As practitioners of Ashtanga, we know the psysical movement, or asana, is only one part of the yoga practice. Out of the eight limbs, one of the most beneficial and simple ways to deepen our practice is by dedicating a few minutes a day to meditation. Here are just a few types of meditation practices you can try:
- Vedic or Transcendental Meditation- This form of meditation was developed 5,000 years ago in India by and for householders and was originally called Nishkam Karma Yoga. Vedic meditation is a way of developing the mind so a person can rise above or “transcend” beyond the noise and stress of daily life. It is for people who are fully engaged in life, multi-tasking people with hyperactive minds. To practice Vedic Meditation, you sit comfortably with good posture and close your eyes. You allow your mind to settle down to increasingly quieter levels of consciousness by utilizing the sound of a mantra.
- Chakra Meditation- Chakra meditation is a mindful practice that puts emphasis on opening and aligning the seven chakras of the body. You begin by sitting upright and drawing your awareness towards your breath. You then focus on each chakra beginning with the root chakra and work your way slowly to the crown chakra. As you focus on each of the chakras, you visualize flowing white light entering your crown chakra and flowing out of your root chakra, entering the earth. The idea is to feel a sense of connection to the earth and with everything around you. By practicing this form of meditation, a “balanced and harmonious interdependent functions of the body’s major chakras with one another is obtained”.
- Concentrative Meditation- In this practice the objective is to cultivate single-pointed attention on some object, such as a sound, an image, the breath, or a flame. Through the training of consistently returning to the object of focus, the mind develops the capacity to remain calm, stabilized, and grounded. Many Western meditation teachers start beginners with this practice, most commonly focusing on the breath. In some advanced practices, states of bliss may be reached.
- Spiritual Meditation- Similar to vedic and concentrative meditation, spiritual meditation calls to sit and be mindful of your connection to the high power within you.