Turn off all telephones and anything else that could become a distraction.
Now, sit comfortably and quietly. Keep your back in position with your spine vertically aligned. Remember that posture is something that you need to make happen.
Commit to what you are doing right now.That means not allowing distraction to play a role now. Commit to not being interrupted by anything happening in the world around you. Most importantly, remove anything from the room or from your line of view that could be a potential distraction. Commit to performing meditation.
Select a word that fits into your natural belief system. For example, use “love” “peace” or others. If you are religious, select a work of a short phrase that signifies what you believe. “Hallelujah” or “Om” make good choices. Close your eyes once you’ve selected the right word. Closing your eyes helps you to enter into relaxation.
Now, we’ll go through the body and relax each of the muscles in it. Start with your toes. Consciously think to yourself that your toes should relax and feel them relax. Next, move to your feet, your legs and so on. You want to allow each of your muscles to relax. Make sure to include your neck, your jaw, your pelvis, back, your arms, fingers and hands, and shoulders. As this happens, feel the tension leave your body.
Continue to breathe through the process in deep,long breathes and repeat your mediation word over and over again. Breathe in, say your word, breathe out, and repeat. You don’t need to say the word out loud, but rather mentally pronounce it.
Use the passive attitude that we’ve talked about. If any thoughts come into your mind while you are sitting, relaxing, let them go out simply by telling yourself “oh well.” Most people will have trouble with this at first, so don’t worry about how well you are doing. Just let go of those words the best that you can. Keep repeating your meditation word, too.
Keep this going for ten minutes at least and strive for twenty. Don’t use any alarm to warn you, just open your eyes for a moment to check.
Sit and relax for several minutes once you’ve come out of your meditation. Keep your eyes closed for a couple of minutes before opening them. Don’t stand up just yet. Allow yourself time to come back into reality before doing so.
You should try to do this simple meditation at least once a day but two or more times per day really can have a positive effect on your daily stresses. Many people find that this simple meditation works well before they get their day started, when they are fully rested and before they have eaten breakfast.
When you have practiced this type of mediation for several days or even longer, you should learn the benefits of meditation and what it can offer. If you don’t feel any different, you may not be following each step appropriately. You need to focus on relaxation not on whether or not meditation is going to heal all of you.
As you begin meditation, you should realize that the process can bring up feelings, thoughts and even traumatic events that happened in your past. If you have repressed memories or otherwise are psychologically affected by meditation, don’t give up on it. You should start with guided audio meditation or with a skilled instructor to work through these problems so that meditation can be successful for you.
Meditation may not be for you if you are a person that is paranoid, have problems with delusions or are facing high levels of anxiety to the point of not being able to function properly. These individuals often find that meditation can be helpful, but only when under guidance from their doctors. Those that have psychotic episodes of any sort should work with their meditation specialist first and foremost before starting their own meditation
Those that are interested in meditation but are worried about what could happen during meditation should insure that they have a skilled meditation specialist or use Guided meditation here to help them through the first few episodes.
Meditation is an art form that has come down from all types of cultures and from ancient civilizations. Yet, each form comes from its own place, making it a bit unique from others.
One thing that you will notice about meditation is its ability to change with the culture and therefore you’ll find various names for some of the techniques and styles that you find. In addition, you will find countless religious or mystical applications to meditation as well. As you move through meditation, realize that each aspect is different in where it is from and how it is used, yet all strive to offer the same end result to you.
For example, in ancient Christian training of the spirit, meditation is the process of thinking with a good amount of concentration on a topic. Yet, in Eastern meditation, meditation doesn’t have any such meaning. Instead, you are doing the opposite of thinking about a topic.
The goal of meditation in this form is to become detached; to pull away from your thoughts and then allow the silence to open up to you. When this happens, your mind becomes quite.
In Eastern meditation arts, this is called the relaxation response that your body presents. Yet, in Christian mystical practices, it is called contemplation, which we have already touched on.
Meditation allows you to focus, allowing you to accomplish your tasks in a better method as well as faster.
Meditation allows you to improve your level of stress. By reducing stress, you will make better decisions and fully handle problems effectively.
Meditation allows you to communicate more effectively, through more defined words that ultimately lead you to a better realm.
Meditation allows you to improve your health including helps to improve heart conditions, cancer risks, high blood pressure and plenty of other conditions. By lowering stress levels on the body, you can heal faster and more effectively from any of these experiences.
Meditation allows you to be a better friend and family member. Through the dedication of those around you, you all can become enlightened and therefore on a higher realm of being.
Meditation promotes health of the mind, too. By allowing your mind to enter this improved state, you can create for yourself an amazing of being, which allows you to think clearer. It helps to keep your mind sharp.
