What is Meditation?
According to Swami Vishnudevananda, "Meditation is a practice by which there is constant observation of the mind". Meditation is not only a practice, but it is a state of being where "the little ego melts, and the differentiating mind vanishes. All barriers, sense of duality, differences, separateness and distinctions disappear."
Meditation and Mantras
Swami Vishnudevananda teaches that "The Absolute can be experienced by all through regular practice of meditation with a pure heart." The regular, sincere practice of meditation leads to a constant state of meditation in daily life, resulting in equanamity, inner peace, and resilience. Meditation is a fundamental Yoga practice, eventually resulting in Self-Realization, or union of the individual with the Absolute.
Benefits of Meditation
ॐ Reduce stress
ॐ Overcome negative tendencies
ॐ Cultivate mental strength
ॐ Transcend limitations
ॐ Improve memory and concentration
ॐ Calm the mind, body and emotions
ॐ Cultivate compassion
ॐ Strengthen resistance to illness
ॐ Experience life with more Joy & Awareness
Yoga and Meditation
Meditation is fundamental to the Yoga practice . Meditation, called Dhyana in the Sankrit Yogic scriptures, is part of the Raja Yoga practice. Other Raja Yoga practices lead up to meditation. For example, Asanas (Yoga Poses) make the body limber, the mind focused, and helps the energy flow more easily. This prepares one to sit in meditation for longer periods of time without disturbance. Pranayama (breathing exercises), helps to increase and regulate the flow of prana (vital energy), giving the mental energy necessary to concentrate. Other practices such as a Yogic Diet (Vegetarian), Kriyas (cleansing exercises), and Kirtan (chanting) help to uplift and purify the body and mind, which removes many obstacles in meditation such as restlessness, fatigue, lethargy, and turbulent emotions.
Guided meditation is practiced twice daily during Satsang at the Ashram, during workshops at the Ashram, and in the local community. Regularity of time, place and practice is important for any practitioner of meditation. We practice every day during dusk and dawn, the most effective times for meditation.