First of all, may I say, that I practice all of the techniques and practices that I teach. I’m not just regurgitating something I read in a book or on-line. I began to study Meditation in the early 80’s and, for many years, didn’t really have a daily spiritual practice.
Then in the late 90’s I trained at The Expanding Light as an Ananda Yoga & Meditation instructor and really began to practice and understand the benefits of daily practice.
Routine, environment, energization exercises, yoga postures, breathing practices, mantra and progressive relaxation are all methods to quiet the mind and body and prepare for meditation.
If you are struggling with settling down to meditate, finding the time to meditate or quieting your mind when you do decide to meditate – I know exactly how you feel. It can be frustrating, discouraging and not fun to feel that you don’t know how to meditate and you don’t understand why so many people practice and enjoy the benefits and, for some reason, you can’t seem to get it. Ahhhhh…
PREPARATION FOR MEDITATION
1. Settle yourself down in a comfortable position, where you will not be disturbed for at least ten to twenty minutes. Shorter meditation periods are beneficial, even just a few minutes can be helpful, however taking a bit more time for your mind and body to settle will give you great relief from stress, worry and fatigue.
2. Sit so that your spine is long and open, supporting yourself with cushions if necessary.
3. Take a few slow, deep breaths, bringing the breath into your abdomen, expanding the lungs and open and softening the space around your heart.
4. Allow your awareness to settle down into your body, focusing on the sensations of the breath, wherever you feel them moving – in your belly, your nostrils or your throat.
5. Close your eyes if you like, keeping the eyes relaxed and lifting the level of your gaze to just above the horizon line. This eye position quiets the primitive brain, quieting the thoughts and focuses your awareness on the frontal lobes or higher consciousness part of the brain. It also helps you to stay awake while meditating.
6. You might practice a measured breathing technique – inhaling for a count of seven, holding the breath for seven and exhaling for a count of seven. Repeat this several times, then allow your breath to relax into a natural rhythm. Observe the breath, without changing or controlling it.
7. Concentration – The Hong-Sau Technique
Notice the breath wherever you feel it moving, eventually noticing the breath at the top of the nose and bringing your attention to the spiritual eye, or sixth chakra at the point between the eyebrows.
As the breath flows in, silently repeat “Hong”, as the breath flows out, silently repeat “Sau”. Follow the nature flow of the breath. Hong Sau means “I am Spirit” or “I am peace”. You will find that as you use the mantra as a point of focus, your breath will naturally and gradually slow down on it’s own. Be very gentle with yourself, when you notice your mind wandering, bring your awareness back to you breath and back to the mantra.
Practice with the mantra for two-thirds of your meditation time and then allow yourself to rest in the stillness, perhaps saying a healing prayer, affirmation or visualization.
And remember that it’s always easier to meditate in a group, so come to Meditation class if you are in Napa and available on Monday afternoons, or listen to my Guided Meditations or another lesson on-line.