Showing posts with label mindfulness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mindfulness. Show all posts

Does Mindfulness Really Work? A Scientific Enquiry.

 


The process of paying nonjudgmental attention to the current moment has been termed as mindfulness.

The awareness of breathing is commonly employed as an attentional anchor to manage ruminative thought in the early stages of mindfulness training; however mindfulness involves much more than just noticing the breath.


It is based on Buddhist practice and has been the subject of empirical research, with over scientific publications on mindfulness released in the last decade. The evidence for its use in the treatment of depression and anxiety is the strongest.

The impact sizes of mindfulness in these two illnesses have often been reported in the moderate-strong to strong range in meta-analyses. However, because some of the studies included in these meta-analyses failed to account for the placebo effect, it's not unexpected that meta-analyses with stricter inclusion criteria yield lower results.

A recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and other mindfulness-based interventions—each with an active control—found small to moderate effect sizes in the treatment of depression or anxiety after eight weeks of mindfulness training, with a reduction in effect size after three to six months.


Although the findings are less impressive, they are equivalent to those that would be expected from antidepressant therapy in a primary care population without the side effects.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the American Psychiatric Association both recommend mindfulness-based cognitive treatment for individuals with recurrent depression, based on these findings.

Other psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia spectrum disorders, eating disorders, chemical and non-chemical addiction disorders, and sleep disorders, may benefit from mindfulness-based therapies, according to some data.

Despite the fact that mindfulness has recently been added to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' practice guidelines as a non-first-line treatment for adults with binge eating disorder, there is arguably insufficient evidence from well-designed randomized trials to support its use for conditions other than depression and anxiety.


Mindfulness may potentially have a role in the treatment of somatic illnesses such as psoriasis, cancer, HIV infection, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, hypertension, lung disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic pain, according to growing evidence.

Randomized trials show that mindfulness-based therapies, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive therapy, are minimally to moderately effective in the treatment of chronic pain, with potential applications in the treatment of pain-related diseases like fibromyalgia.

However, it's unclear if mindfulness improves patients' capacity to manage with pain or lessens the frequency and severity of pain.

There is inadequate high-quality data to support mindfulness for treating somatic diseases, except for chronic pain and particular pain syndromes.



Questions that remain unanswered


As previously stated, different methodological issues restrict the overall quality of the data on mindfulness's efficacy.

A type of "popularity impact" may impact results in particular. Because mindfulness is becoming more popular, participants' perceptions of getting a "fashionable" or "proven" psychotherapy practice may affect outcomes.

Because it's very hard to blind patients from the knowledge that they're employing mindfulness techniques, this is a challenging confounding variable to control for.

We also need more clarity on whether positive outcomes last for years rather than months, whether mindfulness interventions have any negative side effects, and the validity of the traditional view among contemplative traditions that long-term improvements in health and wellbeing require daily mindfulness practice over many years, rather than just attending a retreat.


In addition, data is needed to identify whether mindfulness in general or specific interventional procedures are more useful for a particular condition.

Numerous interventions have been developed, with significant variation in factors such as total participant-facilitator contact hours, including whether one-on-one contact is provided, quantity and duration of guided mindfulness exercises, use of non-mindfulness psychotherapeutic techniques such as psychoeducation or group discussion, inclusion of a full day silent retreat, and emphasis on self-practitioner interaction.

Mindfulness is defined and operationalized differently in different interventions. Recent research, for example, has concentrated on second-generation mindfulness therapies like the eight-week Meditation Awareness Training, which are founded on the notion that mindfulness is a psycho-spiritual rather than just psychological skill.

It's challenging to extrapolate findings across the whole spectrum of treatments due to significant differences in design and pedagogic approach.


Mindfulness appears to be beneficial in improving perceptual distance from stressful psychological and physical stimuli and in causing functional neuro-plastic changes in the brain, according to emerging evidence.

However, mindfulness's "fashionable" reputation among the public and the scientific community may have obscured the need to investigate crucial methodological and practical difficulties related to its efficacy.


You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.



6 Step Mindfulness Focused Attention Exercise


The mind is a potent weapon. You learn to train and operate with this instrument in a deliberate, concentrated manner via mindfulness practice. 

This exercise allows you to experiment with your mind's power, teaching you how to gently guide it in various directions. 

You'll also see the auditory and visual thinking patterns of the mind. Bring a sense of wonder and amusement to this exercise, and don't take yourself too seriously. 


Instructions. 


