People living better quality of lives. Less drama. Less stress. Less selfishness. There is a wealth of knowledge available and discussion groups led by various philosophers espousing particular methods of Mediation. The ‘right’ environment, physical position, appropriate breathing, and various visualisation techniques.
However always remember the wise words of the Sage – “Someone who is talking about Meditating is someone who is not meditating”. 20 minutes twice as day is as TM (Transcendental Meditation) recommendation.
The name of the Sage escapes me but the simplicity reverberates and resonates and I pass it on. It might help remind us all that just by ‘doing it’- Rightly -Wrongly, but just doing it, practicing it, having a go, not necessarily doing it well but none the less, we will create a change in ourselves.
If we can remain disciplined enough to ‘Just Do It!’ we will be yogis. Well at least that’s the theory!
So, do we just do it? If we look like a yogi and act like a yogi, will the ‘enlightenment’ eventually come?
What is enlightenment? This Samadhi?
Is it just a lofty ideal? Beyond all sensible grounded normal people who don’t usually do ‘that kind of thing’?
Maybe you were taught to pray as a child? I love the explanation - In Prayer we ask, in Mediation we listen.
Why will being fully connected to our object of focus improve our own consciousness of ourselves and our part in this world?
Will it just come with practice?
Will we see ourselves and the world as we truly are?
Will it all just come to us as the result of treading a path and ‘being’ a yogi?
Will it bring us wealth, happiness, joy?
Maybe we can look at it all a little deeper but still keep it simple for those of you who do not yet have a regular concentration, focused habit of ‘being connected’ of your own yet. What are you connecting to? I like to think of it as demanding an audience with yourself and by giving yourself your own attention – just like any argument, plant animal, child, fundamentally what we give out attention to grows – so in mediation we grow…. We expand our conscious awareness of ourselves and everything else. Simply take our rightful place at the table of abundance.
What is Meditation and how is it part of yoga?
What are the benefits of doing it?
Does it take long to learn?
What will it mean or matter in your day to day life?
So much is written on this subject that student teachers can often feel overwhelmed, let alone lay people or householders as non-monks were and are often termed.
At Golden Glow Yoga College, we use the guidance of great Hindu teachers like Sri Aurobindo author of The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri among over 40 other titles, Sri Krishnamarchari, The great Healer and teacher of B. K. S. Iyengar and Shri K. Pattabhi Jois and his loyal student John Scott alongside the beautiful wisdom of ladies like Indra Devi and her 1948 book Yoga – Techniques for Health and Happiness with so many others finding it easier in honouring their femininity, power and Shakti with Womb Yoga and the 700 hundred page read of Uma Dinsmore Tuli or Nancy Phelan of Yoga for Women fame.
The great Guru of Sri Paramahansa Yogananda and the insightful lineage that led to the creation of Transcendental Meditation programs which developed to try to make it easier for people in the West to live more fulfilled lives.
All these people have tried to help us lead better lives. Not necessarily happier lives but at least to be more contented in our own silence. Creating awareness of silent Vipassana practices of S.N Goenka and Mediation courses, Like The Art of Living from Sri Ravi Shankar are also great eye openers and we try to encourage student teachers to examine them to better grow ‘our understanding of ourselves’.
We also look at practices from less conservative teachers like the late Osho. We encourage students to compare these with the work of present day Buddhist teachers like the Dalai Lama, the American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron and the great Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh. And all the great Masters that have lead them in the learned the way of the Buddha. But the Mindfulness concept as we presently know it is a Buddhist term rather than Hindu one. It helps to remember that I think.
All these insights however are highlighted in our Golden Glow Yoga College Yoga Teacher Training as they are so very important. We believe that to compare the paths of those spiritual leaders is never going to be a waste of energy or even hard work. It’s a joy to read such sacred insight.
Programs and books are generally available to everyone as all the Teachers listed are or were prolific writers. Delving into their knowledge and experiences, taking time to just be with it all, will help you develop practical guidance about the classical and contemporary practices. Pop Mark Singletons view about such terms into the mix sand we can see light looming. Yoga is very hard to understand not just form a regulatory body viewpoint but also from the Ayurvedic medical treatment orthodox system of India, let alone as one of the Six orthodox schools of India Philosophy
Let’s talk briefly about - Practicing being ‘On the Cushion’
From the authors view, being comfortable, with a good supported seat- maybe even sitting on three or five cushions at first so the hips and back are supported and the knees have space to go toward the floor, without strain, was a huge key to my growth
Watching Swami Vidyanand taking one leg out at a time and resting each of them in turn over many weeks and months sharing time together on the floor in various learning, not only meditations, taught me most clearly that it was so important to help students less able than I was – simply put – Be comfortable and steady. Do not strain.
