Yoga and mastering your mind through meditation
Whilst meditation is talked about a lot, the importance of why we should integrate this spiritual practice into our lives on a daily basis is only ever touched upon briefly. Many people want to live a whole life but are unable to because they are prisoners of the mind. This is due to our conditioning in modern society, which encourages us to let our minds take charge.
To truly live a whole life, the student must be willing to commit to changing his or her habits and life, through introducing a daily spiritual practice.
It is important to note that people who meditate without connecting to their hearts will only ever learn good concentration, and those who get tired whilst meditating are simply practising good concentration. Neither is correct. Meditation is not meant to be tiring – it is meant to be enjoyable and effortless.
Our thoughts are always in our minds and are activated when we pay attention to them. Meditation acts like a pause button, allowing us to control our thoughts so that they don’t distract us.
To truly practice meditation in a way that nourishes and enables you to totally clear your mind, you must learn to connect to your heart.
If your heart is not fully developed, you will always operate from your mind.
If your mind does not have clarity it will create fear, doubt and uncertainty around anything that it has not processed properly.
To live a limitless life, the heart and mind need to be fully developed and in harmony with each other.
To live from the heart means that the mind becomes the servant; we are no longer simply chasing success but rather doing what makes us happy.
When we live from the heart, we receive true clarity about our lives and can make decisions without attachment.
When we regularly practice meditation and connect to our hearts, then we can be truly present. This is an opportunity to release the past and any thoughts that are not serving us; it is an enabler to regulate breathing whilst being time to really connect within.
The benefits of meditation include: a calm mind, good concentration, increased clarity, improved communication, overall relaxation and rejuvenation of the mind and body.
With meditation, the physiology of your body undergoes changes and every cell of your being is filled with more prana (energy) through the breath. This results in joy and enthusiasm as the level of prana increases.
Physically, meditation is also known to reduce high blood pressure, decrease tension-related pain such as headaches, eases insomnia, increases serotonin (improving moods and behaviour) and boosts your energy levels.
When you practice meditation your mind empties, cleanses and nourishes you from within, bringing a state of calm.
With regular practice you will see a decrease in anxiety, your emotions will stabilise, and you will become more connected to your heart and eventually be able to tune into your intuition.
For many of us it is hard to set aside time to meditate, so I have devised a short 10-minute breathing exercise that can help beginners to start to see results.
10-minute practice to enrich your life: Nadishodhanama Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing).
This is one of the best practices with which to enrich and make a difference to your life, in just 10 minutes each day.
Try to do the exercise every day at the same time.
- Sit in a comfortable meditative position, keep your spine straight and head erect. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to relax.
- Place your right thumb on your right nostril, gently, to close it. Inhale through the left nostril.
- Close the left nostril with your right forefinger and hold for a second. Now, remove your thumb and breathe out through the right nostril.
- Inhale through the right nostril, close it with your thumb, hold for a second and exhale through your left nostril.
- Now inhale through the left nostril, close it with your right forefinger, hold for a second and exhale through your right nostril.
This is one set of alternate breathing.
Do a total of 5 sets, resting for 1 minute between sets.
Breathing should be slow, steady and controlled. The main purpose of this exercise is to purify the main energy channels of the body. This nourishes the whole body, induces tranquillity and improves concentration. The exercise also increases vitality and lowers stress and anxiety levels.
To truly experience the benefits of mediation, regular practice is necessary. I coach my students to get up early and start their practice before they start their day. Before you get caught up in daily life, gaining clarity of thought is essential to ensuring that thoughts are processed completely so you can live from your heart.
Once you get into the habit, the practice of being in a meditative state can be the most enjoyable part of your day.
It is like a seed – the more you cultivate the more it blooms. The more clarity of thought you have, the more limitless your life will become.