  1. You will need to close your eyes for this exercise. Take a time to pay attention to how your body is relaxing. Allow the muscles to relax while keeping the spine as straight as possible. 
  2. Try to recall the room or location where you are seated with your eyes closed. Can you imagine where your body is lying in the room? In your mind's eye, try to see the room. Consider the floor, the walls, and any doors that may be there. See what more you can think of to fill in the blanks in your head. 
  3. Imagine yourself somewhere tranquil as you leave the room. It might be a beach, a forest, or any other location that you consider to be your "happy spot." Visualize the area around you in the same manner. Make an effort to include as many information as possible. 
  4. After you've let go of the vision, think of a song or melody you're familiar with. In your thoughts, try to hear the words or tune. 
  5. Now use your thoughts to alter your perception of the tune. Reduce the volume of the song in your thoughts to make it silent. Increase the volume a little. Investigate what it's like to slow or speed up the tune. 
  6. At the conclusion of this practice, take a minute to acknowledge the strength of your own mind. You can conjure up images, play music, and change the experience in any manner you like with just a little effort! 


What to do if when you realize that your focus is slowly slipping while meditating. 


  • You may find yourself lost in a long stream of thinking for several minutes before you know it. 
  • If you lose concentration during a meditation session, go back to the last item you recall carefully watching, and if that doesn't work, go back to the breath. 
  • You have the option to teach your mind to remain present once you notice it has drifted off. Return to your practice as often as you need to.


You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.



6 Step Mindfulness Exercise to Find the Breath


The body breathes continually, and the breath moves continually. Not only is your breath the ideal place to start, but it's also a constant that you can return to whenever you need a little centering. 

You will softly locate the breath in the body in this initial practice. Nothing has to be figured out, no issues need to be solved, and nothing extraordinary has to be done. 

Return to your firsthand sense of body breathing on a regular basis. You're teaching your mind to focus on a single event without being distracted. 


Instructions

  1. Find a body posture that is comfortable for you. Sitting is frequently advised since it keeps the body alert and energetic. You can also try standing or resting flat on your back. You can use a yoga mat, a meditation cushion, or a chair to sit on. For a few minutes of silence, choose anything that feels comfortable and sustained. 
  2. Allow the eyes to shut gently. Try lightly staring at the floor or ceiling if you're more at ease with your eyes open (depending on your position). Allow the eyes to settle in one place and relax. The goal is to keep your practice as distraction-free as possible. 
  3. Bring your attention to your stomach. See if you can feel the natural rising and falling by relaxing the muscles there. Assume the body is breathing on its own. Observe the movement from the navel to the obliques with each inhalation. Like thus, take a few deep breathes. 
  4. Raise your awareness to your chest. Pay attention to the expansion of the lungs and the lifting of the chest when you inhale. Feel the constriction and movement as you exhale. Try following the sensation of your breath from the start of your inhale to the finish of your exhale. 
  5. Pay close attention to the nostrils now. Here, the sensation of breathing may be more mild. Take a deep breath and see what comes up for you. As you breathe in, you may feel a tiny tickling at the tip of your nose. On the walk out, you may notice that your breath is somewhat warmer. 
  6. In one of these three areas, focus your attention on your body's breathing. Refocus on the immediate feeling of the breath when the mind wanders. For a minute or two, keep an eye on your breath. Bring this awareness into your daily life when you finish this term of practice. To assist the mind stay present, stay in touch with your body's breath. 


Our Mind, The Wanderer

The mind's natural instinct is to wander. Even the most experienced meditators suffer from wandering thoughts! The brain was created to analyze data; it's simply doing its job. 

Instead of perceiving this as a problem, consider it a chance to improve your awareness. 

Bring forgiveness, curiosity, and patience to these times, and bring your attention back to the breath anytime it wanders.


You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.



11 Mindfulness Terms to Know



  1. TONE OF FEELING: The sensation of something being pleasant, bad, or neutral. Hearing a bird chirp, for example, may have a nice feeling tone, whilst scratching may have an awful feeling tone. 
  2. GROWING EDGES: Areas in which we have room to expand. We are frequently faced with challenging situations in which we must battle, but we also have a strong chance to learn. 
  3. HOOKED IN and UNHOOKED: When we become completely immersed in a situation, we lose control over how we act. Unhooking is the process of letting go of an experience and regaining consciousness. 
  4. LOVING-KINDNESS: The act of caring for the well-being of others and the quality of doing so. Loving-kindness is an act of extending one's heart to others and greeting them with kindness. 
  5. MANTRA/PHRASE: Phrases and mantras are utilized as an object of consciousness in various techniques. A phrase, often known as a mantra, is a brief line that is used to nurture an intention and to keep focused on a goal. 
  6. MEDITATION: Meditation is simply the act of setting aside time to cultivate a mental or emotional quality, usually in quiet. Meditation may be done while walking, cleaning dishes, or eating, however it is most commonly done in a seated position. 
  7. MONKEY MIND: A mental condition in which the mind jumps from branch to branch, much like a monkey does. 
  8. NOTING: The act of mentally expressing what we are feeling. Noting is the act of silently uttering something in one's brain in order to perceive something clearly without being engrossed in it. 
  9. PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM: The component of the central nervous system involved for downregulation, such as decreasing the heart rate, relaxing muscles, and boosting gland activity.
  10. PRESENT TIME EXPERIENCE: Whatever is going on in our lives right now. What arises into our experience on a moment-by-moment basis is what we call the present-time experience. It is always changing, full of many sensations, and always present.
  11. SENSE-DOORS: Smell, taste, hearing, touch/feeling, sight, and cognition are the six basic senses that may be accessible in our mindfulness practice. We observe phenomena originating and passing via the sense-doors.


