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How Can I Start Doing Yoga and Meditation?
May 28, 2015
I want to start meditation and yoga, but in my locality there is no yoga teacher to teach me.
So please guide me, how to start yoga and meditation.
Congratulations on your resolution to start practicing yoga and meditation. You are correct that it is ideal to have a teacher guiding you, but even if that is not possible, there is much you can do.
Since you are in India, for meditation, start by visiting Ananda India’s website: http://anandaindia.org/meditate/
You will find there many excellent resources for learning meditation.
As for the yoga part, I don’t know where you live, but you can check the Ananda India website to see if there is a teaching center near you. Aside from that, your best option is probably a book. My book, Spiritual Yoga, would be an excellent resource (it also addresses meditation). I wish it were available in India, but it isn’t yet. If you don’t mind ordering from the USA, you can do so here: http://www.crystalclarity.com/product.php?code=BSYHA
I hope you will find these resources helpful.
All the best to you in your new practice(s).
Where Should I Look While Meditating?
May 21, 2015
I have found it uncomfortable to look upward towards my spiritual eye while also concentrating on the Hong-Sau breath. Today I become confused as everything I had read had advised to look upward: Until I found This:
Should one concentrate on the breath and also at the point between the eyebrows
Not until the attention focuses itself naturally on the flow of breath at the beginning of the nose. To do so otherwise would constitute a division of concentration which would be self-defeating
You should lift your gaze only slightly above the horizon. Perhaps you are turning your eyes up at a sharp angle, which would be both difficult and uncomfortable. In any case, do not try to see something in the direction you are looking, as that will divide your attention, which should be completely on the breath. Concentrate on your breath wherever you can feel it most easily. Gradually you will feel it higher and higher in the nose, until you feel it at a place toward which your gaze is turned.
Here is an approach that Swami Kriyananda suggested and you might find helpful: feel as though your eyeballs exist only in the upper half of their sockets. In this approach, there the gaze will turn slightly upward by itself. Try it.
I hope this will help.
Blessings on your practice,
Do We Really Need to Attain Samadhi?
April 29, 2015
Is attaining the permanent state of Nirbikalpa Samadhi (Nivikalapa or Nirbeej Samadhi) necessary for a soul to attain Liberation/Moksha?
In Adi Shankara’s vivekachudamani he seems to be indicating very clearly that unless one unites one’s soul with spirit in samadhi, there is no question of moksha.
However, in the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna in several places indicates several ways by which we can reach him and he does not seem to insist on Nirbikalpa Samadhi for Moksha.
According to Paramhansa Yogananda, nirbikalpa samadhi is indeed a necessary step toward the higher state of moksha (liberation). I suspect that Sri Krishna does not elaborate on samadhi states in the Gita because he is emphasizing the things we need to do in order to approach samadhi. First things first!
But do not be discouraged, for we do not know what states we have already obtained in past lives. Yoganandaji asked one of his most advanced disciples, when she was on her deathbed, if she had any last wish. When she asked for samadhi, he told her that she was beyond that. And yet, advanced as she was, she didn’t know! I find that very encouraging.
In any case, Hitesh, all we can do is keep meditating and leave the results in God’s hands.
Meditation Is Making Me Sweat — Is Something Wrong?
April 27, 2015
I am doing meditation but by blood pressure is increasing after meditation .Also at time of meditation sweat is leaving from all over my body .My question is is this natural ?if not please give me some suggestion
Since you have not described what kind of meditation you practice, I can’t answer it specifically, but I can give you some general tips that might help you. Usually true meditation doesn’t raise blood pressure, or cause excessive perspiration.
What can raise blood pressure is vigorous breathing techniques, holding the breath deliberately, and keeping the body or mind tense. The sweat can be caused by overly exerting the body through aggressive breathing techniques, by moving energy too quickly through the body, or encountering energy blockages.
Please check if what you are doing is straining your body instead of relaxing it. Meditation should not agitate or strain the body.
You might stop practicing your particular technique until you can discuss the specifics of what you are doing with someone who is an expert in meditation and can help you.
You can also try this meditation technique offered by Paramhansa Yogananda, which is unlikely to cause these symptoms.
I hope you will be able to meditate peacefully.
Tips for Staying Awake During Meditation
April 16, 2015
I would like to ask if there are any tips you can suggest to keep myself awake during morning meditation.
In my case, I wake up, cleanse my face and mouth in the morning, sit to meditate but at times feel so drowsy that I’ve to shorten the meditation or at times i fall asleep while meditating. I feel that if you can suggest tips of staying awake, I will be able to meditate on the duration i set myself on.
There are things that you can do to help you stay awake during your morning meditation.
Paramhansa Yogananda created a set of 39 simple exercises which are called The Energization Exercises. He recommended to practice them before sitting for meditation. These exercises will recharge your body with energy, help focus your mind and fill your soul with joy.
(You can purchase the Energization Exercises DVD here. If you have an iPhone, you may also find the Energization Exercises app very helpful.)
So after you wash up in the morning, practice these exercises, then sit to meditate. Make sure that your meditation room has good air circulation and that the temperature in the room is on the cool side. You can wrap yourself with a shawl to stay warm. Here are a few breathing techniques you can use before meditation—start with them you meditate.
