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next page next page close The yogin’s meditation improves through destruction...When experiences of stillness, bliss, and clarity occur and feelings such as joy, delight, or pleasant sensations arise, you should blast this husk of attachment to experience into smithereens. —from Lion’s Gaze: A Commentary on Tsig Sum Nedek, by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche "
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Why Mantra Repetition Is Powerful And Important To Yoga

Why Mantra Repetition Is Powerful And Important To Yoga

My first visit to the yoga ashram was full of new experiences. Many other languages were spoken there; French, German, Spanish, and Hebrew—I could only follow half of the conversations that took place! Not to mention, all the Sanskrit. In addition, the spiritual energy there was high, so it was also fascinating to observe the traditions of the temple and its grounds.

Pujas, rituals, mantras, and Upanishad scripture study were going on all the time.

My karma yoga assignment was to clean the temple every evening after dinner. At the same time each evening, a woman would sit on a meditation cushion in the far corner of the temple with mala beads strung over her right wrist as she rhythmically repeated her mantra: Om Namo Narayanaya.

I was fascinated by this woman and her mantra. I would often stop what I was doing to look at her, careful not to stare too long. What struck me the most was the times during her practice when she would become silent for a moment as a smile spread across her face. It was the smile of true contentment and joy. She looked peaceful, happy, and radiant.


The Connection Between Mantra and Sound

Mantra repetition is a powerful tool for yoga practitioners who wish to deepen their study. The idea is to use sound to focus your mind on something bigger than yourself.

“Just by repeating the name, that which cannot be understood will be understood .
Just by repeating the name, that which cannot be seen will be seen.”

This ancient technique originates in Tibet and India. The idea is that mantra is intrinsically related to sound. Mantra is sound, and sound is echoing in everything in the universe. When water flows, the gurgling sound it makes is mantra. When wind blows through the trees, the rustling sound is mantra. When we walk on the earth, our footsteps produce sound, and that is mantra. The breath which repeats itself and symbolizes life itself, is also mantra.

Sound has enormous power. In fact, it has the power to create an entire universe. It is written that God originally manifested as sound. According to ancient Indian belief, in the beginning there was sound, which reverberated as Om (Aum), and from that sound everything came into existence.


The Importance of Words

When letters and syllables come together, they form words. Both our spiritual and our mundane life are possible only because of words. Each word we use has its own power and produces its own reaction.

A mantra is no ordinary combination of letters and syllables, but a living force. The name of God is not different from God. Mantra has been called the sound-body of God: It is God in the form of sound. If you have not yet had experience with this simple, yet powerful practice, here are two simple mantras to try.


Two Mantras You Can Try

To get ready, find a comfortable seated position either in your meditation space or any other quiet, undisturbed area where you feel safe. If you have mala beads, you can use them to count the repetitions of mantra, working your way up to 108 times. Close your eyes, take three deep breaths in and out through your nose, and begin.


1. Soham: (So-hum)

The So Hum meditation is a simple but powerful technique that uses the breath and the repetition of a mantra to quiet the mind and relax the body. This meditation helps take your awareness from a state of constriction to a state of expanded consciousness.

The yogic mantra “so-hum” is not only a reflection of the sound of the breath but also carries a contemplative meaning: “I am that” (so = “I am” and hum = “that”). Here, “that” refers to all of creation, the one breathing in us all. This contemplation meditation is an opportunity to focus your “thinking mind” on the mystery of being and to reflect upon the interdependent nature of all phenomenon revealed by the sages and proven by science.

On the inhale, focus on “so” and say silently to yourself “I am.” Contemplate on its meaning, visualizing the connection of yourself with the countless beings on Earth. As you exhale with “hum,” inwardly say “that” or “all that is.” Visualize your exhalation leaving your body through your nostrils and then merging back into the atmosphere, back into infinity, back into “all that is.”

Stay with this contemplation until you naturally begin to settle into a state of unified consciousness (which may only be for a few brief, refreshing moments at a time). If a thought (vritti) arises, come back to the simple mantra, “so hum.”


