Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yoga Workshop, Espern, Hamar, December 2009 - Part Seven






Yoga is a beautiful system developed to help remove physical, mental and emotional blocks.

Now we’ll be talking generally about yoga, how yoga can help us, and the side effects of hatha yoga.

The side effects of hatha yoga seem endless. The positive body shape changes, the awareness of self, the calm, the grounding, the joy, enjoying the simple pleasures. Talk to people who practice yoga, or play at yoga on the weekends. They always speak about the rewards they gain in their daily lives.

But the final outcome, the reward at the end of the game, is connection. Ultimate and beautiful connection to the life force energy, constant, wonderful, living, breathing, beautiful life.

You can feel the cells, the life within, seemingly ‘jumping for joy’ in existence.

And it’s a ‘realisation’, a revelation, an unveiling, of the mystical truth of what we have been searching for all along, all of the love we have thought we never had, all of the insistence of our little voice in the darkness, all of it, is for this great cosmic connection. 

At Onement – Atonement

Unity

Yoga

Self Realisation

The Tao

God Consciousness

Call it what you will. Give it a name, if you want to, but it remains the same, regardless of your religion, of your belief system, or of your up bringing. We remove the blinds of our eyes, we remove our blockages, and we reveal, at the heart, the most beautiful centre you can imagine.

Present Moment Awareness

The body is a great help in training the mind to release its hold on thought.  It is always right here, right now. It holds patterns of the past, postural patterns, and memories, the excess food, the signs of accidents, the scars, the small wounds but it exists in the present moment. The body is our key, in hatha yoga, to unlock the present moment.


  • Yoga is integration of all levels, the heart, the mind, the body, and all embraced by the spirit.  The spirit is pure connection on all levels.


When practicing physical yoga poses, be careful not to get hung up on ‘perfect’, there is no perfect in yoga, apart from the ‘right now’ which is perfect. Right now is perfect, but its not found in a pose. It’s the moment that is continually present. This is what we are practicing.

The mind seems like our greatest enemy and yet, is a great tool, a great gift,  if we can use its skills, rather than be its slave.  Part of understanding our new relationship to our mind, is acceptance rather than resistance. 

What does the mind do? It goes around and around and around in thoughts. Its constantly likened to a playful and naughty monkey, but it can be incredibly dangerous. The world as we see it today, is in existence because of thoughts that came up in someone’s head, and then those thoughts were put into action, that’s the world we live in. 


  • Bring the mind into present moment awareness by concentrating on the body, living in each moment. We’re increasing cellular awareness. The cells are alive, jumping, receiving information, sending information, alive in the moment.





We can feel/experience oneness through the energetic body, through the inner exploration, but its difficult to see it/feel it through the mind.  This is why, in many cases, the mind is viewed as an ‘enemy’ of the spiritual journey.

However, the mind can be our most powerful ally. How do we make friends with a wild animal?

We are patient. We are calm. We don’t show fear. We are kind, and caring, and giving. We do not hate, or hit, or blame, or resist or regret.


  • Bring the mind into the service of the heart. That is, we need to train the mind, and it takes some time, especially after the lives we have been living of consume and enjoy as much as possible. 



Of course, if our mind is geared to ‘enjoy’ and we don’t enjoy, what happens? We become resentful and unhappy and a whole load of other problems begin.  The mind will buckle and kick against this sudden about face. So take it easy, relax, one step at a time.



  • Remember that yoga doesn’t ‘add’ anything to you, it’s the opposite. It takes away blockages. It returns us to simplicity, rather than complexity. Into oneness, rather than separateness.



  • Cosmic consciousness  is expanded consciousness. A consciousness that is not limited by ideas or thoughts or emotions. It is a consciousness that surpasses the petty demands of the little self.


There is no where to go, you’re already here. Its just a matter of removing the blinds from out senses.

The time is NOW. 


Part  One of the Workshop
Part Six of the Workshop 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Yoga Workshop, Espern, Hamar, December 2009 - Part Six



 Observing and Acceptance in Asana Practice

We’ve been talking about the word acceptance. Let’s give ourselves a good example.

Take your clothes off and stand in front of a full length mirror. And look at yourself. Look at your body. Look at all of your body. If you have the space, take a step back and take it all in.

