Written By Dr. Rita Khanna
Imagine your mind to be a lake and your thoughts the ripples that disturb it. If the lake is still, you can clearly see the life thriving within. Similarly, when your mind is free of thoughts and calm, you can see your inner self, your hidden potential, which you didn’t know even, existed. Meditation can help you calm your mind, it stills mental activity which relaxes you. It helps you discover your dormant talents and improve your memory. Once you begin meditating, you will feel better and look better. You will be more productive and happy.
However, meditation is not always easy. The fluctuations of the mind do not like to be calmed. It is amazing how many thoughts, how many stories, how many little movies can run through your head in the space between two breaths – especially when you are trying to meditate. The mind is active all the time with movements as swift as they are uncontrollable. By its very nature, it does not fix on any object for a long time. This fleeting movement of the mind dissipates its energy. If one takes a decision, the mind will find so many excuses to counteract it. Suppose, one decides to join Yoga class the next morning, the mind will do its best to defeat this idea by several excuses. If these arguments of mind are rejected in the first instance, it will weaken its hold.
Essential for Meditation:
There are certain essential conditions for meditation that you should know about. Given below are some general suggestions that may help as you embark on the journey of meditation.
Creating a Meditating Place:
The place should be peaceful with plenty of fresh air. You can sit on a blanket, a mattress, or a carpet. Those who find it difficult to sit on floor may use a chair.
The body should not be heavy with food, but at the same time, an individual should not be hungry at the time of meditation. A gap of two hours should be given after breakfast and a gap of three to four hours after lunch or dinner. The practitioner should wear loose fitting and comfortable clothes and should not be in any sort of hurry.
For most people, setting aside time for meditation on a regular schedule is very helpful. Mornings and Evenings are good times. But in special circumstances it can be practiced at any time according to the convenience of the individual.
Begin by sitting for meditation for 20 minutes daily. Then add a few minutes everyday, finally increasing your time to one hour. For this period, you must try to forget about the past, the present and the future. Request the mind to be quiet, but do not force the mind, as this could create unnecessary tension.
The practitioner should remain sitting in the chosen meditative pose from the beginning to the end of the session. There should be no disturbance. If for some unavoidable reason, one is disturbed while meditating, the session should be terminated. In other words, when you sit for meditation, remain undisturbed for as long as you are meditating.
Sit in Padmasana or in crossed legs. Put the palms on the knees in a relaxed manner. Hands may be kept on your lap also. The left hand should be brought to the lap first and then the right hand put on the left or you can alternately clasp the hands by loosely interlocking the fingers. Keep your head, neck and back straight. Both these poses provide a firm base and a triangular path to contain the flow of Prana. If your knees don’t reach the floor, put a pillow under your buttocks ; under the knees. You may also choose to lie on the ground while keeping head, neck and back straight. You may select some other posture, which is more natural and comfortable for you. The most important thing is your physical comfort. Though the body is erect but it should neither be strained nor limp.
Preparing for Meditation:
(a) Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
(b) It is easiest to meditate when your body is relaxed. So first practice some of the Yoga postures or carry out deep breathing exercises.
( c ) Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed by other people or by the telephone.
(d) Commit yourself to a specific length of time and try to stick to it.
(e) The spine is the central core of your nervous system, must be kept straight.
(f) Close your eyes, this makes it easy to concentrate and explore your inner being.
(g) Breathe slowly and naturally repeating your focus word or phrase silently.
(h) Assume a passive attitude. Don’t worry about how well you are doing.
(j) Relax your mind sequentially from head to toe. This helps to break the connect between stressful thoughts and a tense body.
(k) Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. Do not use an alarm. After you finish sit quietly for a minute or so, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes open.
Whether you have gained concentration or not, you can test it yourself, according to the following guidelines. While practicing, when do not see anything through the inner eye, you have not gained concentration.
While practicing, when you see some other objects through your inner eyes but not the one placed before your outer eyes, you are improving but still have not gained concentration. But while practicing, when you see the shape of the actual object, you have gained concentration.
When object will remain before the inner eye, in any form and shape, for upto five seconds, you have gained good concentration. When you can hold the same shape or image for upto ten seconds, you have gained a very high level of concentration. And when you have gained concentration, your mental sickness or disorders are cured and you fully enjoy normal life.
There are a number of popular methods to attain the state of meditation all over the world. The ultimate aim of all the methods of meditation is to unite the Aatma (soul) with Pramatama (the supreme soul).
The foundation of all the methods of meditation is the awareness of breathing that helps in attaining the concentration of mind. Asanas, Pranayamas, viewing the thoughts, giving up the thoughts, focusing the sight, merging in the sound, chanting the mantras and concentration are the major means that facilitate meditation.
The following method is simple and easy to remember as well as being safe, practical and normal.
Watching the Breath and the gaps between the two breaths
This meditation lasts for 45 minutes. It is a sitting method but in the third stage, one can lie down also in Shavasana. Keep the eyes closed throughout.
Position of Readiness: Sit in a relaxed position with eyes closed.
First Stage – 10 Minutes – Be Empty/ Emptying the mind
It means empty the mind from all the thoughts causing disorders to you. It also means remove all the filth and dirt from the mind.
For that one can do Aumkar, Brahmari, kapalbhati pranayamas or one can do dance also.
Second Stage – 20 Minutes – Open Windows
It means open yourself, open your heart and see the mind is getting free from all the undesirable thoughts.
What are undesirable thoughts?
All those thoughts make you sick, make you uncomfortable, decrease your energy level in the body, just let them go.
Do not get friendly with them, do not fight with them, do not argue with them. They will go away.
Second stage is very important or you can say this is the main stage.
So be still in this stage.
How to do:
1. Start watching you breath at the entrance of the nose…
2. Become aware of the breath coming in….going out… Watch the passage…
3. When the breath touches your nostrils, feel it there…….
4. Now you are becoming aware of the breath and the passage….
5. Again, feel the touch of the breath……….
6. Let the breath move in and out freely, you move with the breath fully consciously…. Do not go ahead and do not follow behind. Just go with it.
7. Remember – do not go ahead… do not follow it like a shadow… be simultaneous with it……
8. Let the breath and the awareness become one…………
9. Let the mind and the body become one…………..
10. When the breath goes inside, a point comes where breath stops become aware of the point or watch the point………
11. When the breath goes out of the nose, a point comes again where breath stops, watch that point too……….
12. Observe that at that point, you are not breathing——–you become still……That moment is a very short moment…..
13. If you are not moving with the breath, you will miss it….
14. But if you are keeping your attention on the breath you can feel the gap…… because it is always there…. expect a certain awareness….
15. There is no need to become concerns with the gaps, it will follow automatically… if the gaps are not happening do not worry .but don’t try to create the gaps. Let them happen on their own.
16. You will soon become aware that there are two gaps between the two breaths…..
17. Now keep your attention between these two gaps……..
18. Slowly, you will see that the gap is increasing and becoming bigger. It means the mind is becoming still…………..
19. Finally, it happens that for minutes together the gap remains. It means the mind has become still…………………
Third Stage: – 15 Minutes- No Entry
It means your mind is clean now so put a fence around the clean mind.
How we will put a fence around the clean mind.
Do not let your negative emotions, you tensions, your worries, your undesirable thoughts come back into the mind.
Therefore, in this stage, we will keep the mind busy through visualization or just observing the body / body parts.
1. Lie down in Shavasana with closed eyes. Remain still.
2. Just concentrate on your whole body and nothing else.
3. Become aware of your whole body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
4. Look within and try to become aware of the one who is looking.
5. Try to see the whole body as if you are seeing yourself in a mirror.
6. Become aware that you are observing yourself
7. Introduce youself to yourself
8. Just witness everything without responding, if you still react just observe you reactions.
To come back………..
Draw your mind outside, become aware of the breathing….
Become aware of your surroundings, the room you are in…..
Slowly move your toes, fingers……
Open your eyes close your eyes….
Draw your legs together gently, inhale and stretch your arms over the head…
Start stretching yourself out from both sides as though someone were pulling your head away from your feet….
Slowly fold the knees, turn to left / right side, Keep the left hand palm just underneath the head, right hand on the right leg and relax for few more seconds. Then sit up as slow as possible please. Keep the eyes closed.
Rub your hands and just cover the face with warm hands and feel the warmth and energy from the hands into the eyes. Gently open the eyes while keeping them covered with palms. Now take the hands off and feel the freshness of the environment around it.
In the end, laugh loudly, as loud as you can.
For more information contact:
Dr. Rita Khanna
2nd floor, plot#22, Suman Housing colony, West Marredpally,
Dr. Rita Khanna’s YogaShaastra Studio
A Yoga & Naturopathy Centre
Over 20 years of Teaching Yoga
The Studio is open 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m