You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.


7 Keys to Creating and Establishing a Mindfulness Practice


To create mindfulness in your life, you don't need anything unique or "additional." 

The hardest thing is generally getting started, but as you figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle, it gets simpler. 

Pay attention to what feels easy, fluid, and "correct" while you practice, as well as what produces friction and resistance. 

To help you start a mindfulness practice, use the activities in this article, the advice for getting started, and your own intuition. 

I've heard a lot of various methods to get started in my years of teaching, and they're all slightly different—personalized to the individual. 



Here are a few tips to help you get started on the path to mindfulness:

 



    1. FORMALIZING A PRACTICE 


    I struggled to practice meditation when I first started; it seemed like a chore. 

    But as I practiced more frequently, it became second nature to me. I even began to look forward to my daily minutes of mindfulness. My confidence and interest in mindfulness developed as the advantages of my practice began to manifest in my daily life, and meditation became more simpler and more fun. 

    • All you have to do is show up and put forth a little effort to practice mindfulness. 
    • The important components you'll work on as you develop your mindfulness practice are listed below. These will form a framework to base and build on your mindfulness practice. 


    2. SETTING A SCHEDULE FOR MEDITATION.


    It may seem tough to find time to meditate with your hectic schedule. This is a typical difficulty in my experience dealing with people from all over the world, but you can surely find time to practice.

    •  Making mindfulness a priority is the key. 
    • Setting aside dedicated practice time, getting up a few minutes earlier than normal, or setting a calendar reminder to practice in the afternoon are all helpful.
    •  You don't have to commit to 30 minutes of practice each day right away; start with 5 minutes. 


    3. CREATING SPACE FOR PRACTICE. 


    You may have difficulty locating an appropriate practice location. Keep in mind that this may be done almost anyplace. 

    Let go of the notion that there are “good” and “bad” places. 

    • You may also designate a spot in your house to meditation—find a place that is somewhat peaceful and calming. 
    • If your workplace or work environment is too cluttered, consider practicing in your car first. 
    • If you're comfortable, you can also use public locations like beaches, parks, and peaceful highways. 


    4. CHOOSING AN OBJECTIVE. 


    You wouldn't be here unless you have a certain goal in mind. 

    What motivates you to seek out a more mindful way of life? 

    • Whatever your response, it is beneficial to remind yourself of this underlying aim on a regular basis, connecting with what motivates you. 
    • The mind may try to persuade you not to meditate or that you don't have enough time. 
    • Fighting these impulses is sometimes fruitless. Instead, bring your attention back to your main goal. Keep in mind what is important to you. 


    5. CONSISTENCY BUILDING. 


    The exercises will allow you to explore mindfulness in a variety of ways in your life. 

    • Try to utilize one mindfulness exercise at least once a day, always having your mindfulness objective in mind. 
    • Consistent practice aids in efficient mind training. 
    • When you practice every day, you soon develop the habit. 

    It's similar to going to the gym: if you just attend once a month, you're unlikely to see immediate effects. If you go twice a week, though, all of those small small moments of exercise add up, and you become stronger. 

    Mindfulness is a long-term commitment; as you practice, your mental muscle grows stronger. 


    6. GETTING IN TOUCH WITH A FRIEND. 


    • Support from friends and family may go a long way toward promoting new behaviors. 
    • Once a day, invite a friend or family member to practice with you. 
    • This will offer you a sense of accountability to someone other than yourself, which is always beneficial. 
    • You'll also have the chance to communicate with someone else about your experience, which will benefit you both as you progress through practice together. 


    7. MAINTENANCE OF A JOURNAL. 


    Get yourself a journal to keep track of your mindfulness practice. 

    Take a few brief notes when you've finished practicing for the day. 

    • What was the outcome of your practice? 
    • Is there anything fresh or fascinating that has come up? 
    • What are your thoughts? 

    Writing down your mindfulness experience may help you grasp it better, ingrain your newfound insight into your mind, and offer you something to reflect on. I still go back and look at my first meditation diary again and again, and I like seeing how far I've come.




    You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.





    8 Research based Benefits of Mindfulness


    Mindfulness has been researched in clinical settings with the use of brain imaging equipment and intensive psychological assessment. 

    Despite the fact that mindfulness research is still in its early stages, researchers are finding tangible proof of the anecdotal claims that meditators have made for generations. 

    Many studies show that just a few weeks of practice may lead to changes in behavior and brain activity, with individuals sustaining the favorable benefits for up to a year after completing a mindfulness-based training program. 

    Understanding the study may help you understand why you're undertaking this exercise in the first place, as well as provide you a peek of some of the potential advantages. 



