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how to meditate

Lifestyle Yoga

The OM Meditation Technique – Day 2

November 30, 2019

I’m dog-tired as I write this. Here at SVYASA they are very particular about routine. The first session of the day is at 5.30 am.

A chilly wind was blowing when I stepped out to make my way to the Sampurna Hall at 5.15 am. With uncanny foresight, I’ve brought along the warmest stole I have, along with warm sweaters. I reached the hall while it was still dark outside. The hall was dimly illuminated, making me want to go back to sleep. Surprisingly, not many people were attending the session and I found a space to sit quite easily.

My first session is the OM Meditation session. This is a technique developed by SVYASA after extensive research. It utilizes a combination of breathing practices and visualization to bring about a state of physical and mental relaxation in the participants.

This was my first time practicing this, but I was familiar with the components of the technique. The OM Meditation technique consists of 8 steps to be done in a specific order. These are:

1. Prayer
2. Kapalabhati pranayama/kriya. The teacher was particular about mentioning that those with high blood pressure, migraines and severe back pain should not practice this pranayama.
3. Anulom vilom pranayama. This is also called the Nadi Shuddhi pranayama. The teacher explained that this was one of the few techniques whereby you can purify all the nadis in your body. This technique aims to bring about a balance between the ida and the pingala nadis – and when that balance is attained then your are in a state of perfect balance. In fact, that is when the sushumna nadi gets activated and you gain enlightenment.
4. Brahmari. Through this pranayama we were trying to stimulate our heads physically with just the vibrations generated by the N-kara. Once the mind is stimulated, it is easy to relax it in preparation for pranayama.
5. Sadanta. This pranayama serves to cool down the body. This shouldn’t be practiced by anyone who has a cold as this willl aggravate a cold.
6. OM gazing. There is a huge OM in the front of the room which is illuminated by a green light. We were asked to gaze at the OM and note the details.
7. Dharana. After having focused and observed the OM for a length of time, we were asked to slowly close the eyes and visualize the OM in our mind’s eye. Then we were asked to imagine the OM within us, at the centre of the forehead. This is the dharana aspect of the meditaion.
8. Closing prayer. This happens after a relaxing savasana.

Meditation is something that improves with regular practice. I’ve come across several types of meditation techniques over the years and used to find guided meditations very helpeful. However, just like with asana practice, I realize that a meditation practice is also something that needs to be done independently as well. Depending on a particular teacher/show/recording leads to attachment and the practices ceases to be useful. The one meditation technique that has worked for me is free writing meditation, however, there don’t seem to be many takers for that here!

Do you meditate?  Do you have any favorite meditation techniques?

This sits at the front of the classroom, helping those of us who aren’t dozing early in the morning.



Getting More for Less – The Secret

July 11, 2014

I’ve found it. The secret to getting more out of your 24 hours. And it takes as little as 5 minutes to as much as 15 minutes. Promise.

IMG_20140711_091005For a while now I’ve been crazy busy. I’ve started teaching more, more students are coming in, they want different things, new things and, most of all, they want results. I’ve been spending a lot of time planning the classes, travelling between classes, my own practice takes a while and then there’s the blog and FB page which are an invaluable source of inspiration and knowledge for me. So I’m constantly on the move, physically, mentally and emotionally. I had started to feel like I was all over the place. The more I tried to get organized, the more disorganized and panicked I’d get. But things got better.

1. A couple of weeks ago I decided I would take 5 minutes in the morning and in the night to think about where I want my life to go. And in those 5 minutes I would also think about the actions I will take today that help me in heading towards that general direction. I started to visualize what I wanted out of my life and started thinking about how my day would contribute to where I want to go. At the end of the day started thinking about everything I did which contributed to making the vision more real to me.

I didn’t realize it then, but visualization is a powerful tool to keep you on track in life. Also, a total of only 10 minutes from my 24 hours was all I needed to remind me of what I believe my purpose is and also, what I want my purpose to be. It only takes 10 flying poseminutes of thinking to gain more clarity about how you’re spending your time. I believe it’s helped me weed out all those little things that sap a lot of my precious energy (deciding what to make for lunch or what to wear, for instance). Maybe I started investing this energy into leading better classes and connecting with people more.

2. Once I realized that there has been a positive shift, I decided to add affirmations to my 5 minute routine. I read about affirmations in a book one of my students lent to me. She said the stuff I say about beliefs and actions reminded her of the book and she thought I’d enjoy reading it. I gave myself some time to think about what I really wanted out of life on priority (this was easy since I was spending 10 minutes every day thinking about this), and made a list. I then decided that I would spend an additional 5 minutes meditating upon the list. Over time I realized that thinking about the list made me more optimistic and energetic. Perhaps it’s seeing the things you want in a list in front of you. Sometimes the list makes me smile and laugh, sometimes it give me courage and optimism. But, at the end of my 5 minutes of contemplation, I feel ready to take on my day.

3. Visualizing and affirmations were working for me. And I had made my list in a pretty notebook that was, once upon a time, my IMG_20140710_212258diary. I used to be an avid diarist. I have a carton full of my diaries in Delhi. They start from the 4th grade. I decided that after my 10 minutes of meditation every night, I would write down 3 things that made me happy/grateful. These can be the smallest things (one of my entries is “I’m grateful there was no traffic jam on Infantry Road today and I was able to get to my class on time.” Once I started doing this, I noticed I slept better! I guess thinking about the good things in life ends your day on a good note.

So, if you really want to shift something in your life for the better, give these three things a shot. You’ll get a lot more out of your day for a lot less!