Mastering the Art of Meditation
Meditation (Yoga Nidra, Soham meditataion)
To master the art of meditation, one needs to realize that ‘thinking’ about meditating is the one thing that needs to be dropped. Once you understand what meditation is, things become very clear, otherwise you can go on groping in the dark. In simple words, meditation is absolutely clarity of vision. It is a state of lucidity, not a state of mind.
The mind is confusion… never clear. You see, the mind cannot be as thoughts create clouds around you and then clarity is lost. When thoughts disappear, when there are no more clouds around you, when you are in your simple being-ness, clarity happens. Then you can see far away; then you can see to the very end of existence; then your gaze becomes penetrating – to the very core of the being.
Meditation is a universal practice as it transcends all divides like religion, country and culture. It is a gift given to mankind to access the infinite sprit not limited by any identity. It is the only tool that can aid a Peron to return to innocence.
As we all know, modern life style has high exposure to anger, hate, fear and other negative emotions. These human emotions have a high tendency to duplicate and spread. For example, when a person gets cheated, he starts to suspect everyone around him. This also has an impact on people around him. These emotions form strong impressions and opinions on an individual and social level. The result of which is an insecure individual and an unstable society.
Meditation helps an individual overcome these emotions to facilitate a calm peaceful mind and a healthy and stress-free body .Upon daily practice an individual will blossom into an unshakable personality. With increase in the number of people who are calm, peaceful and healthy, a social transformation will begin, enabling a society that is more and more trusting.
The Soham Meditation Technique
At the time and in the place where you feel most comfortable, place your body in the position that you have found to be the most beneficial for meditation. Close your eyes. Close your ears by placing your thumbs in them, or by using earplugs. This will intensify the sound of your breath while diminishing the distractions that sight and sound bring.
Urge your mind to be silent, your emotions to be calm, and your body to stay relaxed. Focus on the sound of your breath coming in. Associate it with the word ‘So’. As your breath leaves, listen to the sound and associate it with the word ‘Ham’.
To pronounce So and Ham correctly, listen to how they sound. As with most pranayama (breathing techniques), Soham is done either in 3 cycles of 12 or 12 cycles of 12. One inhalation and one exhalation are one respiration. 12 respirations are one cycle.
For those just starting to use this technique, it is normal to silently say the word ‘So’ with each inhalation and the word ‘Ham’ with each exhale. When you are focused consistently, consciously, you will flow into simply listening to the sound of Soham.
Soham is by far the easiest meditation. It comes to all living creatures without any effort. And yet it is the deepest possible technique as it presents the opportunity to meditate on the great mystery of life and the life-giver itself.
Yoga Nidra Techniques For The Mind Relaxation
For many of us, relaxation means zoning out in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day. But this does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress. To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation response. You can do this by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, and yoga. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood.
Yoga Nidra is a form of Tantra. It is not sleeping. It is not concentration. It is opening the inner chambers of your mind.
In Yoga Nidra, you step down into the internal dimension of your consciousness. The sound of the instructor’s voice acts as a rope. Just as you take a rope and go in and out of the depths of a cave, so with the help of sound, you will venture in and out of the mind. The practice of Yoga Nidra will guide you to the hypnologic state, a state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleeping. During the practice you should remain awake and listen to the sound of the instructor’s voice. You will be asked to move your awareness to particular parts of the body, to bodily sensations, emotions or images.
Try not to concentrate too intensely as this may prevent you from relaxing. If the mind becomes overactive with thoughts, just come back to the sound of the voice.
“I am practicing Yoga Nidra, I am awake and relaxed.”
1) Lie flat on your back with your arms about 15 cm away from the body, palm facing upwards. Move your feet apart slightly and settle into a comfortable position and close your eyes.
2) The head and spine should be in straight line. Make sure the head does not fall to one side or other.
3) Relax the body and stop all physical movement. Become aware of your natural breathing and allow it to become rhythmic and relaxed.
4) Try not to move your body at all during the practice.
5) Breathe and count backwards from 37 backward to zero and mentally repeat “I’m breathing in 37, I’m breathing out 37, I’m breathing in 36, I’m breathing out 36 – till 0.
7) While lying in Yoga Nidra, become aware of the right hand and relax it. Slowly become aware of right wrist, elbow, and armpit, right side of waist, right buttock, right thigh, calf, and heel, sole of the foot and relax them one by one.
8) Repeat this process with the left side of the body and the part of the head and trunk.