In this session, we’ll take a few minutes to relax our bodies and mind, discuss what meditation is, and try a few meditation techniques.
What is meditation?
“In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you. Meditation requires an inner state that is still and one-pointed so that the mind becomes silent. When the mind is silent and no longer distracts you, meditation deepens.”
“Meditation is a practical means for calming yourself, for letting go of your biases and seeing what is, openly and clearly. It is a way of training the mind so that you are not distracted and caught up in its endless churning.”
Pranayama -- Breath Focused Meditation
“Once the body is relaxed and at peace, bring your awareness to your breath. Notice which part of your lungs are being exercised as you breathe. If you are breathing primarily with your chest you will not be able to relax. Let your breathing come primarily through the movement of the diaphragm. Continue to observe your breath without trying to control it. At first the breath may be irregular, but gradually it will become smooth and even, without pauses and jerks.”
One-to-One Breathing – Breathing with a balanced count on your inhale & exhale.
Extended Exhale with Retention - Count to four on your in-breath, and retain the in-breath for a count of two. Exhale for a count of seven and pause at the bottom of the breath for a count of two.
Ujjai Breath – “Victory Breath” - With your mouth closed, exhale your breath through your nose as you constrict the back of your throat. The result will be an ocean sound like waves washing onto the shore. The Ujjai breath allows the mind & body to relax and provides a point of focus.
Walking Meditation – with your hands gently clasped in front of you, slowly step one foot in front of the next feeling the sensation of your foot connecting with the earth. Release thoughts that arise by first recognizing them and second by focusing the attention of your mind on your walk. This can be practiced anytime throughout your day.
Body Relaxation Scan – While lying on your back in a safe place, slowly scan your body starting from your toes and ascending up your legs, torso, arms, neck, head and face. At each stop along the body, release any tension you may be holding and allow gravity to pull your body towards the earth.