      1. REDUCTION OF STRESS. 


      In 2010, a group of academics reviewed previous data and concluded that mindfulness was useful in reducing anxiety and stress. 

      This was true whether or not the subjects had previously been diagnosed with anxiety or stress problems. 


      2. WORKING MEMORY AND FOCUS HAVE BEEN IMPROVED. 


      Mindfulness, according to research from the University of California, Santa Barbara, helps people stay focused and utilize newly learned knowledge more successfully. 

      Participants reported much reduced mind wandering after just two weeks of mindfulness practice, which is a promising outcome. 


      3. BENEFITS FOR THE BODY. 


      Mindfulness has been shown to have several bodily advantages. 

      Regular meditation has been shown in studies to improve digestion, enhance the immune system, lower blood pressure, speed up the healing process, and reduce inflammation. 

      It's not only about taking care of your mind when it comes to mindfulness! 


      4. BETTER SLEEP IS REQUIRED. 


      According to Harvard Health, studies demonstrate that mindfulness can aid in falling and staying asleep. A meditation practice, regardless of when you perform it, is likely to help with this. 


      5. SOLVING PROBLEMS IN A CREATIVE MANNER. 


      Researchers revealed in a 1982 study that meditation might help people solve issues more creatively. 

      Cultivating mental calm allows you to think in fresh ways, see challenges from various perspectives, and work more efficiently toward a solution. 

      This can also help you deal with stress in the family, at work, and in everyday life as a side effect. 


      6. LONELINESS FEELINGS ARE FEWER. 


      Loneliness has been linked to bad health consequences. After just eight weeks of mindfulness meditation, participants in a research at the University of California, Los Angeles reported feeling less lonely. 

      This was true whether the people were alone or in the company of a group of friends. Furthermore, individuals who only exercised mindfulness found that they felt more connected and content. 

      After a prolonged research of loneliness in the UK, British Prime Minister Theresa May even named a Minister for Loneliness in January 2018. 


      7. SELF-ESTEEM HAS BEEN IMPROVED. 


      This is something that many of us battle with. Mindfulness practice has been demonstrated to improve self-esteem in people from all walks of life. 

      It can help you enhance your body image, feeling of self-worth, and overall satisfaction with who you are. 


      8. REGULATION OF MOOD. 


      Although mindfulness is not a replacement for adequate medical treatment, it is a valuable tool for regulating mood disorders and difficulties. 

      If you're dealing with depression, anxiety, or mood swings, mindfulness may be able to assist you.

      Mindfulness has been shown to assist people with and without mood disorders calm their emotions.


      You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.





      9 Key Defining Aspects of a Mindfulness Practice



      You've come here because you've decided to start looking into mindfulness. It's a significant step that ought to be acknowledged and applauded. Take a moment to congratulate yourself. 


      Let's take a look at the many latent behaviors you'll be developing as you begin to grasp mindfulness practice:




        1. BEING ENTIRELY PRESENT.


        • This is the most well-known and fundamental mindfulness meditation technique, yet it takes practice to master. 
        • As you practice, you may need to bring your thoughts back to the present moment several times. 
        • You'll find yourself more naturally able to relax in present-time awareness as you continue to train your mind to remain present. 


        2. CLEARLY SEEING. 


        • This part of mindfulness may also be thought of as a recognition of what you're going through. 
        • You are able to recognize pain when it occurs. 
        • When anxiety is there, you may identify it as such. 


        3. LETTING GO OF JUDGMENT. 


        • You are acquiring the knowledge to clearly understand what you are feeling in the current moment. 
        • You could observe that your mind categorizes anything (a sensation, a concept, etc.) as good or terrible, correct or incorrect, positive or negative. 
        • You may let go of such value judgements through mindfulness practice. 
        • You may remind yourself that you don't have to trust every judgment that comes your way. 
        • Accept anything you find in your thoughts, including any sentiments of "liking" or "disliking" it. 


        4. EQUANIMOUSNESS. 


        • Equanimity is the trait of being calm and composed, particularly when confronted with tough or unpleasant situations. 
        • Regardless of how simple or challenging the experience is, the amount of energy and effort you put into it can stay constant. 
        • You'll learn to go through challenging situations with balance and stability if you do it this way. 


        5. PERMITTING EVERYTHING TO FIT IN. 


        • There are many different kinds of experiences in life, and you may find yourself welcoming some in while excluding others. 
        • “Everything belongs,” says English monk Ajahn Sumedho to his students. 
        • You don't have to omit any idea, emotion, or experience when practicing mindfulness. 
        • Pay attention to whatever comes up and create room for the unpleasant. 


        6. CULTIVATING THE MIND OF A BEGINNER 


        • Approach new information with a sense of wonder and a desire to comprehend it. 
        • You can slip into "autopilot" when you have a better awareness of the world around you, believing that you know exactly how things function and what you're doing.
        • Work to build beginner's mind, viewing experiences and circumstances as if it's your first time, to promote a good mindfulness practice. 
        • Keep your mind open to fresh ideas and be aware of when it begins to close. 


