To learn to control your thinking and emotions at the source, to subdue restlessness, calm the nerves and literally will yourself to bring out what is best in you, to shut yourself off from worry and all negative attitudes, these are the realistic goals of yoga and meditation which you may set up for yourself.
Begin with the following deceptively simple exercise: For twelve seconds, try keeping your mind on a single point - let us say the spot between the eyebrows, where the mystical "third eye" is supposed to be. Visualize that potential "third eye"; consider the benefits clairvoyance might give you, were you to achieve it; consider the uses to which seers have put their own clairvoyance.
In short, meditate on every angle of the subject that suggests itself to you. Twelve seconds of such meditation is called Dharana. If you stay with your thought twelve times twelve seconds, permitting an unhampered flow of related images to come freely to mind, you have achieved Dhyana, or true meditation.
The Yogis teach that once you learn this you may eventually also achieve Samadhi, which is variously described as a state of super-consciousness and a state of infinite bliss. But Samadhi is not a goal for us to strive after, it should only be done under the supervision of a guru.
Now for the actual procedures, the physical requirements for yoga and meditation. To begin with, you must be alone and undisturbed when you attempt it. Therefore choose a time of day when it is easiest for you to be alone. Shut your door - lock it if necessary - to insure privacy. Be sure you are away from the phone, from loud noises, and that no one will try to speak or call to you. For if you are in the least uneasy about possible interruptions you cannot relax, and without relaxation neither Deep Concentration nor meditation are at all possible.
You can now readily see why for most persons an early morning or late night period is the most desirable time, exactly as with most other yoga practices. Remember you must wear completely comfortable, loose clothing, avoid the glare of bright sunshine or other light directly in your eyes and also avoid bright, disturbing decor in the room. Let the background be unobtrusive.
Traditionally the Yogis prefer to meditate while sitting in one of the classic postures, or asanas. The Padmasana, or Lotus Pose, is considered ideal. Or you may sit on the floor tailor fashion.
It goes without saying, of course, that these poses are only possible if you meditate in the privacy of your own room. They are obviously impossible under any other circumstances.
Needless to say correct rhythmic breathing is essential to proper meditation. Stand erect and at ease. Place the hands on the hips, elbows well out and never forced backward. Draw the chest straight upward, then press the hip bones with the hands in a downward direction.
By this means a vacuum will be formed and air will rush into the lungs of its own accord. Remember to keep the nostrils wide open so that the nose may serve as a passive channel for inhaling and exhaling. The breathing should be noiseless. Remember to stretch the upper part of the trunk. The chest must never be cramped, the abdomen should be naturally relaxed, the spine and neck straight. Remember not to draw the abdomen inward; lift the shoulders up, never force them back.
To exhale, allow the ribs of the upper part of the trunk to sink down gradually. Then lift the lower ribs and abdomen slowly. Again, care must be taken not to bend the body or arch the chest. Exhale silently through the mouth. At first do not retain the breath after inhalation.
You will now start to derive some of the enormous benefits of yoga and meditation.
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