LONGWAVE YOGA BLOG
May is for Meditation
With spring’s return, we are feeling a sense of renewal and growth. And with that, we feel inspired to find newness and growth in our yoga practice. For many, the yoga practice consists of asana or physical yoga. But to grow in our study and practice, it is important to explore other facets of yoga. As such, we have declared that May is for Meditation!
Thousands of years ago, Patanjali gifted us the Eight Limbs of Yoga: yama, niyama, pranayama, asana, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Though these practices can be arranged in varying orders, this prescribed method allows one to still the mind and, ultimately, discover the eighth and final limb samadhi—Oneness with the Divine or Highest Self.
The asana practice is an intelligent system designed to do more than offer physical benefits (though they are a nice byproduct). More than physicality, asana was designed to prepare the body for meditation. It purifies the body to be free of distractions and opens the body so that we can sit comfortably in stillness and practice dharana or concentration. Therefore, one way to continuing growing in the study of yoga is to cultivate a meditation practice or refine our current one.
Thankfully, Patanjali offers guidance for practicing and achieving a meditative state. Sutra 3.1—Deśabandhaścittasya dhāranā—in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali states, “Dhāranā is the binding of the mind to one place, object or idea.” In other words, dharana is concentration on a single point of focus in an effort to move into a meditative state. Sri Swami Satchidanada explains, “Concentration is the beginning of meditation; meditation is the culmination of concentration. They are more or less inseparable. Normally, we see our mind running here and there. When we try to fix it on one thing, within a fraction of a second we see it somewhere else” (Sutra 3.1, p. 161). In other words, we practice dharana to move into dhyana.
So why is this important for the yogi? Because according to Patanjali’s teachings “The restraint of the mind-stuff is Yoga” (Sutra 1.2.) Ultimately, the end goal of yoga is to control the fluctuations of the mind. When we practice concentration, we witness the inner-workings, patterns, and fluctuations of the mind. But rather than attaching to these thoughts, we redirect the focus to the chosen point of focus. Satchidanana writes, “the mind running, your bringing it back; its running, your bringing it back. You are taming a monkey. Once it’s tamed, it will just listen to you.” It is at this state that we move into dhyana or true meditation.
Dhyana is described as a “continuous flow of cognition” where the mind does not fluctuate or break. Everything except the object of concentration dissolve—thoughts, body, breath, time all disappear. We transcend the experience of the physical world by controlling the fluctuation of the mind. All that remains is our inner-divinity and the Oneness that connects us all. This does not mean we are not beings in and of the world. Instead, we are free from attachment and conflict and able to see ourselves as many drops from the same Ocean of Consciousness.
Get heavily meditated with us all month long in these upcoming events:
Join us for a 30-minute guided meditation w/ Monica Sevigny. May 11, 2018, 11:45am-12:15. Register for our Community Meditation HERE!
Allow the bliss of restorative yoga, Thai massage, and live music to guide you into a meditative state in our Special Mother's Day Restorative Soudbath w/ Mary and Eddy. Register HERE!
Let the beauty of Nature help you concentrate and meditate in Yoga in the Gardens at Airlie w/ Rachel Taylor, Tuesdays, May 1-22, 8:00am-9:00am. Register HERE!