Okay, as per the result of the poll, meditation seems to have gotten the most votes as what has been the most challenging part of this sadhana. So today we will focus on meditation. Exercise and eating healthier were tied so we will cover those topics in the coming days. There was a vote for “other” but what that other was, wasn’t specified. If you were the one who voted other please leave a comment or message me privately by sending me an email on the contact page, with what that other thing was that has been challenging you, and we’ll cover that as well.
Before we get started look at this image:
Think of meditation like this, like the big ol’ shiny gift that it is! A gift that is only for you! A gift that you get to unwrap and open and play with every single time you meditate. Use this image as a tool when you are about to prepare to meditate. Remind yourself that you are gifting yourself with a most precious present!
So now let’s talk about meditation! Yogi Bhajan, the master of Kundalini Yoga once said,
“Praying is talking to God, meditating is letting God talk to you.”
Meditation is a process that anyone can do, and this is important to remember, anyone can do it!!!! Meditating has many benefits, it cleanses the subconscious mind and assists the mind to come into alignment with the vision of the soul. There are hundreds of different types of meditations in the Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan tradition alone, meditations that use the breath, meditations done in silence, meditations that use mantra, group meditations, meditations for children, meditations with a focus on healing, to combat addictions and more. No matter what type of meditation you choose to practice, keep in mind that it is meant to be a personal and private experience, even if done in a group.
Let’s explore the last part of that sentence…...it is meant to be a personal and private experience, even if done in a group. When we meditate and when we practice yoga, at the core we are there for ourselves. That is one reason why we close our eyes when we practice Kundalini Yoga, to go further within, to deepen our own experience. So when you are meditating remember that this time, even if it is only for three minutes, is your time and your time alone. You are gifting yourself and you deserve it!
In a Kundalini Yoga class we do several practices like yoga postures, pranayam, mudras and chanting that create an ideal environment for meditation. But if you cannot attend a class here are a few tips to deepen your meditative experience.They are listed in the order of how you would meditate, from beginning to end.
1. The best time to meditate is between 4-7 am., 4-7 pm or before going to sleep, and always making sure to not have a full stomach.
2. Choose an environment where you are most likely not to be disturbed.
3. Wear comfortable clothing made of natural fibers and cover your head. It can be covered with a bandana, turban, even a hat.
4. Have something supportive to sit on like a cushion or sit in a chair.
5. Be sure to keep the spine straight so that the energy can move with ease.
6. Tune in by chanting the mantra Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo three times with your hands in Prayer Pose, palms flat against each other with the sides of your hands at your heart center, the thumbs pressing against the sternum. This mantra instantly relates to the divine teacher who resides within so that you can have your best learning experience, translated it means, “I bow to the subtle divine wisdom, the divine teacher within.”
7. Slow down your breath and release any tension you may find. Inhale vibrating the word Sat and exhale vibrating the word Nam a few times. The Sat Nam mantra means “Truth is my identity.” and awakens your soul and helps you find your destiny.
8. Meditate for a length of time that works for you. Some meditations have specific times but many can be done in as little as three minutes. With most meditations you can choose to gradually increase the length of time you meditate or keep an amount of time that works for you every time you meditate. Personally, I meditate for an amount of time based on what I can accomplish for that day. I don’t judge myself if I can’t do more than three minutes that day. I do what I can.
9. If the meditation you are practicing has no mantra and your mind begins to wander focus on your breath. Allow your inhalations and exhalations to be your mantra, your guide and focus. If there is a mantra associated with your meditation and your mind begins to wander, focus on your mantra. Get lost in the words, how the sounds roll off of your tongue.
10. Allow yourself to let go, remember once again that this is a gift that you are giving yourself, this is time that is just for you!!! Give permission to yourself to fully experience the meditation with no expectations. Just be.
11. At the end of your meditation bring your hands back into Prayer Pose and chant two long Sat Nam’s to end your meditation session.
Now sure this list may seem long, but remember that everything on it, including the meditation, can be done in under five minutes, three for the shortest amount of time to meditate, and give or take two minutes more to open and close the experience. The biggest issue I find facing many people who meditate is finding the time. We live in such a busy world that we have convinced ourselves that in the span of twenty-four hours, we can’t gift ourselves with even five minutes. This is something that each of you will have to deal with in your own way. I suggest you ask yourself each day, “Can I gift myself with five minutes?” You know deep down that the answer is yes, all you have to do is make is so! If you have children or a busy and loud house, escape to the bathroom to meditate! If you have to work all day and have a long commute, get up five minutes earlier than you are used to and meditate first thing in the morning. It is a great way to start your day! Or just as you climb into bed, before you lay down sit cross-legged in Easy Pose, or whatever posture your meditation calls for and meditate then. It’s a great way to end your day too!
Now let’s look at our meditation for this particular sadhana, the Meditation To Break Addictions:
Posture: Sit in Easy Pose (cross-legged) or in a chair with your spine straight.
Focus: The eyes are closed and focused at the Third Eye Point (the space between your eyebrows at the root of your nose). Now if you have trouble finding your Third Eye Point I suggest wetting your finger and touching the space between your brows. When you remove your finger you’ll feel a cold sensation as the air hits the wetness you’ve made. This will help to give you a more solid idea of where to focus. You don’t need to completely roll your eyes upward. You only need to bring your attention to this area and imagine that you are seeing from there. When you imagine that your sight comes from that area your eyes will naturally roll slightly upwards there. It’s more focus than anything else.
Breath: The breath will come automatically. So what this means is just breathe normally like you do everyday, preferably inhaling and exhaling through your nose.
Mantra: Mentally hear the mantra, “Sa Ta Na Ma.” Lock the back molars together and keep the lips closed. The molars will alternately tighten, then release; right then left, then right and continue, one syllable for each movement of the molars. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to mash your teeth together, just tighten them a bit, right on SA, left on TA, right on NA, left on MA. Just hear the mantra in your mind, a gentle voice saying, “Sa Ta Na Ma” over and over.
Mudra: Make fists of your hands. Extend the thumbs straight and place the thumbs on the temples. Find the niche where the thumbs fit just right. As the molars alternately tighten and release you should feel the movement under the thumbs at the temples. Keep a firm pressure applied at the temples. Keep the mouth closed. Mentally hear the mantra, “Sa Ta Na Ma,” coordinating the mantra with the subtle movement of the jaws. Allow your elbows and shoulders to relax as you do this. Allow this to be a comfortable posture.
Time: 3 to 5 minutes. With practice the time can be increased to 20 and ultimately 31 minutes. Look at that! This meditation can be done in three minutes and has allowances for you to increase your time if you want to.
End: Inhale deeply, then hold your breath for 20-30 seconds, exhale and relax. If twenty to thirty seconds is too long, just do what feels good for you remembering to honor and listen to your body.
I hope today’s post has helped. Above all know that you can do this! Meditation isn’t only for some yogi or yogini twisted like a pretzel living alone in a cave. Meditation is for everyone; men, women, children, young, old – everyone!
I believe in you and know that you are worth at least five minutes of time each day!