What do you think of when you hear about Yoga meditation? Do you picture a Yoga teacher, Guru, mystic, monk, or priest, guiding a group through meditation? Are you a bit confused about the whole process of Yoga meditation? Let’s look at one of the many types of Yoga meditation and the benefits of daily practice.
There are many types of Yoga meditation, but all of them are similar to branches on a tree, leading to the same trunk. When you attend a Yoga class, you may be guided by your Yoga teacher, through meditation, in a variety of ways, but you will usually develop a favorite method of Yoga meditation.
Most likely, your favorite method will be the form of Yoga meditation, which brings you the most success. You cannot force yourself to meditate. Usually, a state of Yoga meditation will occur through focused observance and non-effort.
Breath awareness meditation is the first method, which I teach to beginning meditation students, and to students of Yoga. A beginner Yoga student can easily grasp the concepts of breath awareness and realize the deeper benefits of meditation.
Drawing the spine, into the straightest line possible, is the first goal, because poor spinal alignment is counter productive to meditation, and is not helpful for proper breathing. Many beginning Yoga students may have difficulty sitting straight, without a back rest. Some cultures have no difficulty sitting on the floor, while others sit in chairs, or on furniture, which brings them off the floor; and these Yoga students are used to back support.
If a Yoga student is sitting on the floor, in an uncomfortable position, he or she may not be able to concentrate on anything more than discomfort. Therefore, consider using chairs as a Yoga meditation prop. If you use a chair with a straight back, and lumbar support, this is ideal for seated Yoga meditation.
There is also another Yoga meditation posture where chairs become a handy Yoga prop. Place a chair at the head of your Yoga mat. Lay down on your Yoga mat, with your feet facing the chair. Then place your lower legs on the seat of the chair. You will want to adjust your body, so that the lower legs are parallel to the floor, the upper legs are perpendicular to the floor, and the back is flat.
Now that you have settled in, take some time to observe your breath, without trying to change, force, or lengthen your breathing cycle. Most Yoga students will try to control their breath, but the secret of Yogic breath awareness meditation is non-effort and observance.
Take the time to observe your breath, without effort or judgment; this will allow you to filter out conscious thoughts about your breath, noises, or your next task. Once you have put the distractions of life aside, you will notice that the cycle of your breath expands.
This is just the beginning of the many rewards you can reap from Yoga meditation. The Yoga meditation methods you learn from your local Yoga studio will reduce stress, calm your mind, and possibly lower your blood pressure. A life with less anxiety, and worry, is well worth the time it takes to practice Yoga meditation.
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. http://www.riyoga.com He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. To receive a Free e-Book: “Yoga in Practice,” and a Free Yoga Newsletter, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html