Some 5,000 years ago in India, The Bhagavad-gita was born and then came Yoga…
In Sanskrit, (Mother of all Indian language) ‘Dhyana’ in English means ‘Meditation’ which is the 7th limb of ‘Yoga’
Imagine Yoga as a tree trunk, and the tree trunk has 8 big branches (limbs), Meditation is 1 limb.
Notice too how a tree has roots, yoga connects you to the roots, actually the meaning of yoga is ‘unity or union’ connecting you to all universe.
Going to the root takes longer, but lasts longer.
For one to ‘Meditate’ you need not speak sanskrit, or be Indian, or follow the Hindu faith for that matter. Not every Indian person meditates and not every Indian is a Hindu. Yoga is not a religion, it is a lifestyle one adopts.
Any one person can practice meditation, if they want to.
If you’re thinking about practicing Meditation, or Yoga, I have a few things to say..
Yoga is a habitual lifestyle that one adopts. Just because 1 attends a yoga class once per week, does not make someone a Yogi. Yoga is a disciplined way of life, with 8 limbs, a true and disciplined Yogi lives life fulfilling all 8 limbs.
At ‘Stress Less, Relax To The Max’ we work on the 7th limb; Meditation (Dhyana)
Science shows that Meditation is Medication. Meditation is a practice we adopt as a daily habit. If you were prescribed anti depressants by a GP, you wouldn’t decide when to take your pills, the GP would advise you to take them everyday for ‘x’ weeks. Meditation is the same in the sense that you must practice daily to gain cure. What makes Meditation differ to pharmaceutical medicine is that, 1. It is 100% natural, you know whats in it and 2. To meditate is free, you need nothing to meditate, just yourself.
People will practice Meditation for different reasons; Spiritual, Religious, Relaxation etc so what we must remember is that everyone will have different experiences with Meditation, that said in mind, every meditation is an experience.
Here’s a few of my Meditation experiences..
The first time I ever consciously partook in ‘meditation’, I was 24, and I was sat on the floor, in a beautiful ocean view apartment where I was living, on Scarborough Beach, in Perth, Western Australia.
I felt like up until this point, (2014) I always went through life on auto pilot, not putting much thought or consideration into things, not weighing up pro’s & cons, just acting on impulse as such. With further research, I now understand that the prefrontal cortex (rational) part of my brain wasn’t fully developed. On average the human brain’s journey to ‘completion’ is usually by the age of 25. Which explains why most teens are fearless, they haven’t the full ability to rationalise.
My Brazillian and Polish housemates suggested we meditate. I didn’t actually feel confident or knowledgeable in the field of Meditation, so I just felt nervous at the thought and I froze, because I didn’t know what to do and I felt worried that I wouldn’t do it right, essentially I felt scared. Again, this is really normal, because the brain’s function is to keep us safe, so we either go into ‘flight fight or freeze’, I did the latter.
I waited for them to make the first move and they sat on the floor cross legged, so I sat with them. I felt so nervous, because, what if at the end I didn’t get enlightened or be taken to a higher consciousness, which is what my understanding of meditation was, it was something that only spiritual people did. I didn’t even know how to be spiritual! I was a 24 year old girl from England who was a consumerist & materialist!
We closed our eyes and everyone went quiet, I suppose I was waiting for God to intervene, the G word was one I really despised, I remember opening my eyes for a couple of times, and we were still in the same room, the guys next to me, so what’s happening then? Nothings happening…
Besides my polish housemate and me, the rest were Brazillian and all their friends were Brazillian, we set off 1 day to this place, which seemed like someones garden and we all wore nothing but white clothing. It was called ‘Umbanda’. I couldn’t understand a word of what anyone said as it was all in Portuguese, I had no idea what we were doing there, or what we were supposed to do, but I remember when it was my turn to speak with these superiors, I remember speaking very quietly and asking “what is the meaning of life?”
“To live” answered the females very soft voice. It has been at the centre of my contemplation ever since, I will remember this moment for all eternity.