Being comfortable on your seat will help give space for the examination of the yogic and mindfulness practices. This in turn will help us lead our own lives as we see fit, true to ourselves, ‘present’ more in our day to day lives and make our effort to live those lives in a contemplative and meaningful way. Remember Asana means ‘seat’ rather than ‘posture’.
Conscious living. Living consciously – A Life Divine - A Divine Life. These great philosophers and Vedic wisdom are simply suggesting lightness, for us to be aware that we are making choices all the time and to be responsible for those choices. I believe in the ‘no rights, no wrongs, only consequences’ train of thought.
So, moving away from a silent or seated ‘on the cushion’ or even a walking mindful ‘meditation’ idea.
Ask the Question - Is it a cop out to consider ourselves to be in mediation if it’s a moving meditation?
We are simply here on a path of Self Realisation are we not? Does it really matter how you purify your Matter, as long as you do? Must it all be hard work lifting our efforts and experience into a spiritual experience? I think the SriMa Transformational Yoga of Swami Vidyanand had really got something there with its softness and stillness and waves of strength that we float into.
Benefits of Yoga Mediation are not just yoga asana, the stretching, the sweating of some, the beautification of physical bodies of others, all leading hopefully to beautiful minds.
Whenever the topic of Yoga comes into the discussion realm, anything outside the idea of making the physical body beautiful through purification, will almost certainly open the door to the debates of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and their meanings, contrast with Buddhisim and Jainism and the Eight Limbs of the Ashtanga Practices listed by the Sage Patanjali which we teach to all teachers in training and hope to help them simplify the expectations they may have of themselves and others and vis versa. (The term Ashtanga is used in the Sutras and often confused with the popular Mysore Ashtanga Yoga or power type Gymnastics style practices of taming the body and in turn the mind.)
Considering the Eight limbs of these Yoga Sutras like a road map to Treading the Path and setting out the likely obstacles to obtaining and maintaining Self Realisation, we are forewarned of our human failings, our nine obstacles like illness and laziness and we are given a pretty clear path to reduce our suffering as humans being present on the planet, to settle the mind. We can look to the first three limbs, 1) Yamas and 2) Niyamas, Laws for Life and Rules for Living respectively, that will bring us through to the third limb, a cycle of 3) Asana, all which will help harmonise our physical outer body with our true selves.
Creating consciousness around breathing habits with the Fourth Limb of 4) Pranayama Breath awareness combined with the fifth 5) Pratyahara, a withdrawal of the Senses, and hopefully taking that into the next level of the simple awareness of their part in the 25 Tattvas of Ayurveda natural medicine, will all help us to connect with our inner Physical body.
The final three limbs of 6) Dharana, Concentration on an object, 7) Dhyana, Meditation where the attention flows evenly toward that object and finally lastly, but simply, to resume all over again in the circle of life as we practice 8) Samadhi – Being present, as that same awareness shines forth in purity, unbounded - Enlightenment or Understanding.
That’s the general gist of it, ‘all in a day’s work’ as a Yogi, and then it’s into the evening, an awareness of the Moon if you are lucky, in either her shadow or her fullness, ebbing and flowing like the oceans. Then we end our day, sleep tight for a few hours and start all over again!
Time to settle the mind again and so its back on the mat …. Asana pranayama and Dhyana. Poona to the Gaitri.
The soul and the self -knowledge of duality, non- duality, ego, our consciousness, matter, a Divine consciousness, our concepts of GOD, which may be simplified to the Great outdoors if our conditioning so requires; These concepts which we can cling to and consider and ponder over many years, these are there to help us to have more meaningful lives. Lives of purpose and hopefully in a direction that we are content with.
Our belief systems; our Eastern/Western minds and the causes of suffering our attitudes, what we cultivate, our 1) selflessness,2) impermanence and 3) dissatisfaction can be viewed as three marks of existence in Buddhist teaching.
Making meditation a focal point, an intention within our physical movement; simply to be with whatever is arising in us, on a physical, emotional mental and psychic body level. A contemplative practice effectively. I’d say it’s actually the easiest of them all; At least it is for me. Why? Because in short, I am just honouring myself enough to take Time to be with myself. Not just rushing off to the next need, drama, crisis or warzone.
