Yoga and meditation have many principles in common. Yoga tends to deal with exercises that stretch and strengthen the body, and meditation focuses more on the spiritual aspects of life, and strengthening the soul. For each modality to be successful, one has to learn how to control the mind.
TAKING THE BREATH
We talk about the breath of life… and yes, this works on a physical level… without breathing there is no life! But what is the breath of mind? At a spiritual level the breath of mind relates to the quality of our thoughts and therefore our experience of life. Inhale positive and powerful energy, and breathe in love and peace. As we generate those high-vibration thoughts, we are more easily able to exhale and expel negative and stressful thoughts and emotions. We definitely do not want those toxins to linger in our body or mind in any form.
Breathing is a recognition of the presence of the life force… the soul…the being… and that ‘I am the soul’, the one who is experiencing life through matter, through this body. But what does it mean to breathe spiritually? It means to take in every moment that we spend with quality thoughts like love, appreciation and gratitude as these will be both powerful and energising for the soul.
Only that which we take in with love will be nourishing for the soul, just as with the food that we eat. Both the body and soul can more easily digest that which is both wholesome and healthy; this enables us to grow and flourish.
Anything toxic that we take into ourselves will only damage us. It is very important for us to spiritually breathe with our soul lungs, just as we breathe with the physical lungs. Therefore, we have to be very mindful to maintain our good health in body, mind and spirit.
LEARNING TO SIT IN SILENCE
The poses of hatha yoga are there to make the body physically flexible and adaptable… malleable…. These postures help us to build up our muscles; to tone the body and increase our overall stamina. Likewise, meditation makes the mind strong and healthy and makes us tolerant and adjustable. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to both, our diet for the body and our mind.
The power of silence enables the soul to take time out; to re-adjust and become re-centred; and to find our natural poise and balance. Just as with physical yoga, many postures require the soul to have great focus, and to concentrate the mind with determination. These are admirable qualities used to balance the body and mind.
KEEPING THE THIRD EYE OPEN
This is the inner eye of understanding, where we are looking from deep within, from the dimension of spirit. As we become familiar with our inner wisdom, then we will begin to live more naturally from this spiritual place.
When we appreciate and value the practice of meditation, the yoga of the mind, it means that we will be careful to pay attention to the nature and quality of our thoughts throughout the day. We will check and change those thoughts when necessary, because our aim in life is to maintain clarity and balance. Ultimately, we have a desire to be peaceful, healthy and happy.
From a spiritual perspective, and as a spiritual being, I know that innate virtues and specialities form the foundation of ‘who I am’. When I practice affirmations, it is like I am breathing life back into these virtues. When I remember my original nature of the ‘self’ as a spiritual being, as pure energy and light, then I can experience some of these eternal truths.
I am love…. I am light… I am peace… I am happy… I am joy… I am wise… I am strong… and eternally… I am…. Om Shanti… I am a peaceful soul….
Courtesy of itstimetomeditate.org
Aruna Ladva is an author and the director of Rajyoga meditation centres in Kuwait and Egypt.