        7. PATIENCE IS AN ESSENTIAL QUALITY. 


        The majority of individuals come to mindfulness and meditation with a specific objective in mind. They want to learn to manage their anxiety, deal with daily challenges, or work through their anger. 

        • It's fine to set goals, but remember to be patient; being too fixated on a single conclusion will stymie your development. 
        • Patience necessitates a small amount of faith in the exercise, your teacher, and yourself. 
        • Keep your goal in mind, and keep in mind that change takes time


        8. FORMING A FRIENDSHIP. 


        It's not about punishing yourself with mindfulness! 

        • Kindness is an important component of practice, and it begins with being nice to oneself. 
        • You might become reactive and unable to see clearly if you lack kindness. 
        • When practicing, be kind with yourself and your experience. 
        • Act as though your mind is an ally rather than a foe.  


        9. YOU ARE HONORING YOURSELF. 


        • To begin practicing mindfulness, you don't need to have a clear mind, be totally calm, or be a master of compassion. 
        • Begin wherever you are, and give yourself credit for showing up in the first place. This is a workout, not a competition. 
        • You are not being evaluated, and if you are having difficulties, it does not indicate that something is wrong with you or your thinking. 
        • Be honest to yourself and give yourself room to grow.




        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.






        12 Steps to Start a Personal Sadhana Practice

         


        I encourage you to start a sadhana and make it second nature to your being. Sadhana is a Sanskrit term that means "daily spiritual practice." This means you must commit to practicing it every day. All other practical affairs should be built on top of the Sadhana. 



        Here is a guiding framework for you to help make your own sadhana:

         

         

        1. BRAHMA MUHURTA 


        • At 4 a.m., get up. Respond to nature's cries. 
        • Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth out. 
        • If at all feasible, take a bath. 
        • Make plans to sit for Dhyana as soon as possible, because Brahma Muhurta is ideal for God meditation.


        2. ASANA 


        • Practice sitting in only one Asana at a time, preferably Padmasana or any other comfortable posture that allows you to sit for lengthy periods of time without causing physical strain. 
        • Sit in a straight line with your body, head, and neck. 
        • Sit for at least one hour at a stretch between 5 and 6 a.m., with no physical movement.


        3. PRAYER


        • Mentally prostrate yourself before Acharyas, your Guru, and Ishta Devata or Divinity of Choice. 
        • Pray for the happiness, serenity, and enjoyment of all beings. 
        • Recite a few Slokas or Hymns of prayer to generate magnificent ideas. 
        • Only pray for wisdom and dedication.


        4. JAPA 


        • Mentally chant the Ishta Mantra for 5 to 10 Malas (108 beads) every day.


        5. DHYANA 


        • Simple Pranayama should be practiced for two minutes before going into true meditation. 
        • Feel the Lord's presence and take on his shape inside you. Consider the Lord's traits in and around you, such as purity, love, perfection, all-pervading intellect, bliss-absolute, omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience. 
        • Consider Ishta Devata's form right now. When your attention wanders away from your meditation object, recite the Ishta Mantra. This will help to calm the mind. 
        • At night, have another meditation sitting. Meditation is crucial, so don't overlook it. Regular meditation practice is a process of divinizing oneself in preparation for God realization.


        6. SVADHYAYA. 


        • Every day, read one chapter or 10 verses of the Bhagavad Gita, or any sacred literature that can improve your psychological and spiritual culture.


        7. FITNESS EXERCISES. 


        • Asanas, Surya Namaskara, 
        • Or any other effective exercise for physical movement of the body in whatever manner that is most appropriate for you should be practiced.


        8. EAT LIGHT AND SIMPLE FOOD.


        • Maintain a well-balanced diet. 
        • On Ekadasi days, fast or eat just milk and fruits or root. 
        • Every bite of food you consume should be offered to God.


        9. SEVA OR SERVICE (BOTH DEVOTIONAL AND SOCIAL).


        • Give one hour of unselfish service every day, or one or more hours on Sundays and holidays.


        10. ENERGY  AND POTENCY.


        • For two hours each day, and four to eight hours on Sundays and holidays, practice abstinence from speaking and remain devoid of worldly ideas. 
        • Observe celibacy in accordance with your age and situation. 
        • Limit yourself to once a month for any indulgences. 
        • Reduce it to once a year over time. 
        • Finally, make a lifelong pledge of abstinence.


        11. REGULATED SLEEP.


        • Go to bed early, preferably before 10 p.m. It is not required to rest for more than six hours.


        12. SPIRITUAL DIARY.


        • Begin keeping a daily journal the day you begin Sadhana. 
        • At all costs, stick to your daily routine; never say tomorrow, for tomorrow never arrives. 
        • The spiritual journal you keep in your secluded Sadhana practice serves as an absentee Guru, reminding you to stay consistent in your everyday habits and spiritual activities.