2. Om Namo Narayanaya

The mantra of Vishnu (aka Narayana) is chanted to invoke his all-pervading power of mercy and goodness. Repetition of this mantra confers infinite love, prosperity, power, glory, wisdom, and total liberation. It gives the ability to dissolve obstacles resulting from egoism and ignorance. It is a mantra of peace, bringing balance to an off-centered world.

A mantra is there to help you, and to give guidance, comfort, love, strength and focus. Some people are initiated into a mantra that has personal meaning, and are instructed to stay consistent, never straying from it. Other yogis have a practice of changing their mantra with the tides, choosing one that suits their needs at that particular time. Whichever practice you choose, speak your mantra with clarity and intention. Set a goal for a certain number of repetitions, or a set amount of time.

Close with a moment of gratitude, reflection, or prayer to soak up the energy of your meditation into your being and life.

Om Shanti.

The post Why Mantra Repetition Is Powerful And Important To Yoga appeared first on by April Saunders.

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Meditation for Self-realization

This article is in essence a guide to breathing meditation that will help deepen your practice. There are three practices in meditation (once you have established a solid meditation posture) which will help you get deeper and deeper into your meditation, and into a new awareness and experience of yourself and the universe. These three practices are:

  1. Following your breath into the universe. By paying attention to our breath and experiencing it fully and consciously we are able not only to achieve a deep sense of inner peace, but also a more relaxed, aware, and energetic state.
  2. Practicing patience. By patiently bringing our attention back to our breath every time our mind wanders we develop our attention and increase our personal mastery. The third practice is …
  3. Letting go and allowing. When we meditate we connect to creative consciousness and to our higher selves. With consistent practice, and ample patience, we can learn how to let go of our egos and our need to interfere and instead learn how to allow our infinite nature to express itself through us. This is the highest achievement in meditation, and is the true meaning of power and mastery. When we can reach this stage our lives will transform and we will find ourselves living an inspiring, blissful, peaceful, loving, and beautiful life – in short we will find ourselves to be living in a perfect world.

In my previous articles of meditation I have covered topics such the meditation posture, meditation tips for establishing your practice, and how to meditate, but this is the next step once those specific areas have been somewhat mastered (or at least have become natural).

There are many different forms of meditation for many different purposes. In some you recite mantras, or visualize, or gather, channel, and circulate energy. This article is not necessarily a guideline for meditation per say, but a way to use meditation for self-realization. That is, instead of using breathing meditation to do things, this outlook on breathing meditation is about experiencing your true nature – universal consciousness – directly and allowing it to be the creative source of your life which you live from.



Following Your Breath Into The Universe

The breath is the teacher which guides you into your body and aids you in the mastery of your mind, helping you to transcend its seduction and consciously unite with spirit. Every breath we take is literally a breath of life. The only time this body ceases to breathe is in death. Simple enough. Yet how often during the day are we actually paying attention to our breath? Is it shallow or deep? How does it feel to breathe?

Are we appreciating each breath for how it feels and the life that it provides us?

The fact of the matter is that the majority of people barely pay any attention to their breathing. Yet if we use our breath as a focal point, it is the fastest way to bring our awareness into the moment, as well as to cleanse and calm our minds. Our breath acts as a continuous flow of higher energy that will wash away our negativity, pain, and disease in the same way that a river washes impurities from our clothes and bodies.

Whenever you get too stressed, or are about to explode in rage and need to calm yourself down, just breathe. Feel your breath and focus on it to the exclusion of all else. Inhale energy, peace, and awareness, and with the exhale let go of all your tensions and worries.

Our breath has a magical quality of instantly getting us into a deeply aware meditative state, if we consistently practice breathing meditation. It can act as a trigger for higher states of consciousness and meditative states so that the moment we remember to focus on our breath, we balance and center ourselves in spirit. That it is one of the most fundamental meditation techniques, regardless of what type of meditation you are practicing.

Breathing is a perfect representation of the yin & yang aspects of the universe, and is a testament to the universal state of change, harmony, and balance. As we attune to our breath, we tune into the flow of the universe and the sea of energy, prana, or chi which we are breathing and moving through in each moment.

As you practice breathing meditation, with your tongue on the roof of your mouth and your eyes looking between your eyebrows, breathe in and out deeply through your nose. You don’t need to count your breaths, just experience them and allow them to teach you about your body as your breathing takes you deeper and deeper into the stillness within, and your inherent connection with creative consciousness. They are directly related.