I spent many years feeling helpless to help, staring into space, procrastinating rather than meditating or being one with a leaf, a rose, a shell from the beach. Watch others live their lives. Angry people, sad people. Look around you in the street. Watch the faces. Even watch the ‘Gurus’ sitting on the mats. Watch them. Open your own heart. Listen.
Instinctively, you can just tell whether they are actually ‘at one’ with the object of their attention or not - off; thinking, thinking, thinking. Are they becoming Creative in their Discontent as the great late Sri Krishnamurti might remind us? We cultivate contentment with what is. Not aspiring to be the full bright moon all the time, it would be exhausting! Humans can get so bogged down into the mundane. Yoga Mediation takes us higher into the Nature of the Super Mind.
Swamiji, Swami Vidvanand, has again like so many others tried helped to try to make it easier to be higher minded and to connect, to communicate with ourselves, our divine consciousness, (whatever that means to you) and to hear our own truth. It’s easier for many of us now here in Ireland through- out the world to practice Meditation and Transformational Yoga as a form of Moving Mediation.
It is now also known to the many thousands of followers who have found the benefits of moving peacefully through a range of postures, using simple mirroring of postures from mirroring each other in peacefulness in the circle, adding a couple of transforming breaths like the Kappalabhati for 5 breaths and Brahmari (just hum – I like to move my tongue around in my mouth when I do it and see if I can dislodge of ways of thinking and clean house in my brain) for 3 breaths and then the good old chant of the heart seed sound of OmMa.
Put it all together and rather than just trying hard to force a Meditative state, it melts into you as you melt into it. It’s like the Bliss of the gentle Sun on the face, a Song of the Soul, a Vedic Hymn singing out from its depth without effort or self-consciousness.
When we are doing gentle asana practice like the yoga mediation of Transformational Yoga and reap the rewards of the benefits of Yoga Mediation hopefully we are not just giving the physical the full attention to only making a beauty of the physical ugliness but consciously seeking Transformation of our mind and in turn connecting in our soul.
To create focus means we achieve our aim. Hopefully our aims are true and we are not misunderstanding our purpose here for too many precious years. We have questioned our motivation, our tendency to disrespect ourselves and up lifted and lightened our natural human tendency to be on the darker side of our natures. I find one thing is consistent among the many teachers I train here. “This has changed my life” they say – “I just wish I started earlier!”
So, it’s never too late to put some good techniques around a good heart and soul. We can use the wisdom of the Transformational Yoga system and its unique way of combining the old favourites of mantra and breath and asana to help with growing a walking mediation or seated, on the cushion, practice.
Training human beings to do simple physical yoga practices of stretching the physical body using asanas is generally manageable for most people. It’s considered for most a lot easier than mediating alone initially  and begins to condition the physical body easily into more advance postures for those that wish to pursue that aim.
Yoga honours The Great Sage Patanjali’s formula of practicing Eight Limbs yes, to help bring about a focused being. However, yogis are encouraged to read all the great books of the world like The Upanishads and reflect on the wisdom of all great sage wisdoms like those of the Eight-Fold Path of the Buddha or gain insight to be a better Christian with study of the Bible, the Ten Commandment of Moses or the Torah or the Koran.
Yoga Meditation helps us move away from addiction, obsession and feelings of unworthiness or lack. Human beings are so inclined towards our own sabotage and undermining our own wellbeing a lot of the time, practicing making yoga relevant, regularly, over time, and you will feel well So, what’s not to like?
Blog Post kindly provided by Past Student of Golden Glow Yoga College
 Light on Yoga - B.K.S. Iyengar
 Ashtanga Yoga – John Scott
 Yoni Shakti – Uma DinsmoreTuli
 Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda
 The Book of Secrets – Osho
 When things fall apart – Pema Chodron
 The Miricle of Mindfulness – Thich Nhat Hanh
 Sri Swami Vidyanand – Founder and President of Yoga Alliance International.
 Sri Aurobindo – The Synthesis of Yoga. Part One Ch 1 The Four Aids
 Sri Aurobindo – A Life Divine
 Sri Parmahansa Yogaendra – A Divine Life Society
 At the feet of the Master - Sri Krishnamurti
 The Synthesis of Yoga – Sri Aurobindo Ch XIX
 Hatha Yoga was traditionally considered a stepping stone to Mediation -The Kingly Path of Raja Yoga. So many amazing yoga paths - so little time !