Meditation allows you to become the real you, the one that you want to be, rather than the person that is held captive by the world around them. If you meditate, you can learn quite a bit about yourself as well as the world around you!
There are many more benefits to meditation. For each person, this experience is going to be quite unique. If you wish to find out what it can offer you, you must learn to meditate. There is nothing negative that can come of meditation and what’s more there is quite a bit of good that can come out from it.
Before you can begin practicing meditation you do need to understand what it is and why you need to use this method of relaxation. The brain is the primary tool that you’ll use to define this process. But, you may not realize that when the brain is in a “normal” state that it actually is very abnormal in what it is doing.
To help you to understand meditation, we must first break down the different stages in which the brain functions so that you can see the state of mind that you are functioning in most often.
To help you better start meditation, we recommend using a guided meditation app to help you stay accountable and learn faster.
There are three unique stages in the brain that depicts how it is functioning at any one time. When you consider meditation, only going through these three stages can actually get to you achieve the serenity that you are after with meditation.
Stage One: The Normal Mind
In the “normal” state of mind, your mind is working in various directions. It is functioning as it usually does which means it is bouncing from one idea and thought to the next. In fact, this is quite abnormal activity for the brain because it needs to focus on a lesser amount of ideas if it is to be successful in resolving problems.
Stimuli from all over the place are coming in at the brain. When something new stimulates your mind, it moves from its previous thought to the new one. Although you feel like you are completely in control of yourself during this type of brain function, you likely aren’t.
You have very little control over the way that you behave and think during this type of situation. Not only do your thoughts move from one thing to the next thing within few milliseconds , but your physical being is doing the same thing too. Your emotions as well.
An example of this type of brain activity can be as simple as seeing a child playing. If you see that child while you are driving, your mind goes from control of the vehicle to the child. They look like they are having the time of their lives. Then, your mind moves to thoughts from your own childhood. You feel good and smile at the happy memories.
Of course, it doesn’t always play out so innocently. You can go through these same thought and emotional processes with negativeimages too. Consider if that you have a difficult task at hand. Now, you are wondering about if you can even get the task done, what if you fail? And, your emotions follow you too with thoughts that are fearful and tense.
In a negative situation, you are likely to become distracted by the thoughts playing through your mind which then directly impacts the way that you drive your vehicle. Perhaps you run a red light or, you narrowly miss a car accident.
As you can see, in your normal state of mind, your emotions as well as your physical being are at stake. Each plays their own role in the outcome of these events.
Often, stresses build up during this process and since it is our “normal” state of mind, they pile on over time. You can find yourself unable to concentrate on anything and overtime you can have trouble balancing all that you have to do in your everyday life.
We’ve grown to believe that the average human being only uses %10 of their brain which is not true.
On contrary, our powerful brain is divided into 2 parts: conscious mind, which we use %10 of the time and then the subconscious mind, which we use %90 of the time.
For the most part, your “normal” way of thinking may be one of the worst things that you can do for yourself because your subconscious mind runs on autopilot.
Focus on your consciously thoughts and apply to them manually. You will make much better decision with your time.
Singer-songwriter Claire Mortifee‘s entrance album, Medicines, offers viewpoint and impulse for anticipating a energy that lies within any of us. Which is because we weren’t astounded to learn Mortifee also happens to be a approved life manager and reiki master. We got to discuss with her about her impulse and where she hopes her devout tour will take her from here. You can listen to a yoga playlist as good as all of Medicines on Spotify.
Yoga Journal: We know you’ve constructed song in a past. Was there anything in particular that desirous this album? Claire Mortifee: I went to Cambodia a few years ago and connected with a lady from there who common with me her disappointment with all of these adore songs, when she was vital in a multitude where she couldn’t find a dude who would provide her like a genuine equal. we was like, “[T]here’s got to be pleasing songs for we to listen to that we can ring with!” So that was a large partial of my impulse for formulating a organisation of songs that weren’t about love. we wanted to emanate a physique of work that would not usually enthuse [the woman] though would also enthuse me and anyone who a song landed with to commend their middle power. So it’s kind of for her. It’s kind of for me. It’s for everyone.
YJ: That’s awesome. Do we feel like song and yoga, in that way, can daub into that middle power? CM: Yeah, of course. Yoga is medicine for a essence and a physique and a mind and a spirit…and so is music! So is request and mantra! I’m so beholden that we have these collection in a west. Living on colonized lands, in colonized society, we’re commencement to find collection to reconnect with a Great Spirit in a approach that inland people have collection for. It’s a tour behind to self. It’s a tour behind to spirit. Yoga and song are unequivocally good medicines for that.
YJ: Is that what desirous a title, too? CM: Yeah! The pretension Medicines just came to me. we was like, “That’s what this is for me!” It was fitting.
