Four out of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga are directly related to meditation and the remaining four are supporting elements.
This isn’t by coincidence!
When our minds are constantly cluttered with monkey mind jargon it’s nearly impossible to create focused forward momentum. Instead we get stuck in the “doing” or “having things a certain way”, and “in a certain order” mentality. We can spin our wheels re-living the should’ves, would’ves, and could’ves that leave us feeling resentful, anxious or crazy! My advice…
Forget it! YES, you heard me, just forget it!
Tune it all out so you can tune in and get more ah-ha’s in your life, follow your passion and make your dreams come true.
Meditation is at the top of the list for clearing the “Monkey Mind”!
Practicing meditation…easy as 1, 2, 3!
- When practicing meditiation it is helpful to have a favorite designated space, one that inspires you, is comfortable, neat and clean (and definitely free of clutter).
- Eyes closed or open depends on you. With my eyes closed it is easier for me to drop outside distractions. You may find that softly focusing your eyes on a specific object helps do the same.
- Set a timer for 1 min, 5 min, 10 min etc so that you are not constantly looking at your watch to see how long you’ve been meditating. My suggestion is to start with 5 min if this is your first time and work your way up to 20 min a day.
Let’s take a closer look at Patanjali’s four different types of meditation and the how to’s of each.
Pratyahara – is withdrawal of the senses. Practicing yoga postures, meditating, and breathing exercises are all modalities that foster Pratyahara: that is, to directing your attention inward. You are in a state of Pratyahara when you no longer feel the itch on your big toe or hear the mosquito buzzing by your ear or smell the popcorn popping in the microwave. One of my favorite ways to practice Pratyahara is through yoga asana.
Dharana – involves teaching the mind to focus or concentrate via binding thought in one place. An example would be fixing your mind on a particular object such as a candle flame, an image, or a mantra. The goal is to still the mind – gently pushing away superfluous thought.
Dhyana – Now we are getting into some deep stuff; namely, uninterrupted meditation without an object. The goal is not unconsciousness or nothingness. It is to heighten our awareness and recognize that we are one with our creator. The calming effect of this type of meditation spills over into all aspects of your life to give you peace during a hectic day at work or at home.
Samadhi – The ultimate blissinator. This meditation is a state of being, it is pure contemplation, super-consciousness, in which you can no longer distinguish between the universe (God consciousness) and you. It is possible to see glimpses of this type of bliss or enlightenment but usually life has a way of pulling us back to earth. It’s great while it lasts!
How do you meditate? I would love to hear from you!