Most people think of Yoga as a physical practice commonly expressed by flowing movements known as Vinyasa. While this way of practicing yoga can be fulfilling it might limit opportunity for emotional growth, and it doesn't consider the contemplative paths like meditation. Once these contemplative paths are established they tend to be as fulfilling as the physical practices.
Try the following techniques to get your contemplative flow going:
Positive affirmation or Mantra
Meditation on virtues
One of my favorite visualizations is that of a quiet, placid lake. In the visualization the lake is so calm that it reflects everything surrounding it; Trees, mountains, clouds, flowers, and even faces of friends can be seen reflected on the water. If there is a disturbing thought during this practice it creates a ripple on the water's surface. To stay in the yogic flow simply watch the ripple dissipate. Let the thought go until both the lake and your mind are calm. Try this visualization for 5-10 minutes and keep returning to the work anytime you need a mental break.
Positive affirmations are a wonderful way to stay strong and calm during challenging times. Affirmations should be simple and easy to remember. "I will not let thoughts drag me down" or "My breath, actions and words are healing" or "I'm am strong and resilient" are a few examples. If you're interested in classical Mantra try chanting or concentrating on the the word OM. This is a very pleasing and simple mantra, which generates calmness.
Body scanning is a time-honored technique that's great if you want to meditate for 15 - 30 minutes. Start by bringing your awareness to your feet or toes. Spend time visualizing all parts of both feet before moving on to your ankles and then your lower legs. Continue in this fashion until you reach the top of your head. If you wish to extend your time in this practice you can work your way inward and scan internal organs or any part of your body that needs attention. Always be accepting of your body as it is and combine this technique with a positive affirmation for deeper contemplation and flow.
The following Meditation of 12 virtues is recommended by Swami Sivananda. They are meant to be considered for 10 minutes everyday of the assigned month - Try it!
Humility in January
Frankness in February
Courage in March
Patience in April
Mercy in May
Magnanimity in June
Sincerity in July
Pure love in August
Generosity in September
Forgiveness in October
Balance in November
Contentment in December
The next article in this series will cover Yogic and Zen Buddhist forms of meditation and how to find the method that's best for you.
In the two blogs preceding this one I explored breath work. Breath work can amplify your asana practice, help lower blood pressure, and induce meditation.
I'm a 30 year Yoga and Fitness professional offering Online Yoga, meditation and mobility sessions. Reach out to me at CecilysYogaRetreats.com for support on your wellness journey.