Breathe from your stomach like a child, and do it naturally without effort or struggle. Focus your attention on your breath, and feel the tensions that arise in your body as you inhale, and release them as you exhale. If you have any pain or injury then breathe energy into them, and feel the energy of your breath releasing those pains. At first it may feel ridiculous to do this, but in time it will become profound. As you cleanse your body with your breath, so too do you cleanse your mind.

Your mind will wander off on its own away from your breath, but don’t get frustrated or angry, just calmly return your attention to your breathing as many times as necessary. As you progress your eyes will become clear, and you will be radiant as your mind calms down and joy erupts from the silence. This is the exquisite feeling of being truly alive.



Practicing Patience

At first your mind will be chaotic and thoughts will appear seemingly from every corner of your mind at a rate that is unbelievable, frustrating, and potentially overwhelming. As a result you will want to move around and open your eyes to distract yourself from it, but don’t allow yourself that indulgence. Move if you are in physical pain or if there is a fire, but otherwise, do not get up.

Even those who have cultivated peace within themselves for years will still sometimes close their eyes and enter into a world of loud and chaotic mental chatter and disturbance. This is one of the byproducts of life.

We cannot always control what happens to us in life, and that is not the point. We do however have complete control over how we react to life, and that is our true power.

Experienced meditators experience internal conflict just like the rest of us. The difference is how they react. An ordinary person is effected by the world and thus enters into an internal state of conflict, and when they do, they become slaves to their unconscious thoughts and emotions and become unbalanced, confused, stressed, and frustrated. Then they look outside of themselves for the cure in food, drugs or alcohol, shopping, relationships, or in anything that can distract them temporarily from what they are feeling.

An experienced meditator on the other hand is not effected by the world and can live in gratitude, peace, and loving kindness because they are connected to source instead. When they are effected by the world, or when the reach a point of internal conflict, they are conscious of it, and instead of running and distracting themselves, they sit down to meditate.

They face their internal world, breathe, and connect to creative consciousness. As they practice returning to source they are flooded with higher energies – peace, love, kindness, inspiration, and so on – and these energies dissipate lower energies, and thus their internal conflict. All conflict and suffering is the result of being disconnected with spirit, and thus  breathing meditation (and meditation in general) is a practice of returning.

Experienced meditators are masterful not because they never experience conflict or stress, but because they know how to realign themselves with spirit and consciously return themselves to an experience and perception of perfection, peace, and balance.

Face your mind with as much attention as you can gather and detach yourself from your thoughts. You are perfect and you are pure in your natural state regardless of what you’re thinking. Identify with that pure awareness by observing what the mind has to say without getting attached to it, and then letting the words wash away.

Your mind will be chaotic at first but over time it will become quiet as all your suppressed thoughts, memories, impulses, and emotions have the opportunity to surface so that emotional processing can occur. As they surface, this will occur naturally if you remain emotionally detached from them.

The only reason our minds are so cluttered is because we don’t take the few minutes each day which is necessary to take out the garbage. That is what breathing meditation is – the process of taking out our mental and emotional garbage. Looking within is all that it takes to empty our minds, because in time as we look within ourselves we will learn to process and let go of our thoughts as they come, instead of allowing our minds to become cluttered in the first place.

As you observe your mind, realize that your mind is not who you are.  Notice that you are not your thoughts, and that you are actually the conscious awareness that is observing your thoughts. Your mind is only a tool, it does not define you. Your true nature is above and beyond the mind and if you are quiet, patient, and have simplified your mind impeccably over time, you will get an opportunity to experience that other aspect of yourself.



Let Go & Allow Yourself To Be

One of the most wonderful benefits of meditation is that it is a practice of self-discovery. When you sit down to meditate you are learning to master your mind, but more importantly, you are learning to be yourself again and embody your divine nature which is unlimited potential.

Accept that you are not currently being yourself because if you were you would be infinitely blissful, loving, kindhearted, balanced, and peaceful. If you are … then please email me so that I may learn from you. But if you are not, then you have to accept that you do not know everything about yourself, and that you are not being completely honest in how you perceive, and express yourself.