        You may also like to read more about Meditation, Guided Meditation, Mindfulness Mediation and Healing here.









        20 Spiritual Rules for a Yogic Lifestyle

         




        1. Get up every day at 4 a.m. This is Brahmamuhurta, which is ideal for contemplation of God.


        2. ASANA: For Japa and meditation, sit for half an hour in Padma, Siddha, or Sukha Asana, facing east or north. Gradually increase the time to three hours. Maintain Brahmacharya and health by performing Sirshasana and Sarvangasana. Regularly engage in light physical activities such as walking. Perform a total of twenty Pranayamas.

        3. JAPA: From 108 to 21,600 times per day, repeat any Mantra as pure Om or Om Namo Narayanaya, Om Namah Sivaya, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om Saravanabhavaya Namah, Sita Ram, Sri Ram, Hari Om, or Gayatri, according to your preference.

        4. DIETARY DISCIPLINE: Suddha Ahara, eat Sattvic food. Remove chillies, tamarind, garlic, onion, sour foods, oil, mustard, and asafoetida from your diet. Consume food in moderation (Mitahara). Don't put too much food in your stomach. For a fortnight per year, give up the things that the mind enjoys the most. Simple foods should be consumed. Concentration is aided by milk and fruits. To keep life going, use food as medication. It is a sin to eat for pleasure. For a month, avoid salt and sweets. You must be able to survive solely on rice, dhal, and bread. For Dhal, don't ask for more salt, and for tea, coffee, or milk, don't ask for sugar.


        5. Create a separate meditation space that is locked and secured to avoid distractions and disturbances.


        6. CHARITY: Give to charity on a regular basis, such as once a month or even daily, depending on your financial situation, such as six paise per rupee.

        7. SVADHYAYA: Spend half an hour to an hour every day studying the Gita, the Ramayana, the Bhagavata, Sri Vishnu-Sahasranama, Lalita-Sahasranama, Aditya Hridaya, Upanishads or Yoga Vasishtha, the Bible, Zend Avesta, the Koran, the Tripitakas, the Granth Sahib, and other sacred texts, and having Sud

        8. BRAHMACHARYA: Protect the vital power (Veerya) with extreme caution. Veerya—Vibhuti—is God in action or manifestation. Veerya is a force to be reckoned with. Veerya is all about the cash. Veerya is the essence of life, intellect, and cognition.

        9. PRAYER SLOKAS: Memorize a few prayer slokas or Stotras and recite them as soon as you sit in an Asana before beginning Japa or meditation. This will rapidly boost the mind.


        10. SATSANGA: Attend Satsanga (Pious or Noble or Good Company). Don't hang out with nasty people who smoke, consume excesses, abuse substances or drink alcoholic beverages. Don't get into any bad habits through mental, social and emotional contagion.


        11. EKADASI FASTING: Fast on Ekadasi or live solely on milk and fruits.

        12. JAPA MAALA: At night, wear your Japa Maala (rosary) around your neck, in your pocket, or under your pillow.

        13. MOUNA: Every day, for a few of hours, observe Mouna (the vow of silence).

        14. SPEAK THE TRUTH AT ALL COSTS: Speak the truth at all costs. Speak up a little bit. Speak with a nice tone.


        15. Minimize your desires. Reduce the quantity of shirts to three or two if you have four. Live a joyful, fulfilled life. Avoid worrying about things that aren't necessary. Have a simple way of life and a lofty mindset.


        16. NEVER HURT ANYONE: Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever (Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah). Control your anger with love, forgiveness, and Daya (compassion).

        17. DO NOT RELY ON SERVANTS: Do not put your trust in servants. The highest of all qualities is self-reliance.

        18. SELF-ANALYSIS: Before going to bed, think on the mistakes you've made throughout the day (self-analysis). Keep a daily journal and a self-correction log. Do not dwell on previous blunders.

        19. COMPLETE DUTIES: Always keep in mind that death is only around the corner. Never fail to carry out your responsibilities. Have a good moral code (Sadachara).


        20. SURRENDER TO GOD: As soon as you wake up and as soon as you go to sleep, think about God. Completely surrender yourself to God (Saranagati).




        You may also like to read more about Meditation, Guided Meditation, Mindfulness Mediation and Healing here.




        Pranayama Helps Aid Meditation


        According to Patanjali, the founder of Yoga philosophy, pranayama clears the mind and prepares it for focus. Prana is the vital force or cosmic energy that drives all motion, even that which occurs within an atom. 

        The prana—the energy or force—is responsible for all movement, including thinking movement. Prana is electricity. Prana is the energy that allows you to breathe. 

        Prana governs your digestion. Although the many functions have distinct names, they are all the same stream or energy known as prana. Control, regulation, or mastery are all terms used to describe Ayama. 