When I next sat down to meditate, I was in Bali, Indonesia. I was staying at this beautiful ocean & mountain view apartment looking out on the volcanic sand on the East of the island, a place called Amed.
There was a local guy, he had long dreads, tattooed skin, but noticeably cool & calm. I remember I was planning to head out one day on my moped, and I kept forgetting things. I ended up running back and fourth to my apartment numerous times. On one of the times I was swiftly walking by, the guy asked me to sit beside him. I told him, i’m going out, (I mean, I was travelling Bali, where on earth did I have to go?!) he insisted I sit beside him, I felt nervous to, is he going to hit on me? After a few times, I finally sat down. I felt so nervous by this point, scared I suppose, so again, I froze. We were in such close proximity, what does he want?
He asked me to give him my hand. I then felt even more nervous, how will I get away if he takes my hand? I looked up to see people around us, so I figured I was safe, so I gave him my hand, and in that moment everything changed. It was as if the weight fell from my body and my heart was at the spa..
so anyway, it was he who took me to meditate. We drove off on his moped, we arrived at someones house, where chickens were roaming around, I took off my shoes, and we entered a room, which was like a shrine, I sat down and in came a man, dressed head to toe in white robes and white hair and didn’t speak a word of English. I had flowers put on my head, I had rice pressed against my forehead and water delicately splashed in my face, he even touched parts of my body and moved me around a little, I had no idea what was going on.
At the end, the non english guy was saying a few things, and Mr Dreads was translating to me and tears trickled down my cheeks..
Back in England later on into 2016 I discovered something called ‘personal development’. I started to read a lot of books, listen to a lot of public speakers, tune into podcasts and watch videos on youtube and this is when I was connected back to Meditation. Online this time though, with Guided meditation, where someone would speak and talk you through your meditation. It’s very calming and nice and relaxing, different to any experience I had previously had.
In 2018 I made a dream come true and I flew on my own to Delhi, India. I found myself in a bit of a predicament in England and when I asked the question, ‘India’ was the answer.
‘I am travelling to India for 5 weeks to learn Yoga’ that’s what I told my clients, my family & my friends, and off I went. When I meditated in India, I was at my Guru’s home, sat bare foot, wearing everything but lycra! I sat on just a straw weaved yoga mat on a concrete floor. The pressure on my ankles made me feel pain, ”it’s good for your pressure points” Guru would say.
Hands positioned in ‘chin mudra’. A mudra seals your practice. We started by chanting (repeating aloud) ‘Om’ numerous times and then sat in pure silence. Guru told me to focus on my breath and picture ‘yogeshwar ramlal ji maharaj’
In 2019 I discovered a Buddhist Monastery in England, called Amaravatti. I dipped my toes in the water and spent a couple of hours here on a Saturday. We practiced sitting down and walking meditation, both types of meditation, we focused on our consciousness/ awareness in the present moment AKA ‘Mindfulness’ meditation.
In May 2019 I stayed at the monastery on a 5 day noble silent retreat. On retreat we followed the 8 precepts;
Harmlessness: not intentionally taking the life of any living creature.
Trustworthiness: not taking anything that is not offered.
Celibacy: refraining from any sexual activity.
Right Speech: avoiding false, abusive or malicious speech and idle chatter. Whilst on retreat keeping Noble Silence.
Sobriety: not taking any intoxicating drinks or drugs that lead to carelessness.
Renunciation: not eating after midday.
Restraint: not wearing make-up, perfume, jewellery or immodest clothing; not texting, emailing, making telephone calls or using the internet; not playing or listening to music, or watching TV.
Alertness: refraining from overindulgence in sleep.
Like I say, people practice meditation for different reasons, so the first thing is to figure out, why do I want to learn about meditation? Then when you have your answer you can create a daily practice to keep you in line.
I think people get put off by the idea of meditation, thinking they have to chant and sit for hours on end, and this is not the case if you just want a bit of relaxation.
To try a Complimentary ‘Stress Less, Relax To The Max’ Meditation workshop,