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.
“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 of utmost importance 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 a 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 in meditation. One should opt for those places, which are free of disturbances or with minimum disturbances. In ancient times, Dhyana is generally performed under the shade of a banyan tree, temple, on the bank of the 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 for 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 these two seasons, the temperature is favorable and there is a chance 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 sunrises (Brahma Muhurta), Noon, Sunset, and midnight. 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 the 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 the diet schedule, our stomach should fill with 50% of food, 25 % of water, and the rest 25% should be empty.
What is Yoga for mediation?
Yoga asanas and Yoga poses are the most vital component of meditation. Certain yoga poses are needed to ensure focus and concentration during mediation. Yoga poses and asanas are helpful in opening up the energy channels and psychic equators. Yoga asanas have 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 calm 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 Vs meditation
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 better coordination between mind and body to facilitate meditation. Pranamaya helps in inner transformations and puts greater thrust on the synergy of body mind and soul. Yoga pranayama such as Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, Bhastrika Pranayama, and Bhramari Pranayama is very useful before practicing meditation.
How does Pranayama help 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 centers of the brain thereby helpful in the 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 are forceful. Bhastrika pranayama is helpful in invigorating the 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 center. It is as effective as Siddhasana or Padmasana before practicing meditation. In Bhramari pranayam, after inhalation, exhalation is performed as the sound of black bees (humming sound). It helps to soothe the mind and a good preparatory stage for meditation.