Friday 28 February 2014

Meditation is the pudding of yoga
So, it was lovely to be back in my normal yoga class with the fire roaring inside and a horse mosying around the garden outside, in front of the window.  But at the end of the class I puzzled, as I always do.  When it's time for our final meditation, the vast majority of the class pack up and leave.  Why?  WHY?  I love the asanas, the vinyasas and so on but, well, meditation is the best bit of all.  Isn't it?  Leaving before meditation is like having a fabulous meal at a smart restaurant and getting up and walking out before pudding.   Or, if you'd rather have a sexual metaphor, it's like having tons of foreplay and then going, 'Nah, I won't bother with an orgasm, thanks.'
Each to their own, I suppose, but really the whole idea of physical yoga, yogasana, is to prepare oneself for meditation.
Yesterday Lucy and I were the only two who stayed and Miranda led us in a really lovely meditation.  I thought I'd run through it here in case you wanted to try it.  Truly, there is no one right way to meditate, you can do whatever floats your boat.  This is fancier than my usual practice but I like it.

Sit comfortably.  I tend to sit in half-lotus (purely because it's my most comfortable seated posture) but really just sit in any way you feel comfortable - cross-legged, or in a chair. But do try to keep your spine straight if you can.  If not, again it's fine - you can lie down if sitting hurts (but you might nod off!).  The main thing is to find a position which is easy to maintain.  You may well want to pop on a pair of socks and put a blanket or throw (snuggly of course) around you to keep warm.

Place your hands somewhere comfortable.  I usually have my hands on my knees, palms up, thumb and forefinger touching but yesterday we interlaced our hands in our laps, with our thumbs touching. Curl your tongue up so the tip touches the top of your mouth.

Become aware of all the sounds around you.  There's no need (and no point) in trying to block out the world around you - become acutely aware of it for a while.  If a sound intrudes when you're meditating, simply acknowledge it and then let it go.

Now do the three-part breath.  Breathe in to your belly and, two, three, four.  Without exhaling, take the breath further up into your chest and, two, three, four.  Now take the breath right up to the top of your head and, two, three four.  And then exhale, let it all go.  Of course, if you struggle to hold your breath so long, take it at your own pace.  Repeat the whole process once more.

Now become still.  Imagine you are sitting on the top of the highest mountain in the world.  You're calm, peaceful, warm and safe.  Bring your attention to the area just above and between your eyebrows, your third eye area.
The mountain drops away beneath you, becoming smaller and smaller as you find yourself floating up into space.  The Earth falls away beneath you and it too becomes smaller and smaller until it becomes a pinprick and then vanishes altogether.

You are alone in space, in perfect warmth and darkness.  You feel total peace.  You are a part of the universe and it is a part of you.  Feel it.  As you breathe in, you can say the word Relax in your mind.  As you breathe out, you can say the word Peace.

If you find your mind wandering  (and it will) don't be cross with it, just gently bring it back to the breath and return your focus to your third eye.
Stay like this for as long as you like.  It's pretty addictive.

Once you feel it's time to return, simply pause and become aware of the room around you, the world outside your mind.  Now perform the three part breath exercise three times to bring you firmly back into your body.  Rub your hands together vigorously to generate warmth and then place them over your eyes.  Open your eyes inside the palms of your hands and feel the warmth.

Bring your hands together in the prayer position in front of your heart chakra and give thanks to the universe. Namaste.

via Christina Renee


String said...

I agree with you on the pudding aspect, in fact my yoga is not complete without meditation at the end. By that time I am stretched and ready. I usually do pranayama before and then settle into the meditation. What I find interesting is that people leave??? I have never been to a yoga class where people distrupted the flow of energy at the end by leaving before the class had meditated or done some sort of deep relaxation. Your yoga teacher is very accomodating.

Exmoorjane said...

Yup, it's the only class I've ever been to where people leave. But then it's a private class and very laid-back. Most people there do it purely to keep stretched (lot of horse-riders). But can't help but feel they're missing out big time, huh?

Tom Von Deck said...

Hatha Yoga, which is the basis of everything learned in yoga studios, is designed to prepare the mind and body for meditation. That's the point. I suppose it's been sold to the public in the west as a health system, so it's not too surprising. When you're "selling" something, you have to do what works and say things that people actually respond to.

Ganesh Sinha said...

Good article, just researched and found a new similar website! that give a good information about yoga , pranayam, Mudras and asanas

Jane the Booklady said...

I use yoga as I'm an artist's model and I need to be strong enough to keep my body still for long periods of time. I will try this mediation next time I am in a long pose. Many thanks!