By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Some of the best methods for meditation can be found in the classic Yoga meditation types. There are many different Yogic lineages, which result in a variety of Yoga meditation techniques. These techniques vary, depending on the creator, tradition, and teacher. Meditation techniques, are often combined with pranayama and Yoga asanas, help bring the mind to states of tranquility. They will lower your stress and anxiety levels. Ultimately, they will connect you with the simmering divinity at the core of your own being.
Mindfulness (Awareness) Meditation
One of the classic Yoga meditation types is the practice of mindfulness meditation. This form of meditation rests on the art of becoming deeply present and aware of what is here, right now. As a Yoga student, you are constantly reminded to check in with yourself and see exactly how you are feeling, both physically and emotionally. In order to do this, you must focus on what is happening at this very moment, without judgment.
As you practice this form of meditation, you will become aware of physical sensations, pains, aches, and feelings that arise during the course of your Yoga practice. As you become intimately aware of what is happening for you in the moment, you are given the opportunity to practice ahimsa, or non-violence, towards yourself and others, as you move throughout your day.
Breath Awareness Meditation
Another classic Yoga meditation form is to simply watch your breath. All you have to do is sit comfortably on a chair or on the floor, close your eyes, and begin to watch your breath, as you inhale and exhale, and inhale and exhale, and inhale and exhale. By this point, your mind will most likely begin to wander. Slowly and gently, let go of the thoughts and focus again on your breath. You can do this meditation practice almost anywhere, unless you are driving. If you are driving, you can focus on your breath – just don’t close your eyes!
If you find that your mind wanders uncontrollably, you may want to take the aid of a mantra or sacred word. A mantra is a sacred word, or phrase, that you repeat either silently or aloud, during your meditation practice. You may have received an enlivened mantra from your Guru, or you may choose a mantra with which you personally resonate.
Mantra Meditation / Koan Meditation
Meditating on a divine concept, or a mantra, is another classic Yoga meditation technique. However, this form of meditation is difficult, and requires a teacher for optimum success. An uplifting spiritual concept is a wonderful meditative focal point. It will help to quiet and uplift your mind.
A Japanese koan (a paradoxical anecdote), on the other hand, is designed to take us far beyond our regular way of thinking, in order to stop the analyzing and judging part of the mind. The koan is a riddle without an answer, which helps the practitioner develop intuition, instead of judging.
All three of these Yoga meditation techniques will help to quiet, center, and train your mind, so that you are prepared for life’s many challenges, and to create a connection with your own spiritual beauty.
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