Meditation exercises are effective means of reducing stress and teaching your body and mind to relax. Not only that, such exercises can also help build self-confidence and self-esteem. And most importantly, just like any other exercise, it can help you maintain your good health and keep you in great shape.
There are many types of meditation exercises that you can do. It would depend in their ability to make you feel relaxed and relieve you of stress. One that you can try out is the ‘Walking Meditation’. It is a form of meditation that monks do as a habit in monasteries. What they do is walk on a quiet area for a time while contemplating or meditating on something. It can be so easy that you can do it too.
In doing the Walking Meditation, you need to find yourself a set path. It can be a circular track, a sports field, or even a large garden good enough for walking on. Start by walking the path in order to get to know the route. Once you have got used to it, begin taking in breaths in a slow and deep breath and then let it out slowly.
As you do this, try to be conscious of your body. Feel or sense your entire body and be aware of its every parts. Try to walk slowly. As you are walking try to mentally be aware of how your body is functioning as it moves. Do not attempt to criticize every function or movement. Just try to be aware of how your body moves or works as it walks.
At first it might come off as silly for some people. But just like any other forms of meditation, it is not something that you should rush. You need to get comfortable with it. Sometimes distractions may come and they usually do. It is normal, especially on the initial days that a thought comes into your head like: "This is silly" or, "I have to do the dishes". When they do, just try to push them gently away, and continue on with your walking. You can do this for 10 or 15 minutes, take a bit of rest, and then get on with your normal routine in life.
Another simple meditation exercise that you can do is what is known as the ‘Step Inside a Painting’ technique. You can start by finding a painting or picture that you enjoy looking at. Place it a few feet away from you and at a comfortable visual distance. Find a comfortable place to sit on, preferably some area in your home where you will not be disturbed.
When you already have your painting and quite area ready, try to close your eyes. Be aware of how you breathe. Just be attentive to how your body functions as it is breathing in and breathing out. Try to keep everything as they are and try not to change anything, even the timing of your breathing. After a couple of minutes, you will notice your body beginning to slow down.
At this point, you can open your eyes and look at the chosen painting. Simply gaze at the picture. Be aware of the scenery, the lines, and the colours of the painting before you. Try to set the picture in your mind. Once you have it captured in your mind, close your eyes once again. Create the picture mentally and imagine yourself walking into the picture. Have yourself stand inside the picture in your mind. Take a look through the frame and to the place where you are sitting. Allow your mind to take you into the picture. Explore and be aware of your surroundings as you are inside the painting. It can be quite an adventure trying to learn some of these meditation exercises.
Trataka is a form of focus meditation, concentrating on a single object.
Trataka, or steady gazing is one of the six kriyas, the purifying methods of Hatha Yoga. It aims to clear the vision.
As a kriya, trataka requires the practitioner to maintain the gaze until the eyes begin to water. In the practice of concentrative visual meditation one can blink naturally, and as the eyes get tired, close them and imagine the object of contemplation in the inner vision, before your mind’s eye.
When focusing the eyes on an object, whether internal (like the tip of your nose) or external, with practice the mind becomes absorbed in the concentration on the object, and consequently when concentration is maintained with ease, one can explore the deeper levels of consciousness.
One begins to simply look and see the object for what it is, its essence, rather than its verbal and mental label. This leads to stillness and clarity of the mind that in turn allows the practitioner to experience Samadhi, the ultimate goal of yoga.
Steady Gaze Meditation is therefore a great concentrative preparatory technique of meditation.
Find out more...
For meditation to be most effective, you should practise for twenty or thirty minutes once or twice a day. When the meditation is completed, you should come out very slowly, taking the following steps:
Find out more...
For meditation to be effective one should not lie down for it. The reclining position is not suitable because it causes sleepiness and fatigue of the mind. The mind should be neutral for meditation, neither too dull, nor too active.
The most popular posture for meditation is the Lotus Posture (Padmasana). However, since it may be hard to master, any comfortable sitting position with the spine straight and in line with the neck and head can be used. The easiest suitable position is Easy Posture (Sukhasana). If it is not possible to sit cross-legged, Egyptian or Chair Posture can be used. Perfect Posture (Siddhasana) or
Hidden Posture (Guptasana) are also suitable.
Find out more...
Meditation is a form of mental hygiene that promotes tranquillity and prepares the mind for the attainment of Yoga’s supreme goal of intuitive enlightenment, the union with the Divine.
Meditation is a general term that refers to the concentrative methods of quietening and opening the mind to focus on the object of contemplation and become one with it. It prepares the mind for the attainment of the higher states of consciousness.
In Raja Yoga this is achieved through the practice of Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dyana (contemplation) and Samadhi (a blissfully super conscious state) in which you become one with the object of your meditation.
Some benefits of meditation:
Find out more
A mantra is a sound, letter, syllable, word, phrase or sentence, or a sound of a spiritual power. Mantras are meant to resonate within the body when repeated rhythmically in Japa – the meditative practice of mantra chanting. Mantras are incantory and spiritual. When they are repeated, either mentally (as in Transcendental Meditation), or aloud in Japa, they become a form of concentrative meditation, so characteristic of Yoga meditation. The vibrations produced by the sacred sounds, are considered to have the ability to connect the vibrational field of the practitioner with that of the universe and ultimately with the supreme consciousness, the divine, which is the highest goal of Yoga and meditation.
The mantras of Indian Yoga are usually Sanskrit sounds or phrases. Their meaning is spiritually potent, which in turn enhances the meditative experience. Even if the meaning is unclear, the very sounds themselves clear the mind of any verbal associations, promoting serenity and peace of mind.
Examples of mantras include:
OM (AUM), the most famous and powerful mantra;
SO HUM, meaning ‘He is I’, relating to the unity with the universal creative force;
OM NAMAH SIVAYA, meaning: the same energy that destroys the lower self (the ego), builds the higher self (the spirit)
GAYATRI MANTRA, among all the mantras, the Gayatri Mantra is considered to be the essence of all mantras as it contains all spiritual powers hidden within it. The Gayatri Mantra is meditation on spiritual light (God represented as the sun), specifically to enlighten the intellect. When the intellect is illuminated, it inspires the mind to find the path to knowledge, love and kindness. It is recommended to practise this mantra in the morning.
Find out more