Why I Love This Profound Meditation Technique (And You Should, Too!)

Why I Love This Profound Meditation Technique (And You Should, Too!)

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Few days back I wrote about the importance of meditating daily and quoted at least 10 scientific studies that had proven beyond a doubt that benefits of daily meditation are immense. Meditation impacts not just you, but whoever is around you too. Few of my friends who read the blog post had told me that it’s better to suggest a meditation technique which can be used right away easily.

With that said, the meditation technique I suggest here is simplistic and minimal. I must confess that I am not a master and this process is suggested to me by an experienced Yogi who said this could be practiced by anybody.

If you have any pre-conceived notions that meditation could be dangerous, then this is where you should leave all those misconceptions behind.

Aasana (Posture)

The first and one of the most important steps in any meditation technique is the aasana, the posture you sit in for meditation. Before I suggest the recommended aasanas for meditation I should explain why choosing a good aasana is important.

The mind and body are the parts of the same system. One affects the other.
What the modern science had found about this body-mind connection in recent years, the ancient yogis had been teaching it for millennia. What are the implications of this body-mind connection in meditation?

Any change in the body will bring changes in the mind too; as simple as slight movements in the tongue could trigger a chain of thoughts in the mind. In order for the mind to slow down and go into a thoughtless state in meditation, it is very important that the body stays still like a rock. As you progress in your practice you will notice how profound this body-mind link is.

Your ability to meditate for longer periods and go deeper depends on the posture you sit in, for the posture has the ability to influence the mind. There are many aasanas (postures) in Hatha Yoga, but here are three postures which are widely recommended across the subcontinent.

Padmasana (Lotus Posture)

The lotus posture is one of the most famous postures in Yoga. From the common sitting down on the floor (Indian Style, Cross-legged) position, one foot is placed on top of the opposite thigh with its sole facing upward and heel close to the abdomen. The other foot is then lifted up slowly and placed on the opposite thigh in a symmetrical way. The knees are in contact with the ground.

meditation technique

The Padmasana is adopted to allow the body to be held completely steady for long periods of time. That’s why this aasana is the most preferred one for meditation. But this is not really easy to master. If you are comfortable in this aasana then choose this one.

Siddhaasana

Siddhaasana, as the name suggests, its the aasana of the Siddhas, the accomplished yogis. This aasana can be practiced by anybody and even fat people with big thighs can do this with little effort. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika lauds this aasana: “When Siddhaasana is mastered, of what use are the various other postures?

siddhaasana

From a seated position, the spine is held erect, one heel is brought to the groin area (perineum), then the opposite ankle placed over the first leg with the toes and heel of the second foot resting in the fold made between the thigh and calf of the first leg beneath it. A small meditation cushion is very helpful.

Siddhaasana is not suitable for women.

Sukhasana (Easy sitting posture)

This aasana is an easy and comfortable cross-legged posture as the name suggests. Anybody can sit in this posture and start meditating. While you may choose to sit in this posture, I would suggest it as a last choice.

sukhasana

While Sukhasana is easy in the beginning, it can’t sustain longer meditation sessions. In Sukhasana, one can easily slump forward while meditating and so it is not suggested for prolonged sessions. Your ability to go deeper in meditation will be thwarted by the limitations of this aasana. If you have any physical limitations that make it difficult to sit in Padmasana or Siddhaasana then Sukhasana is the only choice.

That pose is the best which continues to be comfortable for the greatest length of time – Swami Sivananda
 

Pranayama

Now that you have chosen the right aasana, the next step in the meditation process is to calm the mind and make it go inward, for meditation. Well, the mind doesn’t take orders like that so we need to find a way for that to happen. And that secret is Pranayama.

Pranayama literally means controlling prana, the subtle life force and the vital forces of the body. It is done through the regulation of the breath. The ancient yogis had created different pranayamas for us like – Bhastrika, Kapalabhati, Anuloma Viloma etc. Below are some good demonstrations of these pranayamas. My favorite is Kapalabhati pranayama, now made famous across the world by yoga guru Baba Ramdev.



Practice these pranayamas at least for 5 minutes and if you have the capacity you can continue to do as long as you want to. After the pranayama session, you can observe that the racing mind slows down and you will start to realize that your breathing and other movements in the body are coming to your awareness. Whatever may be your experience, let it happen.

Meditation

Dharana is holding the mind on to some particular object. An unbroken flow of knowledge to that object is Dhyana – Maharishi Patanjali


The meditation technique I explain here is called Hamsa sadhana which is very highly revered in the Hindu scriptures. It is also called So-Hum meditation. ‘So’ is the natural sound for the in-breath and ‘Hum’ is the natural sound for the out-breath.

At the base of your spine is Mooladhara chakra, next is Swadhisthana, Manipura, Visuddhi, Ajna and Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled chakra above the fontanel. Sitting in your posture, imagine your spine as a bright tube from Mooladhara to Sahasrara. You don’t need to imagine the chakras in the spine.

Below illustration will help you understand the positions of chakras.

Chakras The Chakras

When you breathe in, imagine that the prana is traveling from the Mooladhara chakra to Sahasrara, accompanied by the ‘So’ sound in your awareness. When you breathe out imagine the prana is traveling from Sahasrara to Mooladhara, accompanied by ‘Hum’ sound in your awareness.

Below is an illustration on Hamsa meditation technique.

When meditating, you need to be skillful by having frequent, short sessions; it is more important that the session be of good quality than that it be long – 14th Dalai Lama Tenzing Gyatso
After few days of practice, you may notice the sensations in the spine and your face may become brighter.

Image Credits: surajamrita.com, aboutyoga.in
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