Once you learn the Energization Exercises, it will take you 12–15 minutes to practice them, and you will be awake and ready for your morning meditation.
Blessings on your practice,
I'm Seeing Symbols; What Do They Mean?
April 6, 2015
Greetings of joy! ive been seeing a lot of astral symbols and I don’t always know the meaning. ive learned the meaning of some and im eager to know more. these astral symbols appear before my awareness bright with a similarity close to caricatures on a monopoly board. I know these symbols are meant to guide me and affirm whats going on with my consciousness at the time. Also I see numbers and Id like to know the meaning. please inform me of any informational resources. Thanks. Joseph
Thank you for your greetings and joy to you also! Are these symbols and numbers coming to you as a part of your meditations? If so, then they are probably gifts to you from God to encourage you to go yet deeper into your meditative life.
As to their exact meaning, it would be hard to say unless I could know exactly what they looked like. If you want to e-mail me personally being more specific, I will try to answer back more specifically. You can write to email@example.com.
But in general, it is probably best for you to pray to God/Guru to be given the answers to your questions about symbols and numbers. They are being given to you personally and thus, their meanings should be give to you personally also, from the Divine Source where they came from, if at all possible.
They best way to do this is to pray deeply at the beginning of your meditation, that the answers to your questions will be revealed to you. Then set aside the questions and go ahead with your regular meditation practice calming your breath and mind.
Try not to think of these things, but meditate with peaceful assurance that your questions will be answered in the right time. At the close of your meditation, ask again and sit quietly to see if it is revealed to you. If it doesn’t happen immediately, then go on with your life and have faith that the answers will eventually be offered to you at your next meditation or at some later time.
Often answers come to us in very unexpected ways and at unexpected times, especially when we sincerely pray for divine guidance.
I Saw an Oval Shadow in Meditation
April 6, 2015
today I was trying to meditate (it must be the 4th or 5th time I try to do it in my life) and something intrigued me: during the meditation I saw an oval shadow and thought of the word 'oblongata'.
I googled it afterwards and saw what it was. I heard about it once but never thought of it again.
with your experience, could you help me in understanding if it was some kind of message or if it was just a subconsious suggestion? it brought me mixed feelings
thank you very much
Dear S in Portugal,
When we meditate, many things can appear to us. Some are important and some or not. Some are messages from our higher Selves or God and some are just the meanderings of the subconscious or conscious minds. To determine the difference is not always easy, but we can try.
First, I would encourage you to keep meditating regularly, every day! If you don’t know how to meditate, then learn the techniques of meditation which will help you keep up a steady practice. We can help you with this.
Then at the beginning of the next meditation, pray that if this shape is to have a special meaning for you, then the meaning will be revealed to you at the close of your meditation or at some later time.
The word oblongata has a special place in Yogananda’s teachings — it refers to the medulla oblongata or as Yogananda calls it, the "mouth of God." It is where prana or life-force enters the body and is very important as a part of the techniques of meditations from his path of Kriya Yoga. Perhaps this is a sign to you that this is your path to follow. It is a very good path, indeed!
In recent weeks I have had my concentration shattered during meditation. Many images and sounds appear in my mind. The strange thing is that they are extremely clear and detailed as if I was seeing and hearing physically. Several times during the meditation I have to bring my attention back and avoid these "lucid dreams".
My meditation used to be quiet, but now it is disturbed by voices , images and faces of people I’ve never seen before.
What can I do?
When you have a regular meditation practice, you will probably encounter a number of disturbances of various kinds during meditation over the years. It can be disconcerting to have this happen, but it doesn’t necessarily signify that something is wrong. It does mean that during these times you will need to put out more energy in your meditations to concentrate and to continue to push these images away — as you are already doing.
The most important thing to do at times like this, is to steadily continue on with your regular meditation routine. This is usually the way out of such disturbances. Your regular practices will act as a calming influence on your mind and lead you forward — even if at the time it can feel as though you are in the middle of a battlefield!
The other more subtle aspect of having these things happen, especially when you describe them as being “extremely clear and detailed, as if I was seeing and hearing physically,” is to not encourage them by continuing to give them energy. You can do this by not continuing to think about them, and mulling them over in your mind.
Why do things like this happen? Well, it can be from a number of causes. No matter what the cause, it does present a good opportunity to look at what the rest of your life looks like. Is there anything that you are doing that could be causing such disturbances? It might be things such as associating with old friends, family troubles, the movies you watch, the daily news, trouble at work, etc. These are just some ideas of the kinds of things that could be disturbing your meditations.
In addition, these kinds of disturbances could be caused by your own past karma. Actions done either in this life, or previous lives, are all registered in the subconscious mind. The energy from these actions travels with us through all our lifetimes, and is only resolved completely when we are spiritually liberated. In the meantime, this karma can come up and affect us in various ways in our present lifetime. Paramhansa Yogananda referred to these happenings as “karmic bombs.” These can go off at any time in our life given the right circumstances. Again, the best way to deal with them, is to continue your meditation practice, keeping it strong and focused, and not keep these disturbances active by thinking about them too much. The disturbances are there, and the way out of them is to look to the light, not to focus on the disturbance. If you have a guru, then the other important thing to do, it to pray to him/her for help, guidance, and grace (spiritual power) to move beyond them.
I hope this will help you in what you are dealing with.
In divine friendship,
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