What is Meditation?

What is Meditation?

MeditionOn the eightfold branches of Classical yoga, meditation, or dhyana, is the penultimate step to achieve samadhi, or self-realization. The practice of yoga ultimately allows the student to access the atman, or self, and in that manner come to know the brahman, or absolute reality. The word “yoga” literally means “union” in Sanskrit, and its practice joins the individual with the universal. By knowing yourself, you understand how the world relates to you, and meditation mediates this interaction.

The practice of meditation in yoga is progressive and follows the gradual learning and mastering of the asanas. Beginning yoga students learn how yama, the first branch of Classical yoga, influences their life by following the ethical practice of “do no harm.” The niyama, or study, of yoga, prepares the student to become more self-aware through the discipline itself. The asanas allow students to work with their physical selves to move inward to meditation, and regulated breathing is part of the practice. Beginning students may even want to sit in silence a few minutes daily to refine their meditative practice.Intermediate yoga students can improve upon their meditation practices by honing seven skills. These include:

  1. relaxing the body,
  2. maintaining proper posture,
  3. gentle
  4. noting images in the mind’s eye
  5. examining thoughts as they occur,
  6. encouraging helpful thoughts and
  7. ignoring outside distractions.

Along with these practical skills, intermediate students learn the five commitments to follow during meditation:

  1. Shraddha, the belief that you are on the right path in your life;
  2. Virya, putting energy into the practices;
  3. Smriti, continued practice with a quiet mind;
  4. Samadhi, deep concentration and
  5. Prana, realizing the universal life force.

Intermediate students also prepare themselves for deeper meditation through breath training, whether vigorous breathing practices or through alternating nostrils.

Once students have mastered the practice of meditation, they can focus on calming the conscious, or “noisy,” mind. Students, both intermediate and advanced, may even go on to achieve yoga nidra, or conscious deep sleep. This type of meditation goes from the waking state to that of dreams then finally the deep sleep of the subconscious.

Advanced yoga students use meditation to explore the mind and its four functions, which include:

  1. Chitta, or memories;
  2. Ahamkara, or ego;
  3. Manas, the thought process and
  4. Buddhi, inner wisdom.

Ultimately, the student understands that atman, or pure consciousness, is what every created thing has in common and is the individual’s connection to the immortal, unchanging and ultimately divine.

  • Thank you it makes sense that breathing is the place to start after all it’s the one thing nobdoy can live without!Most of the time my little girl is lovely and brings me nothing but joy so I don’t want to spoil things by blowing up when I’m frustrated.I also found a tai chi qigong dvd while clearing out the other day, so I’ll seize the opportunity to try it out I hear it’s also good for inner calm. It’s almost a form of focused meditation in itself, isn’t it? With your own body as the focus.I’ve been doing a buddhist breath meditation for two days and have already noticed a difference in my behaviour and mood. So to anyone reading this meditation really works! Even if you just close your eyes and follow your breathing for a few minutes!Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my post, Tai I think this is the first time ever anyone has put up a reply to one of my posts!Thanks again,Jax