Meditation will be different every time, and it is not always what you need to have an absolutely silent internal reality. Thoughts come to the surface because they need to be dealt with in some way or another. Become conscious of all that comes through your mind, but remain detached from it by becoming an impartial observer.

As an impartial observer you are free from the emotions that come with certain thinking patterns which gives you the opportunity to think and live consciously. You can then choose how to feel, act, think, and perceive the world so that you are completely independent of the circumstances of your life. Things in life only become negative or positive once you see them as such. You get to choose, and that is the true human worth.

This is the only way to dissolve our egos and all our mental limitations. By not being affected emotionally by your lower level thoughts you negate their power over you which is the path to true freedom and self-realization.

Allow what is within you to come through you because it is what you need to process to become yourself again. Allow everything that is within you to come through you, and then choose to focus on that which is pure and a reflection of your eternal divine self, then cultivate it through silent contemplation of this superior aspect of yourself.

“If you bring forth what is inside you, what is inside you will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is inside you, what is inside you will destroy you.”
– Jesus of Nazareth

Just patiently observe it all streaming through your consciousness and know deep in your heart that the permanent aspect of yourself is the pure awareness you are using to observe reality. Accept the knowledge and inspiration you are being presented with as guidance for your life path of embodying infinite potential, but always remember that your divine self is the awareness which you create your life with, not the manifestations of your magnificence.

If negativity comes through you, you can waste your energy battling it, or you could just allow it and practice non-attachment, and then readjust your mind to a positive perspective. In place of the negative thoughts you may want to then consciously think some positive thoughts and affirm your desire for positive thoughts in your mind. Then when positive thoughts come, thank them! This is programming yourself to become a more positive, optimistic, and joyous person.

Instead of trying to control everything that goes on within you, make it your focus to become aware of everything that is going on within you, and allowing the inspiration, the love, the happiness, and the potential to come through you and prosper instead of fear, negativity, and self-doubt.

(Self-doubt is the most crippling force that a human can experience, so learn how to eliminate it in my article about how to gain confidence.)

As you develop your breathing meditation practice using these meditation techniques that I have here provided you will learn how to be yourself once again. When you are yourself you will have no limitations, and you will live a blissful, abundant, serene, invigorating, and inspired life because you will have tapped into all those qualities and allowed them to come through you. In the words of the sage Pantanjali:

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”

This great, extraordinary purpose that you are inspired by is returning to your true, infinite nature, and when you look inwards through the practice of breathing meditation you will “dormant forces, faculties, and talents” within yourself that you did not know were there. Then all conflict and suffering in your life will subside because you will cease to resist the magnificence that you really are by pretending that you are small.

You are a master of creation, and breathing meditation is the realization of that fact.



Source: Powerful Breathing Meditation for Clearing Blockages and Finding Emotional Peace

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Chanting Om Namaḥ Śivāya

Om Namaḥ Śivāya is an ancient Sanskrit chant

packed with considerable meaning and symbolism. It is an

expression of deepest respect, faith and devotion for the divine spirit to which we are all connected and from which we come. It means,  “I bow to the highest form of Spirit”. It is believed that chanting Om Namaḥ Śivāya brings us blessings and leads us to the highest state of meditation and peace. When we break it down a bit we may start to understand it’s real power.


OM or AUM is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of all teaching and prayers. The Upanishads, some of the oldest spiritual texts in existence, have this to say:

“OM stands for the supreme Reality. It is the symbol for what was, what is, and what shall be. OM represents also what lies beyond past, present and future”.

Whoa! So that means pretty much everything, everywhere.


Namaḥ Śivāya is known as the Great Redeeming Mantra.  It’s also known asthe Panchakshara Mantra(5 syllabled mantra). Śiva represents the most supreme reality and our inner Self or “true” identity. Śiva is the name given to the consciousness that dwells in all things. Śivāya is then the most holy name of the diety Śiva, this ultimate consciousness. Unpacking things further, Na is Śiva’s concealing grace, Ma is the world, Śi stands for Śiva, Va is revealing grace, Ya is the soul. Underlying this mantra there believed to be a profound healing aspect. As we chant the five syllables of Na-maḥ-Śi-vā-ya, the “five elements”, (earth, water, fire, air and ether) that are thought to comprise the body and are associated with the chakras, become purified. Na is earth, Ma is water, Śi is fire, is air, and Ya is ether, (or Ākāśa). We could think of it as a kind of vibrational cleanse.


