The article highlighted two recent studies that found significant benefits in practising meditation.
1. A new imaging study found that people with no prior meditation experience showed changes in particular brain mechanisms when they participated in a four-day mindfulness meditation program. In particular there was a marked decrease in the presence of anxiety after meditation.
2. A new study published in the Journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes found that the practice of meditation keeps people healthy. The study involved a group of 201 people suffering from coronary heart disease. They had a choice between a health education class or take a course in transcendental meditation. Over a five year period, researchers followed up with both groups and found that those who took the meditation class had a 48 per cent reduction in their symptoms and overall risk of heart attack, stroke and death.
Liveyogalife.com has a range of meditation products available for you:
The article stated that “This is the first study to show that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation … We found a big effect – about a 40 per cent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 per cent reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 per cent.”
Check out this new release – a Guided Meditation Class on Healthy Habits by experienced meditation and yoga teacher, Gail Pisani.
This guided meditation on Healthy Habits is designed as a supportive tool to allow you to bring your thoughts, word and actions into harmony with the activation of your total health and physical well being.
For your practice we recommended that you have a yoga mat & cushion to lie or sit on for your comfort, and a blanket to keep you warm.
Track 1 – Guided relaxation practice takes you through deep relaxation, supporting you to clear up your energy.
Track 2 – Guided visualisation practice works on harmonising the different aspects to your being towards your desired outcome, to have total health & well being.
Describing Yoga Nidra is a bit like reading a description of honey before you’ve ever tasted honey. The actual taste experience is beyond words. Nevertheless, understanding how yoga nidra works helps the mind relax and allows a much deeper experience.
Yoga Nidra is a most profound and natural state of meditation. Through the process of being guided into being conscious of different sensations throughout your body, and of opposing experiences such as warmth & coolness, agitation & calmness, fear & equanimity, sorrow & joy, separation & oneness – you are invited to rotate your attention through these different changing sensations, through pairs of opposites, until you embody these opposing experiences and sensations with neither attachment nor aversion, and with complete awareness.
The outcome or benefits that can be derived from this deep meditative process include:
Many of us know of the fragile peace that’s easily disturbed by the onslaught of daily life. Yoga Nidra is a form of meditation that can assist you to cultivate or remember that space of pure awareness – that unshakable steadiness that exists in each one of us, and that is present in all circumstances and situations, bearing in mind, that the true test of inner peace or consciousness is not in the meditation hall or studio, but in our daily life.
At the core of Yoga Nidra and all yoga and mediation practices – is NOT a dogma, but rather, a system that blends with many universal principles that are concerned with knowing one thing – WHO WE TRULY ARE.
At its minimum, Yoga Nidra will lead you to experience profound relaxation, the release of chronic stress, restful sleep, and a greater sense of harmony in your daily life and relationships
At it’s ULTIMATE – Yoga Nidra points to your True Nature – a peaceful countenance and steadiness that is available to you, to every person, right now.
The Process – Yoga Nidra mimics sleep, however, you want to remain alert throughout the practice. Hence, if you do decide to do it at home, practice in a room other than where you sleep in, and definitely not on your bed – there’s a subconscious connection between your bed and falling asleep.
The Process – Yoga Nidra approximates sleep, but unlike sleep where the mind unconsciously identifies with the dream, during Yoga Nidra you WITNESS these dream-like fragments. You remain observing and aware without falling into unconscious identification with the different sensations and images.
Yoga Nidra is not hypnosis. It is a form of meditation that goes through the different layers to your being – your physical body, emotional sheath, the mind, the ego, etc. Going through these different layers is like visiting a new destination – being in this new place without attachment to the many changing factors – you are completely present, observing – you are completely WITH these various sensations
How to Set-up for Yoga Nidra
Lie down flat, put a bolster under your knees, a blanket over the body, and an eye pillow. Now RELAX THE BODY….
Step 1: Set an intention to give the practice your wholehearted attention. Silently say to yourself, “I give this practice my whole-hearted attention.” Acknowledge your desire to remain focused, to remain aware, to get in touch with the witnessing part of you.
Step 2: is to choose a Sancalpa or intention, or AFFIRMATION – Let this affirmation be a heartfelt prayer in the present tense – instead of a future possibility. Meditation encourages us to acknowledge the NOW.