Now, what happens inside of your mind? There is usually a cacophony of emotional noise and mental projections at this point.

If I suggest that you accept your body exactly as it is, what is your response? 
‘You’ve got to be kidding? I could accept my body when I was 15, but now?’ 
‘Well, I can accept my ankles, but definitely not the top of my arms?’

That’s why we start with observation. Once we can observe and get some distance from the fire and ice spewing from our mind and the dizzying range of emotions, then we can begin the movement into acceptance.

Observation

We stand in Mountain Pose. We move into Triangle Pose. We’ve grounded the feet, strengthened the knees, lengthened the spine, turned the chin and stretched through the arms. Our eyes, jaw and the back of our head are soft. And we engage our breath. And all the while, all through the movement into the pose, and while we are standing in the pose, we are observing the body, the mind’s attitude, the voices, positive or negative, we are listening to the body’s response to the movement. We are feeling the emotions arise. The joy, the pain, the freedom, the tension. And we observe without comment.

Acceptance

When you have been able to observe yourself, and you notice the mind’s resistance. You begin to feel deep criticism come up, or deep apathy, then we move into acceptance. But wait for the voice to come up telling you it has to be different from what it is, that you are not good enough,  that its not ‘right’, that you are never going to be perfect. We just accept this voice, and allow all that is within to exist, with no limitations.

And you can do that. And breathe. And re soften the body. Relearn the asanas you thought you knew so well. Observation and acceptance.

When I talk of acceptance, many people say ‘but I can not accept poverty in the world. I can not. And I can not accept acts of terrorism.’   

To begin with, when I say ‘accept’, I do not mean accept and do nothing. I just mean see that these things are in existence. Open our eyes to what is. The mind says ‘I can not and do not want to talk about ‘that’. I can’t. It’s too painful.’  And so begins a small barrier of protection. Protection from humanity’s own doing. The mind can not accept. Then begins a few little lies, and a few little exceptions, and suddenly we find we have quite a few things that are ‘taboo’ subjects, or subjects that make us mad, or topics that we can not stomach and then – we become helpless and a victim.

Just when the difficult things come up, we become a victim to our emotions and our limitations and we become ineffectual and say ‘that is for someone else to deal with, someone who is stronger than me. I am not cut out for such things.’

Our inability to view the world, and see what is going on, helps perpetuate the very problems we can not stomach. We use the ‘one-who-can-not-be-named’ system to deal with our fears. Do you really think, that by ignoring sex crimes, by not talking about it, or by not  giving it a name that it will just go away, or stop existing? Or the pain you keep suppressing in your body? Do you think if you take enough pain killers, it will eventually just go away and you will not have to face what the pain is teaching you?

Ok – so, slowly, slowly, we look behind the curtains the mind has drawn. We don’t want to shock or scare ourselves stupid. We just want to sit and contain what is.

And from this deep acceptance of what the world is, with no judgement for or against, we will make decisions about what to do.   Don’t be fooled into thinking that a disciplined mind is a cold hearted mind. A disciplined mind, full of awareness, is like a laser light upon problems. There is deep awareness, deep understanding and great compassion for our being human. 




Part One of the Workshop
Part Two of the Workshop
Part Three of the Workshop
Part Four of the Workshop 
Part Five of the Workshop

Friday, January 15, 2010

Yoga Workshop, Espern, Hamar, December 2009 - Part Five





Removing the Layers of Illusion

“we are separate”

Removing conditioning. Removing negative thought patterns, removing limiting beliefs.

We have to be careful now, because we are living in a world where advertisers have understood the mind and how we think. That is, to make money, 'they' study psychology. 

‘because you are worth it’… your kids are worth it – worth what exactly?  Worth what? 


Ask yourself this question. What is your worth? And when did you suddenly start believing you could be bought? ‘Everyone has their price.’ What’s your price?  Where is your treasure? That’s where your heart is. (Top of the cupboard, ‘those shoes’. I never wear them but I love to look at them.They make me feel better when I feel sad.) 

Any time a marketer/advertiser talks to you directly to the heart  through the art of advertising, its because they believe they have tapped into the consciousness of the people. They are selling you solutions to your fears and keys to your desires. They are keeping you hostage to your fears and desires.