Like most symbolism in yoga, it gets sort of complicated. Ultimately chanting Om Namaḥ Śivāya is an expression of deepest

devotion, faith, belief and respect for the power and source which connects all things and from which we emanate. It is an expression of awe for the mystery and gift of life.


Source: Sacred Earth

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Mudras for Pranayama


Color illustration by Laramie Sasseville

Mudra is a Sanskrit word that translates to “attitude” or “symbolic gesture”. There are many mudras associated with yoga. Those mentioned here are meant to effect the subtle, energetic body and are primarily used during pranayama practice. Their energetic effects also work ona subtle level of the mind and attitude.

With this writing we are referring to mudra as hand gesture, yet any specific position of the body can also be considered a mudra if the intention is to influence the mind /body connection on an energetic level. Mudras are part of a system in meditation whereby energetic circuits within the network of “nadis” are linked to enhance pranic flow (see kundalini shakti and pranayama).


We’ll be discussing a few key mudras here and how they influence and enhance pranic flow during pranayama or meditation.

*Mudras should be held in a relaxed way without tension.


Vishnu Mudra (hand gesture of Lord Vishnu) This is one of the hand gestures used to alternate the breath through the nostrils during Nadi Shodana (see pranayama). In this mudra the right hand is used as it is associated with giving while the left is associated with receiving. However if for whatever reason you need to use your left hand during practice that is fine. The thumb and fingers rest lightly just above the nostrils so very little movement is needed to close each side during practice.

Vishnu Mudra

Vishnu Mudra

Chin Mudra (psychic gesture of consciousness) Thismudra is used in either seated meditation or pranayama such as ujjayi. The hands rest on knees or thighs facing down. This Gesture has a grounding effect on the mind.The middle finger, ring, and little finger represent the three classic qualities of all of nature (the Three Gunas). The middle finger symbolizes sattva, (purity, wisdom and true understanding) the ring finger rajas, (action, passion and movement) and the little finger tamas, (inertia, lethargy and darkness). Classically the yogi is meant to transcend these states, progressing from darkness into light and from ignorance to wisdom.

Chin Mudra

Chin Mudra

Jnana Mudra (psychic gesture of knowledge) In Jnana mudra the hands are placed on the knees in seated meditation with the palms facing up. This mudra gives a feeling of spaciousness and has a subtle uplifting effect on the body and mind.In both Chin and Jnana mudra the connection made by the thumb and index figure is said to create a kind of circuit by connecting the terminus of certain nadi thus re-circulating the body’s vital energy.

Jnana Mudra

Jnana Mudra



Chinmaya Mudra(gesture of awareness) This mudra is said to influence the prana in the thoracic area of the body.

Chinmaya mudra

Chinmaya mudra



Aadi Mudra (primal or first gesture ) This mudra is made by curling the fingers around the thumb making a very light fist. It has a soothing influence on the mind and is said to positively influence breathing. Aadi mudra can be very useful in savasana at the end of asana practice to quiet the nervous system.

Aadi Mudra

Aadi Mudra



Brahma Mudra (gesture of all-pervading consciousness) This mudra is done and the fingers wrapped around the thumbs and the knuckles of both hands pressed together. The hands are then lightly pressed against the pubic bone. Brahma mudra helps to stimulate a full breath in pranayama practice.

Brahma Mudra

Brahma Mudra



Bhairava and Bhairavi Mudra (fierceaspect of Shiva and Shakti) When the right hand is placed on top it is the Shiva aspect, Bhairava. When the left is on top it is Bhairavi, the Shakti aspect; consciousness and manifestation.

Bhairavi Mudra

Bhairavi Mudra

Prana Vayu Mudras (vital air gestures, not pictured) In the science of Ayurveda the qualities of the “five elements” or pancha bhutas of earth, water, fire, air and ether are connected to and represented by prana vayus(see The Five Pranas and Chakras). These energies are symbolized by the five fingers of the hand; the thumb represents fire, the index finger is air, the middle finger is ether and the ring finger is earth while the little finger is water.