YJ: Do we have any yogic rituals we use before we perform or record anything? CM: I’m perplexing to incorporate protocol into my day-to-day. I’ve been listening to a lot of affirmationslately. Trying to keep adult a imagining practice. we used to do 20 mins a day. There was a time when we did 30 minutes, dual times a day. Now I’m perplexing to get behind to doing 15 minutes, dual times per day, and it’s flattering non-daunting. Just cocktail on a 15-minute timer. That’s something that unequivocally supports me and [reminds] me who we am. Feeling good enough, remembering that my suggestion is guided by a Great Spirit…therefore we can’t go wrong.
YJ: Wow, that’s incredible. Your mom’s a yoga instructor. Was yoga always a large partial of your life? CM: Not always. But a initial deity that guided me out of a unequivocally dim time in my life was a Hindu deity: it was Kali. And from there, building a attribute with opposite Hindu deities as they live in me was and is a many lenient things that we have explored. I’m so beholden for a yogi philosophy and for these archetypes that we was means to rise clever relations as they were in me.
YJ: Do we see another manuscript on a horizon? CM: Yeah, definitely! I’ve been essay lots of music. [For] a subsequent project, I’m unequivocally vehement to be exploring opposite tools of myself and navigating my possess temperament and spirituality. As we overwhelmed on, as a lady whose ancestors colonized this land and colonized Africa… it’s really engaging being lifted in white colonial enlightenment and perplexing to find a clarity of self and a clarity of devout self in a enlightenment that doesn’t value spirituality and a self as most as many indigenous cultures do. Again, I’m so beholden for Indian law and yogic law for assisting me to find my possess divinity and countenance my possess divinity. How can we do this in a approach that acknowledges colonialism as well? So, a lot of my song has been about just recognizing that this is a huge, complicated, and dim story behind how I’ve grown adult as a white woman, still in a really extremist culture. What I’ve been essay about is only acknowledging that, bringing light to that. Being beholden to a land and a people, animals, spirits and wanting to bond my suggestion in a common way. Just wanting to learn how we can decolonize my possess mind and unlearn racist beliefs that we’ve been unconciously indoctrinated with, vital over here in North America. That’s what I’ve been exploring. There’s definitely going to be calm on a subsequent plan about that. Again, in the eyes of a spirit, we are all one. That is a biggest truth.
Forget everything you thought you knew about yoga history. Writer Matthew Remski reviews the new book Roots of Yoga and (spoiler alert) shares 10 of its biggest surprises.
Imagine you’re a guppy in a fishbowl. Just swimming around among the fake seaweed and little plastic castle. If you’re precocious you’ll have a vague inkling that there’s something small or phony about your little world. And lately, the waves have picked up. Your water is sloshing and swirling. What’s going on?
This is what being an English-speaking yoga nerd has been like over the past decade. The waves come from yoga researchers like Norman Sjoman, Suzanne Newcombe, Elizabeth de Michelis, David Gordon White and others, carrying your fishbowl along the winding path of yoga history and anthropology. You might have heard things about yoga’s relationship to Indian wrestling, the invention of the modern guru, and how some yogis weren’t exactly known for non-violence. In 2010 they handed it off to Mark Singleton, whose publication of Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practicecaused a minor maelstrom, sucking you down into the possibility that everything you’d come to believe about yoga through its modern advertising might be a myth. While you were down there you also heard something about cultural appropriation, but you were gasping for breath and couldn’t quite make it out.
Now, 2017 will be known as the year when Oxford Sanskritist Sir Jim Mallinson grabbed hold as well. With the publication of Roots of Yoga(Penguin, 2017), he and Dr. Singleton have dumped your fishbowl into the ocean, releasing you to the wilds. But not without navigation tools. With new critical translations of over 100 little-known yoga texts dating from 1000 BCE to the 19th century, threaded together with clear and steady-as-she-goes commentary, these authors have charted the deep.
Their endlessly diverse sources—translated from Sanskrit (of course) but also Tibetan, Arabic, Persian, Bengali, Tamil, Pali, Kashmiri, and early forms of Marathi and Hindi—explode the available resources for everyday practitioners. They drown the notions that yoga is any single thing that anyone has ever agreed upon or that it brings everyone to the same place. Now, there’s nothing to do but swim. As you do, here are 10 deep-sea discoveries (and a few monsters) you’ll bump into:
1. Shock horror! The Yoga Sutras are not universally accepted…
…or even respected amongst yoga adepts. Writing in his 18th century Haṃsavilāsa, Haṃsamiṭṭhu tells his wife and fellow traveller Haṃsi: “Dear lady, Patañjali’s teaching is nonsense, because there is nothing agreeable in anything achieved by force.”