Understand what I am saying. You have two buttons. 


Fear and Desire


Everything you do is based on these two things. Think about it. Trace your actions back to the original point.
You didn’t want your mother to be angry at you, you were afraid, so you enrolled in the course.
You wanted to look ‘better’ so you coloured your hair because 'she' looked good like that. 
You were afraid the other kids would laugh, so you lied.

We all do it.

Advertisers are a great enemy of self realisation, because they want you to stay a victim to fear and desire. They need you to feel needy, so that you buy things to fill the hole inside of you, and in thanks, you fill up the hole of their bank accounts with a ton of things you don't really need. If you don't believe me, open a cupboard. Do you need that stuff? Really? How much did it cost and how did it get into your house?  And the next cupboard, and your child's room? How many toys and things do they really use at all?

But advertisers are also our greatest teachers. How often do we respond to advertising because it taps into our fears? I don’t look cool enough, I don’t look rich enough, I don’t have the right coloured sofa, my pet is the wrong accessory for me, by breasts are the wrong size or my penis is too short.  ok then, just notice what advertisers  are tapping, embrace it, accept this fear/desire that you have, but take away the action related. We are just watching, observing.

Fear Desire, Desire Fear.

What if I said that yoga will teach you that you already have everything that you need, right now? How does it make you feel? Happy? Bored? Relieved?

We love the sea-saw of our lives. We must, because we keep living the exact same way all of the time. We get angry, then we get sad, then we are depressed, then we say oh well, and then we accept, then we swing up again, and we’re happy, and then, because she said that, we get a bit resentful again.  Its just a bit circle of events.  We are victims to 'them' and 'out there'.  As long as we are victims, we are not equals, we are not brothers and sisters, we are in a position of weakness and always trying to prove our worth. We can not come together from a position of inferiority of not being good enough. 

It’s a constant change. Impressions, feelings, sensations, emotions. They are constantly changing.

Does this make you afraid? To recognise that life constantly changes? That time really does change your memories and how you feel, and it softens the edges of things past.

Do you wish to hold everything exactly as it is right now? For nothing to change. Have you said that before? ‘I wish everything could stay exactly as it is right now?’   Or ‘I wish things could be the same as they were.’

The mind jumps around all the time. Just watch it. Watch it. Observe its motions. Notice the repetitious behaviour of your mind.

Your mind is a wonderful, amazing and undisciplined chit.

When I talk to you about awareness of the mind, I do not mean mind control, in forcing yourself to believe certain things. I just mean that we would like to shift the relationship we have to the mind.

The One that can see the mind jumping about is what we call the Big Self. The mind that jumps about like a monkey, is the little self. So, we say, instead of the Big Self being lead about by the little  self, lets train the monkey mind to become a powerful ally to the Big Self. So that, we can sleep when we want to, we can concentrate when we want to, we can do what is necessary at anytime we want to, without being a victim to the little self’s demands of ‘I want’ and ‘I need’ and ‘its not fair’ and ‘what about me’isms.

And more, if you suffer negative thoughts, if you suffer depression, if you suffer from your mind’s negative patterns, then yoga is going to be your best friend. And guess what, its not going to cost a euro. Just your time and patience.


Part Four of the Workshop 
Part Six of the Workshop 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yoga Workshop, Espern, Hamar, December 2009 - Part Four



Yoga



We are one. The author of New Age Thinking wrote that our urge to be ‘one’ was a regressive state of consciousness that harkened back to our inability to let go of the mother.

Let me remind you of what ‘mother’ we can not let go of.  The Great Earth Mother. 


Mother Earth

For those of you that doubt the word ‘mother’ should be given to earth, and see this as some form of romantic or even pagan labelling, let us think of what the earth means to us.

It protects us, it shelters us, it gives us food, it sustains us, because of its existence, we are here. It gives us air to breath, food to eat and a place to live. Traditionally, the role of the care givers has been given to women. To bring the earth into our hearts and minds, and to bring full appreciation of its value to us, we give her the name ‘Mother Earth.’

And what do we do to her, in exchange? We take from her without thought, we poison her veins, we turn our back on her when she struggles to cope with our abuse, we dig into her skin and take out the parts we want, we ignore her importance in celebrations and harden our hearts towards giving thanks, and naively we think we are independent from her, just like most ignorant teenagers feel towards their parents.