The following five mudras are thought to directly influence the “five vital airs” orprana vayus in the physical body. With each mudra, the corresponding vayu is believed to be stimulated and bring a unifying effect to the various pranas.

Prana Mudra– Tips of middle and ring finger touch the tip of the thumb.

Apana Mudra-Tips of the index and middle finger touch the tip of the thumb.

Samana Mudra– Tips of the ring and little finger touch the tip of the thumb.

Udana Mudra-Tips of the index, middle, ring and little finger touch the tip of the thumb.

Vyana Mudra-Tips of index, middle, ring and little finger touch the tip of the thumb. (same as Udana)

Any of these mudras can be done during meditation with the mind fixed on the particulararea of the body were the corresponding vayu is meant to reside. Bringing our conscious awareness to specific areas of the body helps direct the prana.


References-Prana, Pranayama, Prana Vidyaby Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

(Line drawings copyright 2009 Bruce Bowditch)

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How to Stay Grounded for a Better Meditation Practice

Do you know how to stay grounded?

This is one of the many problems a lot of us have, especially in this modern world of rapid flux. Being un-grounded, in fact, can be the cause of even more problems. This includes colds and coughs and many other issues.

Groundedness dramatically enhances meditation. In this article, we’ll look at some ways to stay connected with our bodies and the world of form so that we can improve our practices.


Signs that you’re not staying grounded:

  • Spaciness and forgetfulness
  • Being accident prone
  • Easily losing things
  • Emotional overwhelm
  • Forgetting what someone just said
  • Finding difficulty concentrating in meditation
  • Coming up with ideas and not implementing them
  • Lack of body awareness or breath awareness
  • Noise and light sensitivity

Forgetting why you just walked into the supermarket and then trying not to look stupid by going to an isle and reading the labels on the pork rinds and shuffling around some Pringles cans and then leaving the store and driving away when you finally remember what you wanted after the second traffic light, and it was actually Pringles.


What does well grounded mean? Signs of groundedness:

  • You are less overwhelmed by annoyances
  • Body awareness
  • You have a feeling of purpose
  • You get upset less easily
  • You can get more done in less time
  • Better meditation!

One way to be more grounded is to take regular walks if you have the time. Try to feel your feet as much as possible. Pay attention to the breath.

Use your senses as much as you can during the walk. “Take in” the trees, sounds of birds, smells of lawns and flowerbeds or whatever you notice.

Hatha yoga, or almost anything you’ll learn in a western yoga studio, helps you to anchor yourself in body awareness. Take some classes if you haven’t already. Anmol provides lessons as well.

Aromatherapy baths also help to anchor you in your body. Grounding essential oils include sandalwood, cedar, patchouli, frankincense and sage.

Regular exercise is a great one. I’ve been running in place the equivalent of a mile every day, and both the body awareness and the simple routine of running is very grounding.

Grounding meditations certainly help me at times. I’m thinking of the visualizations that you may find on YouTube.

There were times not very long ago when meditation was very elusive to me, and this cleared it up with a 10-15 minute visualization I found on YouTube. Meditation became easy again.

Now, I’m doing even more grounding activities in daily life and it’s getting even better.

A lot of these grounding meditations on YouTube are similar. They involve imagining roots growing from your feet into the ground and visualizing yourself receiving the Earth’s energy through those roots.

Sitting under a tree can be very relaxing and grounding for many people. Try it barefoot for added sensation. Take some normal activities like exercise, eating and reading into the yard if you have one.

Diaphragmatic breathing as often as possible will anchor you in the feeling of breath, and this can be grounding. Deep breathing also brings groundedness because breath is intimately related to awareness. When you’re less aware and present, your breathing is more shallow.

If the boss yells at you, your breathing may restrict itself. That’s because you do not want to feel the sensations associated with the scolding. Deep and calm breath means that you are open to life, sensation and feeling. These are essential components of groundedness.

Diaphragmatic breathing, through the nose, is a very good way to breathe throughout the day so that you stay present and grounded.

Put one hand on the belly and one on the chest. Breathe through the nose. Your chest shouldn’t move much. Your abdomen should inflate in all directions like a balloon.