2. Historically, if women practiced yoga, they were mostly invisible or sexually objectified.
Domestic tête-à-têtes aside, “texts on yoga are written from the point of view of male practitioners,” confirm the authors. “There are no pre-modern depictions of women practising yogic postures…. Sanskrit and vernacular poems of…north Indian ascetic traditions are highly misogynistic…. Women are never explicitly prohibited from practising yoga, although [medieval] haṭha texts commonly insist that male yogis should avoid the company of women.” Except, of course, when they need to procure menstrual fluid to gain superpowers. (You’ll have to read the book for that one.) The sexism at play here is related to the fear that women are the primary thieves of “bindu,” or semen, which many medieval yogis sought to sublimate into ecstatic awareness. Clearly, all of this stuff needs to be revisited and revised by a global culture that now consists of 80% women.
3. The cultural appropriation and religious identity debates in yoga are even muddier than we knew.
Mallinson and Singleton conclusively show that Buddhists (Indian and Tibetan), Jains, and even atheists all lay claim to yoga techniques. And who knew? Muslims also practiced a lot of yoga, and wrote amazing books about it.
4. Medieval yogis knew that asana—and pranayama—could be dangerous.
“In the Gorakṣaśataka, for example, we read, ‘Through practising yoga I have become sick’.” Then there were many yogis who thought postures and breathwork were whack. “There is no point in spending a long time cultivating the breaths [or] practising hundreds of breath-retentions,” says the 12th century Amanaska treatise, “which cause disease and are difficult, [or] lots of painful and hard to master seals. When [the no-mind state] has arisen, the mighty breath spontaneously and immediately disappears.”
5. “Vinyāsa” didn’t always mean a “sequence of poses.”
Mallinson and Singleton write: “The Sanskrit word vinyāsa used…by Krishnamacharya and his students to denote a stage in one of these linked sequences is not found with this meaning in pre-modern texts on yoga…. Vinyāsa and related words are more common in tantric texts, where they usually refer to the installation of mantras on the body…. The modern usage of vinyāsa is thus a reassignment of the meaning of a common Sanskrit word….” This doesn’t make vinyāsa any less effective, of course, unless its effects come partly from faith.
Medieval yogis were obsessed with thinness. The preparatory cleansing techniques focused exclusively on slimming down are described in many of the haṭha texts. Perhaps today’s yoga feminism, which is slowly steering the culture toward body positivity, is also healing an ancient fatphobia.
7. The chakras are as much a spiritual dream as a felt reality.
Different yoga sects speak of four, five, six, or twelve chakras. So who’s right? One says that if you can’t locate the chakras within you, that’s okay—doing a fire ceremony is just as good. The chakras “are not a result of the yogi’s empirical observation,” write the authors, “but rather parts of a visualized installation on the body of tradition-specific metaphysics and ritual schemata.” In other words: they are ways of “dressing” the body in spiritual imagery proprietary to different practice groups. This holds a crucial message for practitioners who know that language continues to influence bodily experience. “The goals of a particular system,” write our authors, “determine the way the body is imagined and used within its yoga practices. The yogic body was—and continues to be in traditional practitioner circles—one that is constructed or ‘written’ on and in the body of the practitioner by the tradition itself.”
But is it really suicide? In many communities, samādhi was viewed as a blissful meditation from which the yogi, intentionally and happily, never emerged. But instead of leaving the world, the 11th century Amṛtasiddhi suggests it’s more about merging the body with the stillness of the world, while solving the unknowability of the time of death. “When the sun, in line with Meru, stops moving on the left, know that to be the equinox, an auspicious time in the body. By recognizing the equinox in their own bodies, yogis, full of the vigour [produced by] their practice, easily abandon their bodies in yogic suicide at the correct time.”
9. A dominant theme of medieval pranayama was complete self-sufficiency.
Muslim yogis give the analogy of the embryo, breathing its own fluids, within a womb. This lines up with 19th century reports of yogis burying themselves in underground caverns for months on end, stopping their breath in suspended animation. This might sound appealing for the modern practitioner desperate to hide from the 24-hour news cycle.
10. If you read this book, you are unique in yoga history.
No one has had such broad access to the diversity of traditions as we have now. We used to be given disciplines. Now we are given choices.
So this is just a few drops in a whole lot of ocean. It’s a vast and perhaps scary territory. Guppies, after all, can easily get lost, or swallowed by bigger fish. But then—so was old Matsyendranath, the orphan boy who, legend says, founded haṭha yoga. He was abandoned at the shore by his parents and gobbled up whole by a whale, which then took a deep dive. By luck or karma, this gave him the chance to listen in on Siva and Parvati as they sat on the ocean floor, whispering about the mysteries of yoga. He listened for 12 years, which is about how long it will take this reviewer to fully absorb Roots of Yoga. And, perhaps—for it to become the top book on every yoga teacher training reading list in the English-speaking world.