Meditation is a crucial part of any yogic practice. Even the physical postures are supposed to be done in a meditative frame of mind so that one pose flows into the next. This is because yoga is as much about spiritual and mental well-being as it is about physical health and suppleness. In fact, yoga promotes the idea that every aspect of human experience affects every other aspect so mental health is very important for attaining true physical health.
The yogic term for meditation is ‘dhyana’, often translated as concentration. There are a variety of different exercises, such as:
– chakra concentration
– external focus on objects
The best way to begin is with visualisation, as this is the easiest method. All you need is imagination, perhaps some music, and a comfortable, undisturbed space.
Imagine yourself sitting on a beach, a mountain or any beautiful, calming place. Observe the details around you, notice the natural beauty surrounding you. Now concentrate on one thing in this scene, like a tree or a wave. Notice its qualities. Now gradually imagine yourself becoming that thing. The separation between you and the world fades gradually. Repeat the mantra, ‘so ham’, which means ‘I am that’. Begin by doing this for 5 minutes for a week and you can gradually build up to half an hour with practice.
Visualisation can be very powerful and is a safe method to use for beginners who are not used to working directly with the chakra energy.