But it’s a process. We are growing with awareness. We understand that we can not continue to act so foolishly, and all the children of the world need to come together to help give back to the earth what we have taken. To claim responsibility for our actions. And this is an act of unity. It is yoga off the mat.  We are coming together, slowly, in appreciation and awareness for our great Mother.

We can never let go of Mother Earth. Instead, we need to stand and plant our feet in Mountain Pose, and claim our stance and our belonging right here, where we are, on the earth. 

Mountain Pose

The feet firmly grounded into the earth. During the yoga workshop, we talked about two energies. One of them was the gravitational pull of Mother Earth. When we are in asana practice, we must always connect to the earth and stabilize. We need to ground ourselves and claim our position. We can not build our pose upon hesitant footing.

You can do that on a physical level, but can you reach into your being and send your heart into the ground and claim your space. Do you belong, where you are? Do you belong, right here? Have you taken responsibility and a shared partnership for your relationship to our shared Mother? In your heart? In your mind? In your soul?

You are my brother and you are my sister. We share this Earth Mother. From my heart, to yours, I ask you to open and explore your relationship with our Mother, and to claim the relationship as valid and one of the most important of our lives.  Everything we do, is reliant upon her. Our very being. What does that mean? What is our responsibility? How does this concern you?

Unity with Mother Earth

We can not let go of the Mother Earth, of creation, of life itself.  Its impossible. We are a part of life, of creation – no matter what we think. We were born of the earth, we live from the earth and we will return to the earth. 


One of the most fundamental moments of bringing ourselves into alignment with what yoga means, is becoming aware of our relationship to the earth and to all life forms who share the air, and shelter, and clothing and food that our Mother gives us. 


Part Three of the Workshop
Part Five of the Workshop 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yoga Workshop, Espern, Hamar, December 2009 - Part Three




What Yoga is Not.

Practices that remove us from unity.  Every day practices that spring from the way we think.

I remember reading a woman saying that when she put on her make up, she put on her ‘war paint’.  How many times have we put make up on as a ‘defence’. Or how many times have you seen someone else put their jewellery on as a barrier or as armour?  But let us ask ourselves, a defence, a barrier, an armour against what?

A defence against … ?  (please answer)

When you put clothes on, do you think about what you are wearing, and why, and who for? Ask yourself the question, if I could wear, what ever I wanted to wear today, what would I wear? 

Do you dress to be ‘better’ than someone else? Do you dress as a way to make yourself different from someone/anyone else? Do you dress as a barrier to other people?  Do you want the world to see you are different.

Different from …..?  (please answer)

When we talk to people, including family, do we talk with a means to show we are smarter, better, different and they are less, worse, more inferior? Or do we say nothing and think we are smarter or dumber than others?

Know Thyself

Every action that is based on your feelings of difference, or separation, or alienation is not conducive to yoga. But it is helpful to know who you are. Division is within the heart. And its outward manifestation is separation and anxiety, mistrust and suspicion.

How can we be strong enough, to cope with the ‘hardness’ of the world, so we are not continually hurt when we put out our hand to help and it is slapped down?

How can we find the courage to find the inner strength to deal with the injustice of the world, the cruelty, the intolerance, the hatred, the suspicion, the fear – how can we remain vulnerable, open, sensitive, giving, in the midst of a world gone mad?


The Heart

Have you heard of this before? When your heart breaks, it gets a bit bigger, and one day, we sit there, with a broken heart that can fit the whole world inside. Honest to God, that is what its like.

Loving one, does not mean you can’t love another. Our heart is big enough. Maybe our minds do not understand, but the heart can take it. The heart can bring us peace and love and by practicing living from here, in the heart, by holding hands with the mind, with our experiences, with sense – we can live an integrated life. 


Part One of the Workshop 
Part Two of the Workshop
Part Four of the Workshop 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yoga Workshop, Espern, Hamar, December 2009 - Part Two


Yoga

Yoga is a science* developed to bring us to a point of self realisation. We move through different layers of awareness and sensitivity while watching the changes of  thought, impression, sensation arise and drop, only to leave us with what is. And there, we will see what is at the end of this journey to the Self.