        Pranayama is the control or regulation of prana, not the retention of prana. It's about correctly channeling the prana and directing it in the direction you choose.

        Inhalation (puraka), expiration (rechaka), and retention (pranayama) are the three primary aspects of pranayama (kumbhaka). 

        There's also a part when you don't do anything; your respiration simply ceases. Kevala kumbhaka is the term for automatic retention that occurs without any effort. 

        • This is our initial goal: the breath should come to a complete halt without any effort on our part. 
        • The major goals of pranayama are to cleanse the body and mind, as well as to calm and control the mind. 

        You may simply bring the mind to a peaceful condition by doing some slow, deep breathing with complete emphasis on the breath if you are agitated, anxious, or anxious. 

        The movement of the intellect and the movement of the prana—here, the movement of the breath—go hand in hand. They are mutually reliant. 


        You may control the mind by controlling the prana. 


        • Consider the following scenario: you are actively considering an issue or attempting to comprehend a piece you are reading. 
        • Your mind is completely focused on it; simply break that concentration and pay attention to your breathing. 


        You'll be astonished to discover that you're not breathing, or that your breathing has nearly stopped. 

        That's why, after such strong focus, you take a deep breath to compensate for the momentary lack of oxygen. It is for this reason that we meditate: to develop prana calm. 

        Even the mind's motions come to a halt, so the breath comes to a halt as well. There is full mental, vital, and bodily stillness. 

        That is why you are required to sit silently and firmly, without moving your body or blinking your eyelids. As a result, there is no movement of the body, no breathing, and no cognition. 


        So, what is the accomplishment? 


        • The goal is to have no waste or underutilization of your body's electricity, or prana. The flow of prana in your body comes to a halt. As every technician knows, there is a build-up of static energy in that stillness. 
        • Heat is created in that static condition. Because of the heat built up, if you sit silently for some time and meditate profoundly, you will perspire abundantly. And it is this heat that makes its way through the entire system. It is this heat that awakens the mental forces, which have been latent for a long time. 
        • Kundalini is the name given to the main component of the power. It is roused not by forceful activity, but by halting all movements and accumulating that static heat within. 
        • Unfortunately, many individuals mistakenly believe that pranayama entails exaggerated breathing or holding your breath until your blood vessels break. That is quite hazardous. 
        • Despite the fact that retention is mentioned in the literature, we should not aim for it at first. It should happen over time. The majority of Yoga texts recommend a 1:4:2 ratio. 


        So, a newbie begins by inhaling 10 times, stopping forty times, and exhaling twenty times. You might be able to perform it a few of times before becoming fatigued. That is something that should never be done. You may experience ecstasy, but it is dangerous. 

        People claim they feel like they're going to pass out, yet they have pleasant experiences. Don't expect such experiences to be of any use to you. You could eventually encounter something that puts a stop to all encounters. 


        According to the Vedas, you should practice nadi suddhi (alternate nostril breathing) on your own for several months, along with other good practices. 


        If you follow all of the other yogic disciplines for eating, drinking, sleeping, and so on, you should see results in two to three months. Before you can continue to hold your breath, you must first see and experience the benefits. 


        • The entire body will become light, and all of the senses will be awake, just by practicing nadi suddhi alone.
        •  You're ready for a little retention when you can easily practice nadi suddhi for 30 to 50 breaths at a 10:20 count (inhale for 10, exhale for 20). 
        • However, before moving on to the next phase, make sure you can do at least 30 to 50 breaths at that count. 
        • You should not feel strained even if you are doing it for the 50th time. You are not ready if you become exhausted after 5 or 10 repetitions. Retention should be reduced. 
        • Your exhalation must be effortless at all times. If it's challenging for you, you've retained more than you can handle. 
        • Gradually increase the retention until you achieve the 1:4:2 ratio. You don't need to go beyond that, but you should increase the amount of pranayamas. 
        • So, let's take it slowly and gradually increase our capacity. First, work on your nerves. Nerve cleansing is referred to as nada suddhi. 


        Your body must be strong enough before you can hold your breath. 

        You should be familiar with your system. It's like to forcing air into a brittle tube, which can rupture. As a result, you must use extreme caution when using pranayama. 

        Slow and steady is the way to go if you truly want to reap the benefits. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend on it. 

        Our practice is not just focused on pranayama. 

        • The major goal of our practice is to quiet and manage the mind. 
        • You will be able to easily manage your thoughts after you acquire the 1:4:2 ratio. 
        • Then focus your attention on your japa (mantra recitation) or meditation. 

        There's no need to rush these things; take your time, do them perfectly, and stick to the discipline. Everything requires some time and a certain way.



        You may also like to read more about Meditation, Guided Meditation, Mindfulness Mediation and Healing here.












        Meditation Techniques


        Concentration—trying to focus your mind on a single point—is the first step in meditation. I say any one point because it can vary depending on the individual's taste, temperament, habit, and faith. 