You may feel a gentle massage-like feeling in the lower back and groin. Breathe consciously like this as much as you can.

The more you practice staying grounded, the easier it will be to meditate. Meditate smart, not hard.



How to Stay Grounded for a Better Meditation Practice

About Tom Von Deck

Tom Von Deck is a meditation trainer, corporate speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course. Tom specializes in making meditation a much easier and more customized journey for busy and non-busy people from all backgrounds and paths. He runs a hub for free meditation training at You can also find him on Facebook, Google+ and other sites.

next page next page close Master the breath of fire and it is the key to higher consciousness."
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Yoga Meditations

A collection of yoga meditations with audio instruction from Do Yoga With Me

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Mindfulness Meditation

Choose a quiet and uplifted place to do your meditation practice. Sit cross-legged on a meditation cushion, or if that’s difficult, sit on a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor, without leaning against the back of the chair.

Place your hands palms-down on your thighs and take an upright posture with a straight back, relaxed yet dignified. With your eyes open, let your gaze rest comfortably as you look slightly downward about six feet in front of you.

Place your attention lightly on your out-breath, while remaining aware of the environment around you. Be with each breath as the air goes out through your mouth and nostrils and dissolves into the space around you. At the end of each out-breath, simply rest until the next breath goes out. For a more focused meditation, you can follow both the out-breaths and in-breaths.

Whenever you notice that a thought has taken your attention away from the breath, just say to yourself, “thinking,” and return to following the breath. In this context, any thought, feeling, or perception that distracts you is labeled “thinking.” Thoughts are not judged as good or bad. When a thought arises, just gently note it and return your attention to your breath and posture.

At the end of your meditation session, bring calm, mindfulness, and openness into the rest of your day.


Source: Shambhala SunSpace

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Overcome Procrastination with Buddhist Mindfulness

3 step process to deal with procrastination:

Before your next meditation session, take a few minutes to prepare yourself to address your procrastination.

Calm your mind through slow, conscious breathing.

Take 10 deep slow breaths (breath in and observe the sensation of your inhale, breath out as slowly and consciously as you can.) After the 10 breaths, you should notice less tension and a sense of spaciousness in your mind.

Observe your thoughts and emotions about procrastination

Now, you have a calm mind, but you might still have thoughts and emotions causing procrastination. Become a neutral observer and note all the thoughts and emotions. Do not attach to them. Just notice them without condemning them as if they were clouds passing overhead. Smile softly to let your mind know that you are now in charge.

Strengthen your motivation and resolve to overcome procrastination

As you become mindful of your thoughts and emotions by simply noticing them, you are now ready for the 3rd step.
Take a few minutes to visualize the benefits of Buddhist meditation and bring the reason why you meditate into your mind.

After finishing the 3 steps, begin Buddhist meditation as scheduled.

Try to see procrastination not as a “problem” but as a great teacher to help you understand your mind/body phenomena. Embrace it as another opportunity to have moment-by-moment mindfulness and to change your behavior. Even Buddha recognized the very human tendency to procrastinate.

“We must be diligent today. To wait until tomorrow is too late. Death comes unexpectedly. How can we bargain with it?” ~ The Buddha”

Share your experiences of overcoming procrastination or challenges you encounter in the comments below.

With loving-kindness,
Spencer, a.k.a. the Urban Monk

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Loving-Kindness Meditation – Metta

Loving-Kindness Meditation – (mettā bhāvanā) is a meditation practice taught by Gautama Buddha over 2500 years ago to develop a mental habit of selfless and altruistic love.
Loving-Kindness Meditation can be practiced by itself or after Anapana, Vipassana or walking meditations. In Theravada tradition, loving-kindness is towards all sentient beings, while in Tibetan Buddhist tradition the monks practice ‘tonglen’ whereby one breathes out (“sends”) happiness and breathes in (‘receives”) suffering. (Wikipedia)
This meditation is used to develop four qualities of love:

  • Metta (Friendliness)
  • Compassion (Caruna)
  • Appreciative Joy (Mudita)
  • Equanimity (Upekkha)

