Vikasa Yoga Teacher Training
Meditation can seem like a daunting practice, but it can actually be quite simple when correct techniques are applied…here I will tell you the key elements that will lead you to your own successful meditative process.
With regular enough practice to build up a connection within, you might feel the benefit and natural desire to have a regular practice, even if it’s just a few minutes morning or evening and cultivating a meditative state of mind throughout your daily life.
Sitting Up Right
First and foremost is the upright spine. Extending the spine to feel tall physiologically creates a feeling of wakefulness. It is also the best action for reducing inbalances in the curvature of the spine and promotes balanced 3-dimensional actions of breath. Sitting upright is initiated by many muscles but focusing to the deepest abdominal muscle, the tranverse abdominis, will improve your posture and increase your endurance for staying tall.
To improve the awareness of how sitting tall should feel, try sitting with the full backside of your body against a wall. Your sacrum and upper back should be in contact with the wall. The head may or may not be touching. It depends on the shape of your spine and size of your body. Bring the head to a balanced position and create the feeling that the back of the neck elongates up to the crown of the head.
Do you ever nod your head in meditation practice with a feeling that you might have just fallen asleep?
Just making sure you keep your head level to begin with might help. Beyond this there are techniques used to keep the energy ‘in and up’ so that you don’t fall asleep or into dullness.
One of these techniques is the primary means of retaining energetic wakefulness and in Yoga it is called Bandha. The primary Bandha is called Mula Bandha, the root lock. At the bottom and center of the bowl of your pelvis is a circular muscle through which we “leak” energy while disengaged. Engaging this muscle, the (PC) muscle is the activating of Mula Bandha. You can think of this bandha like plugging your battery in and charging it. Go for a soft and constant flow of energy from mula bandha through your nerves, or energy channels.
The second bandha is the action of sitting tall or otherwise creating a wrap of stability around the trunk. It is activated by engaging the transverse abdominis and is called Uddiyana Bandha, literally upwards moving.
The primary function of a Bandha is to retain energy and create a refined direction for the movement of breath or energy.
Special Bandhas and Mudras
Jivha Bandha is connecting a circuit of energy through the body by touching your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This is also a great way to build up a reserve of vital energy. The tongue can be anywhere from the point you touch when you produce the sound of “la”, or, slid back further towards the opening of the nasal passages for a more pronounced effect. When you slide the tongue further back do you notice attention also moves more inwards behind your eyes?
Another is called Shambhavi Mudra. This is a physical practice that can stimulate mystical experience. It is commonly referred to as gazing at the third eye. Turn the physical eyes to turn up and inwards to the area behind the center of the forehead. It can happen that you imagine or “see” a blue or luminescent dot but if you try to actually see it, it disappears. This is the visual representation for the Atman, or individual soul, which is can also become Self aware with the mantra “Om namah Shivaya”
The Technique for Meditation
Now, anything we’ve already described could be the technique for meditation itself… but that’s actually rather advanced in a way, because it requires sustaining focus on maintaining one action or with a single point and most people are moving around in body and mind, a lot.
If you are new to meditation you will want a “moving focus”. The best for this is moving your awareness through your body with your breath or chanting a mantra. The whole idea is to compel your attention to move inwards. The more profound the meditation, the more it implicitly deals with subtler aspects of yourself, ultimately with consciousness itself and ephiphanic realizations about the nature of being.
I recommend using mantra for meditation because it offers three stages of moving your awareness more inwards while practicing “listening”, which is an analogy for what we want to “do” in meditation. When you stop chanting the mantra, but keep listening, the momentum you put into the process of bringing your attention more inwards will continue.
A very easy to learn mantra that is also approachable by most anyone is the Chakra Bija Mantra. One syllable is said for each energy center of the body, and the last sound, Om for two centers. You can check it out here…Chakra Bija Mantra
The 3 stages of chanting mantra practice are…
2. whisper or no sound while moving the mouth
3. only mentally
After chanting for some time then observe the quality and/or area of attention, and the energetic effects of the chanting.
There are a plentitude of ways to meditate. Ideally find a good teacher that can lead you through a meditation a few times to get you going on the journey to meet yourself 🙂
Please contact us if you have any questions and we hope we see you at Vikasa Yoga for meditation or teacher training! We have free meditation classes everyday! 😀
About our Author
George Anthony is a yoga teacher and modern mystic that travels the world training teachers, likes diving into self expanding experiences, and loves to share good energy with all people. He’s the director of Sajeeva Yoga School, musician, artist, novice acrobat, acroyogi, cook, handstand master, and philosopher. Join the vibes! – www.sajeevayoga.com