        This meditation point, or object, can be a sacred name, a mystic mantra, the cosmic syllable OM, or Amen, OM Shanti, Hari OM, etc., or a form. 

        You can approach God in any form you want because there is no specific form of God. 

        After focusing on a physical, concrete form for a period of time—Jesus, Buddha, Siva, or Krishna—you can form a mental image of that form. If you don't want to worship God through a human form, you can worship God through a visual image of the sun, moon, or stars. 

        Because God is present everywhere and in every form, you can see God and approach Him in any way or form you want. 

        When you're trying to focus your mind on one thing, whether it's an idea, a word, or a form, you'll notice that your mind wanders. 

        Bring the mind back to the point whenever it runs and you become aware of it. It might have another idea in a few minutes; bring it back. Concentration is the constant effort of bringing the mind back to the point, over and over again. Dharana is the Sanskrit word for it. You have not yet fixed the mind; you are attempting to do so. If that mental fixation lasts a little longer, you're getting close to meditation. 

        Meditation is what happens when your concentration is perfect. 

        However, don't think you're wasting your time if your mind isn't completely under control. No one has ever been able to meditate immediately. 


        “My mind runs here and there; how can I meditate?” 


        I hear from a lot of people. That is how meditation works. When you say a mantra, or a sacred word, repeat it in your mind. 

        Mental repetition can help you feel the inner vibration. To do so, you must turn your entire mind inward, and only then will you be able to hear the sound within. 

        The sound is produced not only when you say it aloud; you can hear an inaudible sound within you called the inner voice. When going into the room, one should be very careful to listen for that sound. You may also see different colored lights during your meditation. Consider that to be your concentration object. 

        According to Yoga scriptures, you can meditate on a pleasant dream—perhaps you've dreamed of something divine, or you've dreamed of sages and saints, or you've had a vision of God. 

        Another meditation technique is to imagine a candle burning in the lotus of the heart. 

        As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. 

        But the most important thing is to focus on only one thing at a time; don't switch around. 


        Self-analysis is a different approach. 


        • “Whose thoughts are these?” ask yourself as you observe your mind. 
        • Who's concerned? 
        • Who has a problem? 
        • Who is the one who is bothered? 
        • So, who am I? 
        • How did I come to know all of this? 


        The process then is to identify with the knower rather than the mental disturbances. This is a straightforward analysis. Alternatively, simply stand still and observe. Be still and observe what is going on in your mind and body. 


        Simply become aware of the subtle movements within you by sitting and watching your thoughts and breath movements. 


        Taking yourself to be the mind is an indirect approach: I'm disturbed because I'm having all kinds of desires. This is what I want; this is what I want. Please allow me to resign from everything. 

        Allow me to make an offering to humanity or to God.

         “God, take away these annoyances; give me happiness, give me peace,” you pray. Sit and pray with all your heart, fully comprehending the meaning of each word. 

        This is also a form of meditation. Another important factor is to prepare the body for meditation. 


        In meditation, you try to keep your mind steady and focused on one thing. 


        To do so, you must start with your body and try to keep it steady as well. 

        That is only possible if you make a firm decision, a sankalpa, that you will not move any part of your body until the meditation is completed. Your body will obey you as soon as it hears this decision. 

        However, the decision must be very firm. Every cell in your body will hear the emphasis you place on it. They should be aware that you are a tough taskmaster, and they will not complain.

        Consider your mind and body to be small children. You must be firm with them if you want them to behave well. 

        • It is best to sit in a cross-legged position while meditating, keeping the spine erect.
        • Beginners may find it easier to achieve this posture by placing one or more pillows under their buttocks and sitting on the pillow's edge. 
        • The knees will be closer to the floor as a result of this. 

        If you find it difficult to maintain your cross-legged position after a while, make a few adjustments, but not too many. If this isn't possible, sit in a chair, but make sure your spine is straight and your chest is well spread out. 


        1. Relax the body rather than making it stiff. 
        2. Don't tense up the body in order to make it strong and steady. 
        3. You will be able to forget about your body once your mind is deeply interested in meditation. 
        4. Sit in the same position until then, keeping your body relaxed and your spine steady but not stiff. Breathing must also be controlled. 
        5. The breath is the connecting link between the mind and the body. As a result, if the breath is regulated, the mind will be as well. 
        6. The mind will remain calm if you breathe slowly and steadily. 
        7. Allow your mental vision to be drawn in. 
        8. Allow the mental eye to turn inward rather than focusing on the physical eyeballs. 
        9. You can focus your mental attention on one of the chakras or plexuses, which are nerve canters in the spinal column. The heart (anahata chakra) or the brow center are the most common (ajna chakra). 


        It is best to practice meditation on a regular basis. 

        Every day, try to have two sittings. Before sunrise and after sunset are the best times to visit. 

        If this is not possible, sit when you first wake up in the morning and before retiring at night. Begin by sitting for 15 minutes and gradually increase the amount of time you spend sitting.



        You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.