The Difference Between Acceptance and ‘Doing Nothing’. 

Acceptance, as I talk about it, is not about accepting and doing nothing.  Acceptance in a spiritual sense, is engaged as a tool to help us remove judgement, not to remove appropriate  action. 


During the classes we are going to use the word ‘acceptance’. We are going to practice ‘acceptance’. This does not mean ‘do nothing’ and ‘I don’t care about children starving or injustices in the world’. That’s not what it means.

It means, that we can take in information, that we can hold it, that we can see the world for what it is, who we are, the dark, the light, we can hold it – and sit with it. With love, with compassion, with a deep acceptance that all of what is comes from ourselves, from our own distrust, from our own hates and jealousies, from our own fears and concerns, from being human.

Once we can bring the terror of our lives, of others lives in close to the heart centre – for it is only here that we can really try to understand anything – then we have a chance of acting from a place that is called ‘no action’.

That means we’ll be making decisions that are not based on the personal knee jerk reaction of the emotions or previous behaviour patterns. We won’t be doing anything for selfish gain. We will be able to see clearly, and there will be only one course of action to take. That is action in no-action.

Understandable as the emotions are, if we follow them as our one and only guide, we end up being a victim.

Triggers/knee jerk reactions


I see a girl in a short skirt and I say ‘tart’, then I label a human being and can not see the reality.
I see an expensive car and think, ‘oh, the man driving that car must be important.’
I don’t see an old man walking on the street, because he’s not important.
I hear a story of someone getting their bag stolen, and think ‘this all started with the foreigners started moving to the neighbourhood’.

What are your triggers? 


What are the thoughts you have running around your head in circles? 
What do you repeat to yourself as gospel truth day after day after day? 
What do you repeat when you see certain TV commercials, when someone pulls out in front of you in a car, when you pick up the phone to your mother, when you start cleaning up after dinner, when you go to the bathroom and shut the door? 
What's your first thought in the morning when you wake up?
What are the thoughts going on in your head, and are they exactly the same as yesterday?

Know thyself.

Begin with awareness. Awareness of yourself. Observation.

Then we move into acceptance. No judgement. Just a deep allowing of yourself, now that you’ve seen yourself and the way your mind works.

Yoga as we study it in the west, starts with the body and moves into the mind and emotions. And as I said earlier, many of you have been studying asanas for several years now. Its time to deepen our awareness.  


We start to recognise our lack of balance.  We start to identify where we have been picking up our information, and we begin to realise that perhaps, there are other points of view, other than our own. 


Part One of the Workshop
Part Three of the Workshop 


* The Science of Self Realisation 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Yoga Workshop, Espern, Hamar, December 2009 - Part One





A student said ‘yoga’s all well and good, but I want to stop thinking.’

‘I want to be slimmer.’ ‘I want a job.’ ‘I want to quit smoking.’ ‘I want to feel more emotion.’ ‘I want to connect to God.’ ‘I want a flatter stomach.’ ‘I want to be relaxed.’ ‘I want less stress.’ ‘I want to be liked.’

When I heard M’s comment, I thought, ‘Exactly. How can yoga help us, in a practical day to day way? Why would a person off the street begin yoga?’

What’s in it for me? Will it give me what I want?

Better, I say. Yoga will teach you the misery of wanting, and release you from your traditional role of victim, of waiting for someone else to give you what you need to be happy.  Yoga offers freedom, instead of being a dupe for every advertiser who wants to earn a buck, and to every urge you feel, and to every emotion that stunts your life.

We are what we are. But we think we are much more or  much less. There is a difference. To help us understand this, because we want so much to understand, we have created a system to help us come closer to the truth of the matter.

The Self

We can break the self up into identifiable parts – the mental, the emotional, the physical. We are a mixture of these parts, but often we find we are dominated by one area more than another.

Mental


We know people who live primarily through their mental self. They need to rationalise everything. They need to understand the whys and wherefores before they commit themselves to a project. They need to understand.

Physical


These people are attached mostly to their bodies. They can be athletes, dancers and people who can feel their body’s responses to food, to alcohol, to lack of sleep. They suffer if they over eat and can not wear high heeled painful shoes. The opposite of this are people who don’t seem to notice their physical body at all.

