meditation and skip all the other aspects?”
Please understand, meditation or Dhyaan is the 7th limb of Yoga and it’s not recommended to skip the other 6 limbs. All the previous limbs work as the stepping stones and prepare the mind and body to come to a state of stillness so that meditation can happen on its own. But if you’re someone who wants to feel peaceful, improve the quality of sleep, and stay focused by doing the bare minimum, then we can surely do something about it too.
Meditation is a powerful tool but not everyone knows how to use it correctly. Let’s explore some simple ways that can help you start your daily practice.
Count Thy Breath
Sit in a comfortable position. Keep your back straight and close your eyes. Bring your focus towards your chest and observe it moving up and dropping down with each inhalation and exhalation. Take as deep and slow breath as possible. You will notice your mind gets empty as your focus gets stronger on your breath. You can also count 1 to 5 for every inhalation and 5 to 1 for every exhalation. This helps in calming down the mind and release stress and anxiety.
Listen to a Chant / Mantra
This one sounds extremely easy to be called a form of meditation but that’s the trick! Start by playing any Chant or Mantra that you relate to and sit with your eyes closed and spine erect. You have to activate your hearing sense to the optimum and keep all your attention to the sound only. Do not let your mind waver in thoughts and listen carefully to each and every sound, vibration, and syllable. Initially, you might get swayed away with the thoughts but with continuous practice, the thoughts start reducing, This is a very beneficial exercise for people who lack focus and cannot concentrate on something for long. It also creates a balance between mind and body. You can do it at any hour of the day or before bed, for at least 7-8 min.
Okay, let’s do the talking now! This is for the ones who are sweet and kind to everyone but carry the load of tons of pent-up emotions in the heart throughout. As the word suggests, we talk in the gibberish language in this one. Sit in a comfortable position, if possible stay alone in the room. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Now start saying anything that comes to your mind without any filter. You can go Aaaaaa–lalalala—dadadada–nanananana- and so on… There is no limitation. Do it for 3-4 min and you will feel lightness in your heart instantly.
So what are you waiting for? Start your practice and share your experience.
Until next time!