How To Meditate
The Heart and Science of Yoga™
A Systematic Procedure For Meditation
The following "Systematic Procedure" for Meditation is merely presented as an introduction. Any individual seriously interested in learning how to meditate should seek personal instruction from a qualified teacher. For further information, please contact AMI via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (518) 674-8714.
PREPARE THE BODY PHYSICALLY:
Meditation is easiest when the body feels fresh, comfortable, relaxed and clean. Taking a shower or even washing your face, hands and feet will give you a fresher feeling. In the morning, your body will feel most comfortable meditating if you empty your bladder and bowels first (if that is your habit); then prepare for meditation.
This is a good time for your morning or evening prayers if that is part of our own personal tradition.
RELAX AND STRETCH THE MUSCLES:
A few minutes of Easy-Gentle Yoga exercises can create a vast improvement in your meditation.
BREATHING PRACTICES (Nadi Shodhana):
Sit in your chosen meditation posture with your eyes gently closed and the head, neck and trunk straight. Complete three rounds of Alternate Nostril Breathing Exercise (Nadi Shodhana).
RELAXATION PRACTICE (Survey the Body):
Sitting in your meditation posture, with your eyes gently closed and the head, neck and trunk straight, inhale and exhale through the nostrils slowly, smoothly and deeply. There should be no noise, jerks or pauses in the breath; let the inhalations and exhalations flow naturally without exertion in one continuous movement. Keep the body still. Mentally travel through the body systemically paying attention to major muscle groups, joints and organs. Move progressively down the body from the crown of the head to the toes and back up again.
SITTING IN MEDITATION:
After completing preliminary breathing and relaxation exercises you are ready to meditate. Assume your chosen meditation posture either in a straight back chair or in a traditional seated posture on the floor. Be sure the head, neck and trunk are straight. Next, apply the “Finger Lock” (the thumb and forefinger together, resting the hands and palms downward). Next apply the “Root Lock” (gently tightening the anal sphincter muscle). With your eyes gently closed, place your attention on the space between your two nostrils (where it meets the upper lip). As you inhale, mentally hear the sound SO and as you exhale, mentally hear the sound HUM. Inhale and exhale approximately five times with your attention at the bridge between your nostrils using the So-Hum mantra. Notice that your breath has become smooth and calm. Next, inhale and exhale approximately five times with your attention moving up and down between the your nostrils and the space between the two eyebrows. Continue to listen to the So-Hum mantra. Now, rest your attention on the space between the two eyebrows (approximately one inch deep toward the brain). This is the place at which you will meditate. Sit quietly without any movement and lovingly listen to the sound and vibration of your mantra. As thoughts, images or sounds come into your awareness, do not push them away or become angry with yourself for being a poor meditator. Simply witness any thought that competes with the mantra, willingly sacrifice it to your personal concept of the Divine Reality then gently redirect your attention back to your mantra. Continue to listen to the sound of your mantra.
ENDING YOUR MEDITATION:
When you are ready to end your meditation, first bring your mental awareness into the “cave of the heart” (mid-point between the two breasts). With your attention inside the heart center, acknowledge the Divine Reality within, and rest in that fullness. Next, make the transition to external awareness by bringing your cupped hands over your eyes. As you gently open your eyes into your cupped palms, keep your attention on the Divinity that resides within the “cave of the heart” as you silently repeat these words: "Lead me from the unreal to the real." As you slowly separate the fingers to permit light to reach your awareness, silently say "Lead from the darkness to the light." Finally, as you slowly place your hands gently on your thighs silently repeat "Lead me from mortality to immortality."