Emotional


These people are swayed by their emotions of the moment, and can seem unstable. They can feel other people’s pain, have strong empathy, and are often moved from laughter to tears and back again.

We are a mixture of these things and more.

The Spiritual


Then we have the spiritual nature. And this is the yearning for ‘more’ than the other three can give us. Its awakening can cause problems for many of us, because we are not prepared to accept the changes in thought and deed that accompany the yearning for ‘god’ or our concept of what ‘god’ is.

Our difficulty lies in accepting these differences. 

Because we are thinking from different areas – the mind, the body, the emotions, the spirit, and these are complicated by our own experiences, our internal laws, what things mean if someone does this to me and so forth and so on.   But these things are not the same for everyone.

We can talk all day about our differences, and we usually do. All of the things we do to separate ourselves, and we can talk about those also, are things that separate, and this is not ‘unity’, it is not conducive to yoga. 


Part Two of the Workshop 

Happy New Year from Hamar, Norway.

video

-20! Lake Mjosa.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Beginners Yoga Asana Practice for Home

This is a beginner’s routine for asana practice for home use. It will cover relaxation, attuning the mind to the body, and a balanced physical routine.

Physical Warm Up, Mental Cool Down


The first ten minute of asana practice is to help bring the mind into oneness with the body and breath. That means concentration on the present moment through focus of the body.  As you breathe out, you breathe out any concerns, anxieties or problems. You breath in energy, prana, and calm.

9 rotations, or 6 breaths for each exercise, start with the right side first. Hold the lower stomach firm in all poses.

  • Comfortable Seated Pose
  • Head Rotations
  • Shoulder Lifts and Drops
  • Shoulders Forward and Back
  • Shake the Arms
  • Stretch the forearms, knuckles down
  • Stretch the forearms, palms down
  • Cross Legged Forward Fold
  • Side Stretch (right and left)
  • Cross Legged Twist
  


Transition into Cat Pose
Extend, Contract, Breathe in, breathe out.


 

Transition into down legged dog with bent knees
Hold for 6 breaths

Walk the hands into the feet, hang in rag doll.

Roll up.

Sun Salutations times 4. Begin with the right side.

Body of the Practice


Now we’re physically warm and our mind is prepared to concentrate on steady poses.

Standing Poses
  •  Mountain Pose
  •  Tree Pose
  •  Dancer’s Pose
  •  Triangle Pose
  •  Warrior I and transition to Warrior III




  


 Stomach and Back
  • Alternate leg drops (laying on the back, legs are stretched up directly over the hips, breathe in, breathe out, draw the stomach muscles in, reach up, tuck the chin in.  Begin, breathing out, one leg towards the floor, breathing in, bring the leg back into place.)
  • Criss Cross (Alternate elbow to knee, across the body)
  • Double leg drop, breathing out on the way down!
  • Bridge pose (intermediate Wheel Pose/ Back bend)
  • Cobra (keep the shoulders low and the feet together – remember to engage the stomach muscles!)
  • Shake through the hips



Cooling Down
  • Down Face Dog
  • Fish Pose
  • Supine Twist     (laying on the back, arms out to the sides, knees above the hips, breathing out as you rotate the legs to one side and turn the head to the opposite direction. Breathing in as you return the legs to centre. The concentration is in the stomach and control of the movement.
  • Savasana (laying down relaxation)
Keep your mind on the body and breath. Acceptance of thoughts and relaxation and awareness is your main objective.


If you would like more posts on yoga, perhaps you'd also like to browse previous Yoga Posts. 


Recommended reading:




Friday, January 1, 2010

Why Meditate?


Why meditate?


Meditation clears the mind, helps one to relax, gives distance from the every day, increases the ability to face life’s challenges, integrates the self (mind, body, spirit), expands the self.

The Benefits

  • lowers blood pressure (decreases the chance of heart attack and stroke) 
  • creates space in the mind allowing new ideas and creativity to flourish
  • increases the feeling of love
  • quiets the mind
  • ‘opens up the space between the ending of one thought and the beginning of another’
  • decreases stress related illnesses like hypertension
  • heart disease
  • asthma
  • insomnia
  • reduces digestive problems
  • studies show increase in intelligence
  • slows ageing
  • improved quality of life
Practice mastery of the mind.

