We discussed the benefits of Yoga in my last blog post. If you haven’t read it yet, you can read it here.
In this blog post, I’ll be sharing a little about meditation, my own experience with meditation and how to form a routine for Yoga.
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” -Unknown
Meditation is a prominent practice among Yoga preachers & followers. Even the asanas are formed keeping in mind the ideas of stillness and control, just like meditation.
The first time I did meditation was when I joined Yoga classes. The meditation session happened once a week there. When I left the classes, I did Yoga but failed to do meditation on my own.
I was not much into meditation but recently I started meditating, realizing it’s an acute need. So as a beginner it was obviously difficult for me to meditate. Hence, I picked this technique, which I found the easiest to perform.
I started this with sitting calmly for five minutes and accepting the restlessness inside. To ease the focus, I turn on the music.
There is a variety of music available on Youtube for meditation. I prefer the one in which I can hear the sounds of nature; like flowing water, birds, wind, etc. I also love light instrumental sounds. There are the audios of Om uccharana which are also good for building up focus.
Relaxing, while listening to these sounds and making vivid images of nature inside is what I do to prevent my mind from wandering off. As the music plays, I start imagining scenic pictures. I imagine fishes swimming in the water, matching the rhythm of the music, greenery, water bodies, warm weather, sun rays and so on.
Apart from these scenic imaginations, sometimes I even imagine the machine inside a tower-clock and see its every part moving slowly.
These images are so soothing that they settle down the countless thoughts in my mind, thus enhancing the focus.
You can also make it a habit. Start from five minutes, as I did and then increase the time after mastering these five minutes first.
Twenty minutes of meditation is enough. And if you wish you can periodically increase it as per your will.
My Experience (Excerpt from my Diary)
When I joined the Yoga class, I wrote down my experience in a diary. From different Asanas to meditation, the yoga class had been a journey of learning and self-progress, every day. As I wrote this immediately after coming back home from the meditation session, the thoughts are in the purest form (and unedited too). I would love to share my experience with you all. Here we go.
It’s my third day at the Yoga Classes. I reached the Centre right at 6:50 am today. By the third day, the first thing I gained was punctuality. And the next thing I received was less tiredness while climbing stairs to the third floor.
Every day is changing something in me and I am eager to witness the transformation. Anyway, it’s Saturday today and unlike other days, this has to be the meditation day. I am not in need to lose weight. So for me, Yoga is for;
a. Increasing my stamina.
b. Increasing my flexibility.
c. Improvement in routine.
d. And most importantly, Yoga is something deeply loved by me.
Our session started with Surya Namaskar and continued with different pranayams which included Kapalbhanti, Bhastrika, Anolom-Vilom, Bhramari, and others. We further did the ‘Om-Ucharana’. This has always been one of my favourites, since childhood. The sound of Om makes me feel my vocal chords and their vibrations energize me.
After this we moved to the soul of the session. It started with the knowledge of chakras. We started focussing by closing our eyes and making bee-like humming sound (just like Bharamari Pranayam). While doing this we kept our hands on our body parts (Belly button-chest-throat-forehead-head and coming back to belly button) and felt the vibrations. The vibrations were really powerful.
The above activity was a base for further meditation. We started meditating in the sitting position, concentrating and following the light inside with closed eyes. This continued for around 20-25 minutes. While doing this, we were also listening to Guruji who was discussing the benefits of meditation.
At this moment, I realized that my brain was so much in my control with no negativities inside or around. Within a few minutes the light inside started brightening up (as the focus was increasing every moment). It is said that an aura is formed around our bodies while meditating (could deeply feel it), thus enhancing our concentration.
Peace was running inside the body and heartbeats were as calm as the breeze outside. Though my back started paining, resulting in distraction, soon I was back with my focus when we moved to the next and the last step.
The last String-Yoga Nidra:
We lied down and continued the meditation. We concentrated on every part (one at a time) from toe to head and back and learned about the importance of each part. The ample amount of energy which was streaming inside the body could be felt, the light strengthened, aura increased, positivity seeped inside, negativities were released, stress was released.
After this, we came back to our sitting position and did the ‘Om-Ucharan’ again and ended the session.
On my way back to home, I was wearing a subtle smile on my face, I was peaceful, energetic, my mind felt clarity, I was in love with myself, I fought my laziness for the day and much more. I was in love with everything. I wonder how much the coming sessions are going to strengthen me mentally, spiritually and physically.
It has made me improve in many ways. The depression, stress, everything I felt, was clearing through my body. The love I was showering on myself, I don’t remember when the last time I did the same. My breath was steady. This was the best decision I took in the last two years as it has increased my hopes for the future. I pray for stronger roots and higher ambitions in the future.
The World inside us is beautiful. We are beautiful.