Finish the line, “I am ________” (whole, healed and healthy). OR “My true nature is _________” . Silently say this to yourself once again to acknowledge your affirmation. Then set your affirmation aside gently – you will visit them again at the end of your practice.
We have available MP3 meditation classes for you to download:
Written by experienced yoga teacher James Bryan from Knoff Yoga School in Cairns, Queensland
For those of us who practice Hatha Yoga (asana, pranayama and meditation), when we are pressed for time, meditation often gets set aside – we want to do it, but how to fit it in our busy day? To get the full benefit that Hatha Yoga offers, we do need to meditate and in this article, we will look at a few reasons for setting up a daily routine to include it.
Patanjali, the father of Yoga, recommends an 8-step program which includes the practice of:
This is based upon:
… or, moving from the gross to the subtle. Another way of looking at the intent of Patanjali’s traditional sequence is comparing to a child’s developmental stages of crawling, walking, running. You need to learn how to control the energies of the physical body, which is tangible, before we will have success with the less tangible breath and the ephemeral mind.
The effects of yoga practice are cumulative, this is, they build upon each other and overall it is greater than what would be achieved from doing the asana, pranayama and meditation separately – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Because the body and breath have already been awakened by the time we are ready to meditate (with traditional sequencing), the meditation can be more powerful and effective. Keep in mind that 10 minutes of focus is more beneficial than 30 minutes of fuzz. No part of yoga practice is about chronological time; it is always about the awareness/consciousness we attain.
“A slack spine equals a dull mind”. When meditating, it is vital to sit correctly with a properly activated and elongated spine. To do this we need to slightly flatten out the lumbar (lower back) and cervical (neck) curves. Internally we balance along the median plane by aligning the soft palate of the mouth over the perineum – then pressing down into the sitting bones and lengthening through the crown of the head. When sitting properly, the mind is energized and meditation will be more successful, i.e. alert and attentive to whatever meditation technique we are using. With correct posture and technique, the spine should be longer after the finish of meditation than when we started.
In Vipassana Meditation it is recommended to sit for 2 hours per day, 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening. Because we encourage the practice of Hatha Yoga for 1 to 2 hours per day, as well as meditation, the overall time commitment is impractical for those with work, family and life responsibilities. We found that when meditating for 2 hours (in addition to asana and pranayama), some of the time we would be mentally drifting off because we were tired, i.e. non productive time. This experience taught us to adjust the Vipassana ‘chronological’ recommendation (doing time) and focus on the quality/clarity – “quality vs. quantity”, that is, making the best use of our limited time.
Meditation is highly beneficial BUT ONLY when we are awake, alert and attentive. If you are tired and falling asleep, go to bed!
Regardless of the type or style of yoga we practice, the ultimate goal is the same – Samadhi, which is super-consciousness or experiencing a profound sense of belonging in the universe, of oneness with the life-force sustaining all of nature. We require a strong body and nervous system in order to achieve this desirable goal. We obtain a strong body and nervous system from practising asana and pranayama. The Buddha did 6 years of austerities (yogic practices) before reaching enlightenment. By his example, we see the importance of asana and pranayama in any meditation practice.
In Patanjali’s teachings, we see that all of the 8 Limbs of Yoga are equally important, and with experience in practice it is obvious that they are all spokes in the same wheel – each contributing to the overall integrity and strength of the whole.
Once students are competent with the Beginner Level syllabus (Knoff Yoga) they should easily be able to complete it in 45 minutes (including relaxation and pranayama) in order to fit in 5 minutes of meditation – for a total daily investment of 50 minutes. This is not too much to ask for health and well-being. It is possible to get up an hour earlier to make space in your life for yoga.
Once students are competent with the Foundation Level syllabus (Knoff Yoga) they should easily be able to complete it in 1 hour and 10 minutes (including relaxation and pranayama), in order to fit in 20 minutes of meditation – for a total daily investment of 1 and 1/2 hours. Yes, this is a considerable slice out of the day, but it can be done by getting up earlier and dedicating yourself to becoming the best person you can be.
Make sure with your meditation, you are focusing on quality and not quantity. 5 minutes of sitting with a dull mind is 5 minutes wasted.
Experiment with the practice and see what works best for you.
Yours in Yoga,
James has a range of products available for you – from Chair Yoga for all levels to Pranayama for beginners and intermediate: