Meditation

Sthira sukham asanam ~ Patanjali

Which ever pose helps you to be still and steady with ease can be called as Asana.

If somebody were to ask you, “Can you sit still for an hour doing nothing?”, what would be your response? Some people may respond with “Oh! that is easy and I would love that” where as some other may respond with “I cannot sit idle for that long. I would rather do something productive”

Here is a small exercise for you in case you are not habituated to meditation. Take out half an hour and absolutely free yourself. Make sure you block out every appointment, switch off the phone and if required lock yourself in a room.

Promise yourself that you would sit still for 15 minutes and try not to move a single muscle. Try to concentrate on the breathing. I am recommending to concentrate on breathing since this will make this task easier; but it really is up to to you. Purpose here is not to practice meditation, but to sit still and see the effects.

Once you start this exercise you would soon see how difficult it is to sit still even for 5 minutes. You start thinking about various events in the past and also what is likely to happen in future. You will suddenly feel like finishing some urgent task.

Then, if you notice carefully, you would be able to observe the uneasiness in the body also. You may feel itching sensation at various places, or little uncomfortable in the back, or stiffness in the legs. You will soon feel like just moving or straightening the back, or adjusting the neck a little.

The urge to move the body parts is very strong and you will feel see how difficult it is to sit idle. Basically the mind does not wants to allow you to sit idle.

When I first learned about yoga, several years ago, I was skeptical — In my mind it was more of an exercise form, and that too not very impressive since everything happened so slowly; don’t we need to be active for the exercise to be good and gain more benefits, and isn’t yoga suitable only for lazy people who pretended to exercise?

Today, I’m happy to say I’m a complete fan of Yoga, practice it and love it and also sit still.

Why Practice Sitting Still
Lot of people associate sitting still with idleness, but it is far from true. Practicing stillness is very important to progress in Yoga. This prepares the body to be stable, mind to calm down and gain strength in the back. This will help in meditation since most of the meditative poses are sitting poses. Sitting or remaining still is a pre-requisite to meditate and sitting poses are the easiest poses to remain still.

Vipassana, which is Buddhist meditation, or any other meditation practice requires you to sit for very long duration of time without moving. When we move, the awareness comes out to outer state from the inner state which disturbs the meditation. Hence it is important to practice keeping the body still.

How to Practice
Start with simple pose which ever is comfortable to you sitting on the floor, like sitting cross legged. Sit for 5 minutes without moving. Then gradually increase the time. When we do this for long time, gradually back will gain good strength and the knees will also have improved tolerance to remain sitted. Constant practice is the only way to do this. keep yourself determined to sit the duration which you have decided. Gradually it will become easy enough for you.

Few Tips

You can sit with a wall as support.
Sit on a Pillow.
Sit in Vajrasana Pose. This is easier to sit on compared to the cross legged poses. Also you can sit in this pose after meals and it will also help in digesting the meal.
Sit in Padmasana Pose. This is the pose which is recommended in many books and by many people as the most suitable for meditation.

Yoga Instruction

Poem of the week

“You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait. You need not even wait, just learn to become quite and still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
Franz Kafka

Tips

Poem of the week

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Slow Dance:

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast. Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask how are you? Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores running through your head?
You better slow down, don’t dance so fast.
Time is short, the music won’t last.
Ever told your child we’ll do it tomorrow, and in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die, cause you never had time
To call and say hi?
You’d better slow down. Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short, the music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift…. thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower.
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

 

Poem of the Week

Bikram Yoga Explained

Bikram Yoga is a 26 postures sequence performed in a heated environment. Bikram Yoga is a comprehensive workout that includes all the components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss. The founder, Bikram Choudhury, was a gold medal Olympic weight lifter in 1963 and is a disciple of Bishnu Ghosh, brother of Paramahansa Yogananda.

The 26 poses were selected and developed by Choudhury from Hatha Yoga. It has been proved and experienced by millions that these 26 postures systematically work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, all the veins, all the ligaments, and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.  Each component takes care of something different in the body, and yet they all work together synergistically, contributing to the success of every other one, and extending its benefits.

One of the unusual but most beneficial aspects of Bikram’s yoga practice is the 95-105 degree temperature which promotes more flexibility, detoxification, and prevention of injuries. This was one of the first yoga styles that specialized in using the heated environment, although more types are available now.

Yoga Instruction