So now that we’ve gone over the different meditation positions in our previous articles here on Prokensho, it will probably be useful if we talk a bit about how to meditate. So, stay tuned till the very end of this article to know how to meditate with the help of yoga poses.
Related: Meditation tips for beginners
I. What Is the Purpose of Meditation?
Meditation is all the rage these days, with a lot of scientific research to back up its many benefits. It is not just used in therapy, but also in offices and at home to improve people’s overall quality of life.
Meditation is proven to lower stress, increase concentration and cognitive performance, reduce anxiety and depression, and elevate your mood. The good news is, it’s also easy to do, so if you have any doubt or hesitation about your ability to get into the practice, don’t worry. Just try it out for five minutes.
II. How to Meditate for Beginners?
Sit in one of the meditation positions described below, with your back straight but in a relaxed posture. You’ll probably find that sitting on a cushion helps to decrease strain on your back and allow you to sit still for longer periods.
Your eyes may be open or closed. It’s up to you. If you open your eyes, keep your gaze several feet in front of you and point downward, either resting on a point in space or on the floor. Either way, allow the eyes to relax, without any strain or strong focus.
Take a moment to feel the mass and weight of your body where you’re sitting. Feel the pressure of your body pressing onto the floor or cushion, the weight of your feet or knees on the floor. Allow yourself to get a real sense of your body’s weight where it comes into contact with the ground.
Then, take a couple of deep, heavy breaths—like sighing. This helps release any tension you’re holding in your body. With your attention, scan the different parts of your body, trying to notice any tension or pain, or alternately any pleasurable sensation. You don’t have to try to do anything with the tension, particularly, or try to change it. Just notice and acknowledge that it’s there.
Now direct your attention to your breathing, to the in-and-out movements of your breath. Try to feel the breath—the cold on your nostrils as you breathe in, the feeling of your lungs expanding, the diaphragm opening up. Feel the heat in your nose as you exhale, and the falling sensation of your chest as the breath leaves your body.
Don’t try to concentrate in a tense way, but just allow the mind to rest on its object. The mind should melt into the breath and identify with it, in a relaxed way.
In the beginning, it helps to count the breath. So with each breath, count, one, two, three, etc., all the way up to ten. Then, start over again from one. If your mind wanders or you get distracted by thoughts or emotions, don’t worry about it. Just gently return your mind to the breath, and gently resume counting again from one.
That’s it! Sit like that, with your attention resting on the breath, for five to ten minutes. If you find yourself checking the time, again and again, use an app on your phone to give you a chime when it’s time to finish up your session so that you can take your mind off the ticking of the clock.
III. What Does Meditation Mean?
Maintaining a consistent, daily meditation practice does wonders for your stress level and mood, giving you a happier, fuller experience of life. Just a short, five-minute meditation session in the morning sets the right mood for the rest of the day. Combined with the other yoga positions discussed in this article down below, meditation is a powerful way of increasing your overall wellbeing and quality of life.
IV. How to Meditate: Yoga Poses for Meditation
How to Meditate: Yoga Pose #1 Sukhasana / Comfortable Position
- The easiest meditation position by far for beginners is sukhasana or the “comfortable pose.” In this position, you cross your legs as you normally would when be sitting on the floor.
- The spine and neck should be straight but relaxed, without any strain. Because of the position of the legs, this can be a little hard to achieve in sukhasana, so it will be much easier to keep your back straight if your butt is seated on a cushion two or three inches off the ground.
- Otherwise, if you can manage it, your back will feel more comfortable, and you will be able to keep your spine straight for longer periods, if you can sit in some of the more advanced meditation postures, such as the lotus position.
- Your hands should rest in a mudra in which the forefinger rests on the inside of the thumb, forming a circle, and the other three fingers are extended but relaxed. The palms may face either up or down, resting on the knees, with the arms stretched forward and the elbows slightly bent.
- Tilt your head slightly forward. You may keep your eyes either open or closed. If you hold your eyes open, allow them to rest on a point about four to five feet in front of you in a space, your gaze relaxed and defocused.
Benefits: The main benefit of sukhasana is that it is easy to maintain for people whose bodies are unable to sit in the more difficult meditation positions. Otherwise, for longer periods of meditation, one of the other postures that allow the knees to touch the floor will yield much greater stability.
