What is Meditation?
Meditation is also known as Dhyana. The word Dhyana has been taken from a Sanskrit word Dhi, which means to contemplate, reflect, think or be occupied in thought. The meaning of Meditation or Dhyana has been appropriately described by the greatest yoga thinker Maharishi Patanjali who is also the Father of Yoga.Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“An incessant flow of attention on the concentrated object is called Dhyana or Meditation.”- Maharishi Patanjali
Scientifically, meditation means is the unification of conscious union (Yoga) of an individual soul (Jeevatma) with the universal soul (Paramatman). In meditation, we try to make our mind free from all disturbing, distressing and distracting emotions, thoughts and desires. Meditation is an uninterrupted flow of mind towards a particular object.
How to do Vipassana Meditation?
For practicing meditation, certain meditation tips are utmost important to have the best benefits of Dhyana. Some yoga meditation tips are being mentioned here, which help to fulfill the better enlightenment of Yoga dhyana. Along with Dhyana Yoga poses; meditation tips for place, time, diet, seasons, surroundings, and environment are very very important and required in controlling the mind thereby facilitating inner transformation. These are the important preliminary aspects besides yoga poses that assist mind & body and prepare the practitioner for performing higher yogic practice .i.e. meditation.
Space for Meditation
The selection of place plays an important role for meditation. One should opt those places, which are free of disturbances or with minimum disturbances. In the ancient times, Dhyana is generally performed under the shade of banyan tree, temple, on the bank of river. Even this is possible now in villages. But in towns and cities, one can prefer a surrounding or a room which is calm and clean with minimum disturbances. A conducive environment is itself leads to the quest of spiritual enlightenment.
Meditation can be performed in any season or suitable time on the condition that the surrounding environment is almost free from disturbances. However, the Vasanta and Sharad are the two very conducive seasons for practicing Dhyana. In this two seasons, the temperature is favourable and there is a chances of getting maximum health benefits.
Suitable Time for Meditation
Time is one of the important factors while doing meditation. As per ancient rishis and yoga gurus, the Dhyana time has been divided into four important duration-Before sunrise (Brahma Muhurta), Noon, Sun sets and Mid-night. But if we visualize the yogic aesthetic beauty, the time before sunrise is the most appropriate time for practicing meditation. The Brahma Muhurta (before sunrise) is being used by great Yoga saints, gurus and rishis. This is the time, which offers maximum physio-biological advantage of mediation to the yoga practitioners (sadhaks).
Role of Diet in Meditation
Diet is one of the important domains for practicing Yoga or meditation. One should take food before two to three hours of performing yoga. Foods have been divided into three groups as per yogic ancient scriptures. These three categories of food are Satvik, Rajasik and Tamasik. In yoga, the Satvik or Mitahar is the most preferable food as it is good for the digestive system as well as suits the taste buds. The other two groups i.e. Rajasik and Tamasik, which comprises spicy, oily, sour, hot, tasteless, stale diets, are discouraged in Yoga. According to diet schedule, our stomach should fill with 50% of food, 25 % of water and rest 25% should be empty.
What are the Yoga Poses for Mediation?
Yoga asanas and Yoga poses are the most vital component of meditation. Certain yoga poses are needed to ensure focused and concentration during mediation. Yoga poses and asanas are helpful in opening up the energy channels and psychic equators. Yoga asanas has the power to bring steadiness, calmness, physical & mental health, mental fitness, mental equilibrium, etc. along with agility, energy, vigor, balance, endurance and vitality.
Now the question is raised what are the different yoga poses and yoga asanas, which are used for performing meditation. These different yoga poses for meditation are Siddhasana (the accomplished posture), Padmasana (the lotus posture), Muktasana (the liberated posture), Swastikasana (the auspicious posture), Sukhasana (the easy posture). In all these dhyana yoga poses, one thing should be clearly remembered that the performer should follow erect posture.
Siddhasana Yoga Pose for Meditation
Siddhasana is the best yoga pose for practicing meditation. Since, Siddhasana is extremely useful for prayer, worship, pranayama and Samadhi, as well as meditation. Therefore, it is known as the perfect yoga asana out of the 84 lakh yoga poses. Siddhasana is also known as the Accomplished Posture, which helps to calming the unsteady and undisciplined mind.
Padmasana for Dhyana
Padmasana is the Lotus yoga posture, which has its own relevance in the domain of meditation. This asana is used for meditation, prayer, worship and pranayama. As far as well-being is considered, Padmasana is more important than Siddhasana. Both Siddhasana and Padmasana are known as the foremost among the 84 lakh asanas.
Sukhasana for Meditation
Sukhasan is also called the Easy yoga pose as one can sit for a longer duration in this pose. Since performing Siddhasana or Padmasana is not so easy as considered. In this case, one may opt for Sukhasana for meditation, prayer and pranayama. This yoga for meditation is preferred for those who have less flexibility yoga.
Pranayama and Meditation Relation
How Pranayama helps in meditation, is the question before the mind of many people. The relationship between Pranayama and meditation is well-knitted that leads to healthy living and spirituality. Pranayama is the connecting link between Asana and Meditation. In fact, Pranayama ensures a better coordination between mind and body to facilitate meditation. Pranamaya helps in inner transformations and put greater thrust on synergy of body mind and soul. Yoga pranayama such as Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, Bhastrika Pranayama and Bhramari Pranayama are very useful before practicing meditation.
How Pranayama Helps in Meditation?
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama and Dhyana
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama purifies the Nadis (subtle energy channel). Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, which is also known as Anuloma-Viloma, is very beneficial in attaining self-realization and in removing the blockages. It calms the mind and stimulates calming centres of the brain thereby helpful in meditative process.
Bhastrika Pranayama for Meditation
The breathing mechanism of Bhastrika pranayama can be compared with the pumping of a pair of blacksmith’s bellows. In Bhastrika pranayama, both inhalation and exhalation is forceful. Bhastrika pranayama is helpful in invigorating brain and awakens the dormant centers of brain regions i.e. cerebrum, cerebellum and medulla oblongata.
Bhramari Pranayama and Dhyana
Bhramari pranayama is one of the coolest ways to calm down the brain centre. It is as effective as Siddhasana or Padmasana before practicing meditation. In Bhramari pranayam, after inhalation, exalation is performed as sound of black bees (humming sound). It helps to soothe the mind and a good preparatory stage for meditation.