Interesting Add-ons to your Yoga Routine
Yoga is based on a set of instructions. Most of us feel lazy to do Yoga because of its strictness. If we start loving it, it’ll be easier to turn it into a habit. For loving it, we can make it interesting.
Here are some add-ons I follow for my Yoga routine, which will be helpful to you also:
- Music is the best companion while working out. For Yoga, I prefer a piece of calm music and not the groovy one. Instrumentals are the best. Choose your favourite one; mine is the flute. I used to turn music on because it prevents me from feeling lazy and it prevents me from skipping any exercise.
- Mornings are the best. No offenses to the ones who are not a morning bird. But try it once, it’s blissful. While doing pranayams in the morning air, we can actually feel the fresh air taking a trip inside.
What a beautiful start to a day, isn’t it?
- Join Yoga Class. Surrounding yourself by other Yoga Enthusiasts and companions, avoids chances of boredom.
I accidentally joined a class having a group of elderly people. I had the option to change the batch but I decided to stay. The reason was; the energy, positivity, warmth, experiences, knowledge, and love those people shared was priceless. And I, being the youngest, daily received all the genuine wishes alone. Sounds selfish? I know.
- Start doing Yoga outside. Be it a park, garden of your house or terrace; do your exercises outdoor, especially the pranayams. It connects you to nature. Fresh air, the greenery around or even the birds in the sky; everything is the source of all the peace we crave for.
- Be in the present moment. The most effective way is to feel every move and breath. Try to get rid of other thoughts and live in the present, just as we do during meditation. Concentrate on the parts of your body, this enhances blood flow at the points you focus on.
Building Yoga Routine
I wasn’t regular in my Yoga routine as I mentioned before. My laziness has always paid hindrance in the way. However, I don’t miss it now. Here are some steps with assured results, which I followed to develop the habit of Yoga.
- I took baby steps. I started with 5 minutes of joint rotation exercises and did it for 25 days. Later on, I added Pranayams to the routine, not more than 5 times each. After around 20 days I added a few more asanas to my routine.
When I reached a routine of 20 minutes daily, I joined a class and paid the fees in advance. When you pay for something, it becomes worthy. In the Yoga class, we had a routine of an hour. My body got habitual of this.
Later I left the class and started doing Yoga at home.
- Follow any one of these:
- Either do multiple exercises and less number of sets for each.
- Or do a few asanas but repeat them many times.
It’s illogical to do both unless you want to be a Yoga Guru. The best way is to first know yourself and your body. Find the exercise your body needs and do only the required.
I do a pre-decided set of asanas and repeat none more than 5 times. I included Suryanamaskar also as it covers many Yogasanas. Repeating a certain asana for 10 times for a few days will not do the good, but doing it 5 times consistently for a longer period will give you the results.
- Now another complaint which I hear the most is “I don’t have time”. It’s fine. You don’t need to practice yoga for hours. I do it for an hour.
If you don’t have time then 15 minutes of practice is enough.
Then there comes another set of people, i.e., “I don’t have the time of even fifteen minutes”. My mom is one of them.
Well, good news! Studies suggest for the people who really run out of schedule can work-out in weekends to maintain health. It’s still helpful. It’s ten times better than doing nothing at all. (But don’t expect kilos of weight loss and treatment by this weekly practice).
- What if you skipped a few days? I wouldn’t disagree because this happened to me many times. If you are out of town, you left home early or you had any other plan, so you skipped. It’s just alright. Do it the next day. Do not let a little break convert into a huge gap. All your hard work until now will flush out and you’ll fall at the zero level again.
- It’s good if you exercise in the morning, but if you skipped because of some reason, do it later in the day. Even if I wake up late, I do it anyway. Or if I miss it in the morning, I’ll do it in the evening.
- For females, the break during menstrual cycle leads to procrastination. Studies say it is good to exercise during periods. It relieves us from cramps, mood swings and eases body detoxification.
I do agree, it’s uncomfortable to exercise during these days. To ease this, I practice only light exercises but avoid breaking the routine. Also, any asana which involves backward blood flow should be avoided.
This way, neither you break the routine nor do you face the pain of cramps.
So these were some tips with which you can make Yoga a mandatory activity in your life.
I was searching for a Yoga Certificate Course online and realized that all of the batches were mainly full of students from other countries. People from miles away come to India to learn yoga.
Western countries are getting highly attracted to Yoga. However, we ourselves do not understand the worth of this treasure we own.
Yoga has gained a lot of attraction and demand worldwide in recent years. The whole world is getting aware of its benefits and understands its need.
While others understand its worth, we are preparing ourselves for deeper trouble in the form of pain killers and sleeping pills. We must understand that we must take care of our body as well as mind to lead a happy & healthy life.
Remember, health is wealth.
Stay healthy. Stay Blessed.