How to Meditate: Yoga Pose #2 Padmasana / Lotus Position
- The lotus position is the classic and most famous meditation pose. If you can manage it, great. If you can’t, don’t sweat it. With Padmasana, as with other yoga positions, it’s very important not to force your body to do anything it doesn’t want to do, or else you risk injuring yourself.
- So if you can’t get yourself into the right position, simply practice the more dynamic poses from the health article and your flexibility will increase. In time, Padmasana will be within reach for you. For now, if the lotus position is just too much, try less demanding positions such as sukhasana and half-lotus.
- This posture is famously hard to achieve for beginners and can cause pain on the legs, but if you are going to sit in meditation for long periods, it allows the highest level of stability and ease on the back. Moreover, the posture is especially good at allowing the body’s prana, or subtle energy, to flow in a way that lends itself to deep and powerful meditative awareness.
- To sit in the lotus position, sit cross-legged on the mat or cushion, with your left foot resting on the right thigh, and your right foot resting on the left thigh. The back should be held straight but relaxed, with minimal effort and without tension, as if the spine were a stack of coins.
- The knees should touch the ground. The shoulders should be held somewhat back, like a vulture’s wings, and the tongue rest at the roof of the mouth. The mudra or gesture of the hands may vary, but usually, the hand’s rest, palms up, on the knees, with the nail of the forefinger touching the inside of the thumb.
Benefits: The lotus position allows for stability during long periods of sitting meditation. The posture not only allows a steady, sitting position without movement, it also encourages the mind to naturally calm down and rest in meditative awareness. Physically, this pose strengthens posture and spinal alignment, as well as improves digestion by allowing blood to flow to the digestive tract.
Contraindications: Do not attempt this posture if you have weak or injured knees. Also avoid it if you have great difficulty achieving it, or if sitting in Padmasana causes physical pain.
Before you attempt Padmasana, it is good to practice other yoga positions that loosen the muscles and increase flexibility. If you suffer from sciatica, you should also avoid the lotus position.
Variations: In the variation called Ardha-Padmasana or half-lotus, one leg is drawn in and rests on the floor against the inside of the opposite thigh, while the other leg rests on top of the other thigh. This position is easier and requires less flexibility in the legs than the full lotus position.
How to Meditate: Yoga Pose #3 Siddhasana / Pose of the Masters
The right foot rests against the inside of the left thigh with the heel pressing against the perineum so that this area is sitting on top of the right heel.
Then the left leg is drawn in, with the left ankle resting on the right ankle. Tuck the toes of the left foot between the calf and thigh of the right leg. In the final position, the left feel should press into the pubic area above the genitals, so that the genitals are between the left and right heels.
There are two versions of this pose, one for women and one for men. The version for women is called Siddha yoni asana and is much the same as described above, but with left and right reversed, with the left heel pressing against the labia, and the right foot on top, its heel pressing against the clitoris.
The hands and the rest of the body are held as in sukhasana and lotus position, described above.
Benefits: Siddhasana may allow for similar stability to the lotus position for those who aren’t flexible enough to sit in full lotus. It benefits people who suffer from high blood pressure and prostate problems. It redirects the body’s subtle energy upwards, away from the genitals. That means it decreases the sexual libido. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not that’s a benefit!
1. How to meditate: Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation practice couldn’t be simpler: take a good seat, pay attention to the breath, and when your attention wanders, return.
Source: The Honest Guys – Meditations – Relaxation
2. How to meditate: Define the term “Meditate”?
to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) to reach a heightened level of spiritual awareness. (As per Merriam Webster)
3. How to meditate: Meditation Definition?
Meditation can be defined as a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. Meditation is also a consciousness-changing technique that has been shown to have a wide number of benefits on psychological well-being.
4. How to meditate: Different Ways to Meditate?
There are nine popular types of meditation practice:
- Mindfulness meditation.
- Spiritual meditation.
- Focused meditation.
- Movement meditation.
- Mantra meditation.
- Transcendental meditation.
- Progressive relaxation.
- Loving-kindness meditation.
5. Meditation Tips for Beginner?
- Go into your meditation practice without expectations.
- Choose a time to meditate, and stick to it.
- Create a designated space to meditate.
- Take a couple of moments to wind down and clear your mind.
- Start with a few deep breaths to calm the body.
Also Read: Breathing and The Twelve Aspects of the Breath
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