Among the very most important texts in Yoga is the Yoga Sutras, written by the sage Patanjali in the 2nd Century, BC. In it, he articulates eight limbs which comprise the “Royal Path” of Yoga. The seventh limb, Dhyana, is meditation.
Meditation is healing medicine. It arises naturally as a result of yogic practices, including Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara and Dharana, which have been the topics of my last few blogs.
Once we have mastered the body and breath to a certain level, withdrawn our senses and learned single-pointed concentration, we are ready to enter a state of Dhyana.
It is challenging to meditate in a society such as ours, with the incessant noise of a media-driven culture that has spun our minds into a constant frenzy. Yet taking time to sit in stillness, even if the mind never settles, can have a profound effect upon our lives and further our journey in untold ways. Not only is it medicine for the body and mind, it is nectar for the soul.
I invite you to practice the Yoga of Dhyana in these ways:
- Sit for a few minutes in quiet and stillness each morning and evening. A silent mantra, such as SO HAM (so — hum) can be very helpful in calming the mind. Silently breath in SO, exhale HAM.
- Other meditation techniques include staying focused on the light at the heart center, or the space between the eyebrows. Find what works for you and stick with it throughout the week rather than changing your practice each time you sit.
- Find moments for stillness and silence during your day, even if they are brief. Follow your breath, be in the moment, go within.
Do your best to practice Dhyana, finding the joy of meditation in your daily life.