By Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

To a beginner, meditation might be the most difficult concept to comprehend. Most students, of Yoga, become proficient at asana and pranayama with practice, but struggle with the ability to meditate. Yoga teachers often mention the importance of practicing meditation at home, but students often “put it off.”

The deeper issues of meditation are – training the mind, relaxing the mind, focusing the mind, and learning to be at peace with oneself. The first struggle with meditation is usually based on judgment of oneself.

The last four limbs (Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi) of the Eight Limbed Path all have something to do with meditation. Pratyahara is the the ability to withdraw senses and focus. Dharana is one pointed focus on an object. Dhyana is meditation without an object. Samadhi is complete emersion in a blissful state of meditation.

Although each of the above-mentioned limbs of Yoga deserves more than a simplistic explanation – suffice to say, each of them relates to meditation. Without meditation, Yoga is just an exercise class. This is why Maharishi Patanjali points us toward the Eight Limbed Path.

If you do not train your mind, you will never achieve self-mastery. Consider the most elite golfer. This person has complete mental focus on a physical task. The ability to make a crucial putt is, at least, half mental. Some professional golfers would tell you that golf is purely a mind and body game.

Now, I do not think Maharishi Patanjali was concerned with improving your “handicap,” but he knew meditation was the gateway to success, bliss, and enlightenment. The mind has the power to be your worst enemy or your best friend. A trained mind is your personal pass to a life of happiness.

With all this said, meditation cannot be forced. It requires daily practice; and then one day, it just happens. For those who struggle with meditation, I recommend private lessons with a competent Yoga teacher, Guru, or Swami. Daily practice is required to get the most out of your meditation sessions.

Yoga teacher graduates should know, at least, four methods of meditation. Some typical examples would be: Breath Awareness, Visualization without a Physical Object, Mantra, and Focusing on an Object. Some of your students will be able to grasp one of these concepts, but may struggle with the other three.

This is fine, as long as they learn one method. Every method, of meditation, leads toward Samadhi. Most people do not realize that each gateway of meditation has the same end.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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