Types of Meditation


There are many different methods for practicing meditation. Please try a few techniques until you find something you have an affinity for. Aim to meditate every day for a month. Practicing meditation is like any other exercise. You need to train to feel the benefits. You might like to keep a meditation diary to monitor the different experiences you will have.

A few examples for practicing meditation are

Chakra (energy centres - yoga)
- Steady gaze (candle, picture, flower)
- Moving meditation (t
ai chi, qigong, asanas)
- Mantras / affirmations (I am love. I am one with the universe.)
- Guided Relaxation
- Breathing Meditation (Tan 
Tien, Yang breathing)
- Inner beauty cards/ themes (peace, harmony, simplicity)
- Visualization (candle light)

Two Rules for Meditation

1. Back straight (back, neck and head in line) Your spine is aligned so that energy can flow freely.
2. Be comfortable. You can not focus your mind if your body is disturbing you with indications of pain.

Starting

  • Quiet the mind before you begin to meditate. It helps to prepare your body and mind.
  • Decide how long you will meditate for…? Set a timer?
  • Choose a quiet place. It helps to settle the mind.
  • Be warm.
  • Music is another option.
  • Sitting down.  How will you position yourself? Kneeling, chair, ball, crossed leg, half lotus, lotus?  Perhaps laying down flat on a firm surface suits you better to begin with? 
  • Why are you meditating? Remind yourself about what you’re looking for.
  • Breathe. Counting the breath to help still the mind.
  • Let go of your thoughts, fantasies, memories.
What happens?

The chatterbox begins to be heard. You may experience glimpses of peace. Watch the self arises in surprising ways. Discover the restlessness within.  What ever happens is normal. Acceptance of your experiences help a long way in meditation practice.

When not to practice

When you’re tired, feeling vulnerable, depressed or stressed. Meditation requires a still, calm yet alert mind. Negative feelings can be intensified if you meditate in a disturbed state.

Practice

  • Practice for a short while. 
  • Practice often. 
  • Practice when you feel like it or make a schedule. 
  • The best results are noted when people meditate at the same time every day. When you wake up, before you go to bed. Choose a time that best suits your schedule.
Yoga and Meditation
Dhyana (Dee YAH nah)

The process of quieting the mind to free yourself from preconceptions and illusions. Meditation is the process of attaining total awareness through the cessation of thought.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra lists meditation as the seventh of eight limbs of yoga one can practice. (Asanas are the third limb.)


Meditation is keen, heightened awareness, not nothingness.

Oneness is the object of meditation. Discover the real you. Beyond what you think you know about yourself. A natural time to meditate in yoga practice is after the 
asanas.

Mudras – special hand positions you can use to channel energy back through the fingers into the spinal column’s charkas, directing and re balancing prana in the body. For example, Namaste, OM, JnanaBuddhi.

Sitting poses Sukhasana (easy pose)
Vajrasana (kneeling pose)
Padmasana (lotus Pose)
Baddha Padmasana (Bound Lotus Pose)

Trouble shooting
Uncomfortable: if a meditative pose is uncomfortable or painful, you aren’t ready for it. Try a different pose.
Attitude: You can do it! Meditation is for everyone. You can do it with a little practice. Nothing is easy the first time. Everything takes time, energy and patience.
Sleepiness: Its your body’s way of reacting to being still. Be disciplined! Its worth it. Keep trying.
Chatterbox: Little thoughts popping up all of the time? Watch them come and go. Observe yourself. Let them come and go. Be calm. This is the beginning!
Memories: Treat all of your memories the same way. Observe them. Let them come and go. Some may be unpleasant. If you need help, find an experienced meditation teacher.

Finishing off

As you finish your meditation be sure to wake yourself properly. Visualize your body and being in your body. Open the eyes and see that you are in the room you started in. You might like to massage the face and head and stimulate the blood through your rested body. Stretch your body. Take the peace you have achieved with you through out your day. Good luck! Even better than luck though, is discipline.


Patience, Energy, Discipline



If you liked this post, perhaps you'd like to read Meditation Madness, meditation for negative thoughts, or even take a look at my first attempt at a podcast with 'three minute guided meditation' 

Originally posted as 'Basics in Meditation' (some modifications have been made)