“The quality of ‘friendliness’ is expressed as warmth that reaches out and embraces others. When loving-kindness practice matures it naturally overflows into compassion, as one empathizes with other people’s difficulties; on the other hand one needs to be wary of pity, as its near enemy, as it merely mimics the quality of concern without empathy. The positive expression of empathy is an appreciation of other people’s good qualities or good fortune, or appreciative joy, rather than feelings of jealousy towards them.” (Venerable Pannyavaro)”


Loving-Kindness Meditation is a meditation where the meditators recite words or phrases to cultivate compassion towards themselves, the loved ones, friends, strangers, enemies and all sentient beings. Matthieu Ricard, a Tibetan Buddhist monk and scientist, named ‘the happiest man in the world’ in the interview said that positive emotions replace negative destructive emotions. He says that 40,000 hours of meditation has enabled his brain to produce more positive emotions.
The most ancient Buddhist collection of texts “Pali Canon” defines the following benefits of Loving-Kindness meditation (mettā bhāvanā):

“One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. One is dear to human beings, dear to non-human beings. The devas protect one. Neither fire, poison, nor weapons can touch one. One’s mind gains concentration quickly. One’s complexion is bright. One dies unconfused and – if penetrating no higher – is headed for the Brahma worlds” (Wikipedia)


Neuroscientist Richard Davidson, Director of the University’s Waisman Center for Brain Imaging conducted a study with fMRI brain scans of veteran meditators (Tibetan monks with 40,000 hours of practice) and novice meditators. The study showed that Loving-Kindness Meditation has profound effects on the brain by developing compassion towards unknown people. Practicing Loving-Kindness Meditation and Compassion also showed that in fMRI the area of the brain responsible for happiness, joy, love, and contentment – lights up indicating deep contentment and happiness of the Tibetan monks in contrast to novice meditators.
Thus, meditating Loving-Kindness and compassion makes the meditator more happier. Like other meditations, meditators need to practice regularly loving-kindness meditation to cultivate mind achieve compassion. While you can practice Loving-Kindness meditation – mettā bhāvanā as a separate meditation, S.N. Goenka advises his students to do Metta meditation right after Anapana or Vipassana meditations. He believes that once you experience and achieve equanimity you are able to effectively send loving-kindness and compassion towards all sentient beings.
From my own experience in Buddhist retreats and at home, the Loving-Kindness Metta is more powerful and sincere when you are indeed having equanimity. I am also able to get into deep meditative state and do Metta meditation anywhere.
Typically Buddhist teachers suggest starting Loving-Kindness meditation towards themselves first and then gradually towards loved ones, friends, strangers, enemies and all sentient beings. You can replace “all beings” with myself, etc. Below is the example of Loving-kindness meditation mantra for all sentient beings.
How to Meditate:

  1. Sit comfortable with loose clothes and ensure that you are fully relaxed. It is better to do this meditation right after Anapana and/or Vipassana or Walking meditations.
  2. Feel the sensations at the top of your head (the crown chakra) and open up yourself towards all sentient beings.
  3. Feel the sensations or positive loving-kindness energy emanating from your heart chakra (It is a heart meditation) towards all sentient beings.
  4. From the depth of your heart repeat Metta in your mind or out loud (if alone) several times up to 15 minutes or so. I like Metta shared by Lama Surya Das


May all beings be happy, content and fulfilled, May all beings be healed and whole, May all beings have whatever they want and need May all beings be protected from harm and free from fear, May all beings be awakened, liberated and free, May there be peace on earth and the entire universe.


As you continue practicing Loving-kindness meditation, you will be able to do it anywhere – on a street, while waiting at the doctor’s office, at a party or school or at work. You will be able to bring about equanimity and do Loving-Kindness Meditation. A true test for you is to provide Loving-Kindness and Compassion towards enemies or unlikable person or unpleasant situation.
May you be happy!

With loving-kindness, Spencer, a.k.a the Urban Monk
Source: Loving-Kindness Meditation – Metta Bhavana – Buddhist Meditation Technique

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"The yogin’s meditation improves through destruction...When experiences of stillness, bliss, and clarity occur and feelings such as joy, delight, or pleasant sensations arise, you should blast this husk of attachment to experience into smithereens. —from Lion’s Gaze: A Commentary on Tsig Sum Nedek, by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche "
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