How many times a day do I hear this? From friends, acquaintances, Facebook, the message has reached the masses – learn to meditate, it’s good for you!
But what is meditation and how can you learn to do it?
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, meditation (dhyana) is the seventh of eight stages on the path to enlightenment. There is a great deal of preparation to be done before one can sit quietly and become a witness to experience the merging of the conscious mind with the subconscious or unconscious, be at peace and allow the meditation to evolve spontaneously, peacefully without waiting for something to happen.
Recognize that the eight stages (usually referred to as limbs each have stages within stages and limbs may develop simultaneously . . . it is not a linear development and there is an organic process of sorts from stage to stage or limb to limb but it will depend on your lifetimes of experience, your karmas and your intentions in this lifetime.
Are you physically able to sit (not necessarily on the floor)?
Take some time to warm up your body. Go for a walk then do some stretching, especially for the hips (variations of pigeon pose or thread the needle). If your back bothers you then take extra time to move the spine in all directions and don't neglect lateral stretching. Surrender to rag doll pose. (Soften your knees and move into a standing forward fold with your belly resting on your thighs. Move your head gently side to side, release your shoulders then find a comfortable position for your arms and hands). It will do wonders for learning to let go while simultaneously opening your hamstrings, lower back and connective tissue between the vertebra.
Are you aware of your breath?
Start by simply becoming aware of your breath throughout the day. Observe your ribcage. Are the back ribs expanding and contracting as much as the front? Are you aware of the side of the rib cage? Be aware of the breath in the nostrils. Be aware of how the diaphragm's movement affects the rise and fall of the abdomen. Just be aware. Nothing fancy. Observe and get to know your breath. It will become your friend in learning to still the mental chatter.
Do you have any fear or expectations around the idea of meditation?
Once you have found your seat and your breath, it is time to let go and move into a place of trust of the ancient teachings and practices. Take some deep breaths. Feel the rootedness of your lower body connected to the chair, the earth. With your exhale breath allow your physical body to let go, surrender into the arms of mother earth. Just finding this stillness may be enough of a practice to start with. Find your exhale breath. Release. You may with to count your exhale breaths on a mala.
Interested in this topic? Mondays will now be "Meditation Mondays" on this blog. Coming up next: "Embrace Your Senses"
Integrative Healing with Sadhana offers instruction and guidance as a full healing package or you can choose individual practices such as Yoga, Meditation, Reiki, Space Clearing or Intuitive Readings in Gibsons BC. Either way, you will be met exactly where you are at and together, we will adapt practices to fit your individual needs improving your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.