discourse

At Ananda Pune, we offer a basic Level I series on how to meditate, and the introductory class is free of charge. For those who choose to continue on the path to Kriya Yoga, additional classes over a period of a few months will lead you to Kriya initiation.

Here, as an intro class preview, is an outline of how to get started with your meditation practice.

Relax

Meditation to end a class·         Inhale sharply through the nose, with one short and one long inhalation (double breath)

·         Tense the whole body until it vibrates with energy

·         Hold your breath and the tension for five seconds

·         Exhale forcibly through the mouth, with one short and one long exhalation (double breath)

·         As you do, throw the tension out

·         Repeat several times

Pray

Begin your meditation with a prayer. Invite the Divine, or your Higher Self, to help you in your practice.

Sit Still

Moving your body even slightly sends the energy into the muscles. In meditation we want to draw the energy inward and upward to the brain. Thus, any physical movement during meditation will counteract your meditative effort.

Whether you sit in a chair or cross-legged on a cushion on the floor, try to keep your spine straight. Your physical and mental restlessness will subside the longer you sit still. A glass of muddy water will become clear in time if it is undisturbed. The same is true for us!

Look Up

Your eyes should be closed and held slightly upwards, as if looking at a distant mountain top.

It is essential to keep your gaze gently raised to that point throughout your practice. This will draw the energy to your highest spinal center, the point between your eyebrows, also known as the Spiritual Eye, the seat of spiritual awakening in the body.

Breathe Evenly

Inhale slowly, counting to eight. Hold the breath for eight more counts, then exhale slowly to the same count. Without pausing, inhale again — hold — exhale, each to the count of eight. This is called measured breathing. Repeat three to six times. Finish your practice by inhaling deeply, then exhaling completely.

Add this Mantra as You Focus on Your Breath

Now wait for the next breath to come in of its own accord. When it does, mentally say Hong (rhymes with song). This time, don’t hold the breath, but exhale naturally. As you do, mentally say Sau (rhymes with saw).

Hong-Sau is an ancient Sanskrit mantra (a word, syllable, or group of syllables, which conveys spiritual power when pronounced correctly, often with repetition). It means “I am He” or “I am Spirit.” Try to feel that your breath itself is silently making the sounds.

Do not attempt to control your breath. Simply observe it as it flows in and out naturally. As your breath grows calmer, try to become aware of its flow in the nostrils, then gradually transfer your awareness higher and higher in the nasal passages, drawing it the Spiritual Eye. Concentrate there. This is the seat of spiritual consciousness in the body.

If you find that your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the breath and the mantra.

Finish your practice of Hong-Sau by inhaling once through the nose, then exhaling three times through the mouth. Now, with your inner focus still fixed at the Spiritual Eye, allow yourself to immerse in the peace and silence generated by your practice. Continue for at least five minutes, and finish with a prayer to the Divine, offering yourself into the light of God.

Where to Meditate

Peace and quiet to soothe the soul

If possible, set aside an area that is used exclusively for meditation. In time it will become saturated with spiritual vibrations. A small room, a corner of your bedroom, or even a closet can suffice, as long as it is well ventilated.

How Long to Meditate

This is entirely up to you. For beginners 5-15 minutes a day is a good start, but as you become more experienced and get into the habit, 30 minutes to an hour will give you greater benefit. You can even do this twice a day if you like!