The word Yoga means union with the Divine energy that surrounds us – some call it God, some call it Nirvana, some call it a state of bliss. Through my own personal experience, I have come to understand that yoga to me means union of mind, body and soul. Yoga was originally intended to prepare one for meditation in the hopes of shedding the superficial layers of ego and personality. The aim of the ancient yogis was to become aware of the One consciousness ~ also known as Self-Realization.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga could take a person several lifetimes to understand. My way of dealing with the overwhelming amount of spiritual tools out there is to look at them one at a time. I personally like to pick and choose what resonates with me when I am fully in the Now, present in this very moment. Because if you don’t try on different hats, how are you going to know what feels good?
There are some ancient meditation techniques that you may want to try if you’ve been meditating for a while, and you are beginning to tire of your current methods. Or even if you are new to meditation, give these techniques a whirl.
*Tips for training the body and mind for meditation: Begin to relax your belly, allowing the air to create space and relaxation within your body. If thoughts come, just view them with detachment, as if they belong to someone else. Try not to make a story out of your thoughts.
Example: You hear a car outside and your train of thought goes something like this: “Oh, that’s just a car … I need to gas up after this class … then I need to go find some lunch … maybe I can get something quick at the gas station … But I’m supposed to eat healthy … darn, I should have brought something from home … maybe I should make muffins … ” And on it goes. Try to just stop at the first thought, acknowledge it and let it go.
There is a common misconception about meditation ~ many people think that a mind in meditation should be blank, and that no thoughts should enter whatsoever. This, however, is not the case. Meditation is about becoming an observer to one’s thoughts. By noticing what your thoughts tend to be about, you become more aware of the habits and patterns of your psyche. The most important step to change is the first one, and that would be simply noticing. Try not to be too hard on yourself if the thoughts seem to bombard you at first, as the mind is a complicated system of habits, routines and patterns. The mind and the ego tend to get upset when you start paying attention to what they are really saying. Find a way to incorporate 5-10 minutes of meditation into your day, and you will begin to reap the benefits of a peaceful mind, a relaxed body and a happier disposition.