Unless you’re living under a rock, you’d be well aware that Yoga and meditation is a very “in thing” in society today, especially among the youth. All you’d have to do is turn to instagram and facebook and you’d see a plethora of pictures of girls (and guys) doing different yoga poses all around the world, from the comforts of their own homes, to public spaces like national monuments and the like. I don’t really blame you if you want to jump on the yoga bandwagon because it has A TON of benefits and makes you feel super healthy after, but maybe let’s all learn some information about yoga and meditation so we can look extra cool by being smart eh?
The earliest accounts of yoga appear in the Rig Veda, which began to be codified between 1200 and 1500 BC. The word “yoga” is generally translated to mean union with the Divine, by integration of the mind, body and spirit. Yoga and meditation come hand in hand and are usually practiced together. The purpose of yoga and meditation (also known as Dhyana) is to become consciously aware of one’s one own mind and body and to know oneself. It is focused thinking, in which the mind and body has to be brought together to function as one harmonious whole.
Yoga and meditation have a multitude of benefits which still hold true till today and is reason as to why it is practiced in all over the world. With the help of meditation we can overcome our mental blocks, negative thinking, debilitating fears, stress and anxiety by knowing their cause and dealing with them. It is also seen as a way to de-stress and relax from the hustle and bustle city life that the 21st century has become. It is a way for people to retreat to their inner selves and get to know themselves better, as they are always distracted by something or another.
There are many types of yoga and meditation techniques that exist today and here are some of them :
|Mantra Meditation: The mantra meditation technique involves the conscious repetition of a certain sound so as to appeal to the mind in order to achieve a state of rumination. Mantra figuratively speaking means ‘revealed sound’ or an amalgamation of sounds that develops spontaneously. It is imperative not to confuse a mantra with religious chants. A mantra might be given by a guru or may be a personal selected sound or word, however the main thing is, it must be pleasing to the mind, followed by our soul (spiritually). Vipassana Meditation: The word Vipassana means ‘insight’. This is an ancient meditation technique which refers to the aptitude of seeing things as they truly are, attainable through a course of self-observation. This means identifying one’s own individual nature, recognizing the bad elements and wilfully eliminating them from the system. Vipassana is a meditation technique free from rites and will assist the development of wisdom allowing an individual to study the various sensations in the body for example, cold, pain, itching, etc.|
|Taoist meditation: This is another ancient meditation technique having many points in common with Hindu and Buddhist systems. However the taoist method is much less abstract and far more practical than the contemplative traditions that evolved in India. The principal characteristic of the taoist meditation technique is the generation, transformation, and circulation of internal energy. Once this flow of energy is achieved known as “deh-chee”, this may then be applied to the promotion of improved health and longevity or whatever the meditator chooses. “Jing”, meaning ‘quiet, stillness, calm’ and “Ding”, meaning ‘concentration and focus’ are the two principal guidelines in this meditation technique.
Trataka Meditation: This ancient meditation technique is one that has been followed by numerous religious sectors, including Sufism and Christianity. This technique is practised by focusing a steady gaze on any one particular object. Trataka is a recognized yoga cleansing technique and dedicated practice of the same takes it to the highest level of meditation.
Chakra Meditation: Chakras signify a superior level of energy manifestation and self development. The word ‘Chakra’ means a wheel. This meditation technique teaches that every chakra represents the main nerve centres that stem from the spinal cord, serving the major organs of the body. There are seven chakras in total. The primary aim of this meditation technique is to assist individuals to discover and explore their chakras, thus awakening them on a conscious level in a balanced and integrated way. How is this wheel (Chakra) similar to the wheel in Buddhism, the Dharmachakra, and inner well-being? (:Raja Yoga meditation: This is a technique with the intention of taking the yogi (person practicing meditation) through to an advanced level of oneness and a greatly ennobling experience. It fills the yogi with super-sensuous joyfulness or happiness elevating the psyche away from pleasures of the flesh and reforms unwanted habits. A Raja Yogi establishes a bond with god, furthermore giving up all worldly pleasures and devoting all energies to the spiritual awakening of fellow beings.
(Does this sentence remind you of St. Francis from Medieval Europe, who is all about compassion and empathy?)
The above meditation techniques are merely a brief insight into each one of them. In order to fully understand and attain their benefits, one must learn the techniques under the guidance of a guru and some very thorough research and contemplation.
Can you see how useful and beneficial Meditation is to all of us? Peace. Serenity. Harmony. Clarity. Pleasure. Awareness. Wisdom. Meditation could be a fashion “therapy” to our body which will never be out-dated. All-hail, Meditation! To beautiful women out there (or men as well), here’s a link to a 30 day yoga programme you can follow on youtube, which you can easily do at home!