By: Lorette Steenman, RHN & RYT
Fluctuations of the Mind in Meditation
When I hear the soothing sound of the singing bowl, signalling that 20 minutes have passed, I pull myself out of a whirlwind of thoughts. Easy and effortless meditation has evaded me today; my mind just won’t stop its chatter. What gives?
Let’s get back to basics: As a yoga instructor, I felt it was important to understand how meditation can lead to greater peace, relaxation and naturalness in my life. Similar to how we work to keep our bodies in shape, we can also train our minds to stay fit and focused. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras identifies eight components of yoga.The sixth limb of yoga, Dharana, is especially relevant to this conversation. Dharana means concentration, introspective focus and one-pointedness of mind; on a ‘good’ day, we can use Dharana to find a state of internal calm and peace, positively impacting our behaviour and attitude towards ourselves and others.
How can we achieve Dharana? Is it really as simple as sitting down and closing one’s eyes? The answer is yes! Find a comfortable and quiet spot in your home or office, position yourself upright so that the spine, neck and head are “stacked” (so the energy residing in the base of the spine can flow freely towards the head), and then start fixing your mind on a mantra, or on your breath (or an object, place or or a concept or idea in your mind). As a practitioner of loving-kindness meditation, I often focus on compassion, kindness and empathy, which I find increases the vagal tone, which in turn increases positive emotions and feelings of social connection. Other popular forms of meditation include breath-based meditation (or anapanasati)—a Buddhist practice that is used to build mindfulness, concentration, body knowledge and insight—and transcendental meditation, a technique where one directs attention to a mantra.
No matter what kind of meditation you practice, and regardless of the occasional ‘bad’ day, regular practice will leave you feeling healthy and happy. So, start today and hallenge yourself with a five-minute meditation session, and work your way up to 15, 20 or 30 minutes per day. Your mind, body, emotions and spirit will thank you. Namaste.
ABOUT LORETTE STEENMAN: Lorette is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Yoga Instructor at P3 Health, who is available for nutrition counselling, as well as private and group yoga sessions.Leave a reply →