Many of us may think of Yoga as being a purely physical practice, or even a ‘workout’, however the true goal of yoga is to achieve a state of meditation, where the mind is quiet, calm and steady, and ultimately to experience ‘Samadhi’, or pure ecstasy and bliss.
Developing a regular meditation practice has been shown to positively affect several key areas of our lives, physiologically (in the body), psychologically (in the mind), and even spiritually. There have been a plethora of scientific studies on the effects of developing a regular meditation practice, and the results repeatedly point to an increase in positive feelings and emotional well-being, and a a decrease in negative feelings such as loneliness, depression, anxiety, and stress.
There are so many resources out there to help you get started with your meditation practice, but the truth is that you don’t need anything to begin! Just your self, your breath, and your awareness. To begin we simply close the eyes, to turn our awareness inward and withdraw the senses from the outside world (Pratyhara). You then want to concentrate, or focus your awareness on a single point, like your breath or a mantra (Dharana).
The actual ‘state of meditation (Dhyana) is experienced as an “uninterrupted flow of concentration”, which is described as a state of being keenly aware but without focus; the mind is quiet, and in this stillness it produces no thoughts or distractions.
It can seem daunting to begin a regular meditation practice. You may be thinking, “who has the time to just sit around and do nothing!?”, but the benefits experienced by practitioners are so profound, that you almost can’t afford not to begin a regular practice! Many people have experienced the perception of having more time to do the things they love and to be with the people they love, and feeling more present throughout their day!
The idea of ‘not having enough time’ is simply a perception that we can project out into our world and experience if we believe in this idea. Practicing meditation can extend the perception of time that we ‘have’ and even create the feeling that each moment, and every person in our lives are more precious, special and unique.