Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Your first meditation in three steps: Anapanasati yoga

There's a lot of buzz around meditation, and for those who are not into that, it sounds a bit like a mysterious way to achieve who knows what. Enlightenment, peace of senses, eternal pleasure or visits to other dimensions?

This is not exactly like that, but benefits that people receive by practicing meditation are tangible and immediate. Mind relaxation, better concentration and improved consciousness of oneself. The good thing is that everybody can meditate and no special preparation is needed nor a special place or time of the day.


Try this simple meditation technique to learn more about you
So let's dive into this fascinating world of meditation with one simple yet effective technique, it may be your first meditation ever. Follow these simple steps.
  1. Sit down comfortably on the ground, on a sofa or even lay down on your bed. Once you feel comfortable with your position, you are ready to start. Otherwise, make sure you make all the adjustments until you feel fine. There are precise meditation postures, but to get into the technique, you don't need to master them. Just make sure you feel good. An uncomfortable posture may distract you from what's next. 
  2. Close your eyes. Bring attention to the tip of your nose and observe the air flowing through it: observe the flow of air when inhaling and observe it again when exhaling. Feel the air in your nostrils when you inspire. Feel the air in your nostrils and on the tip of the upper lip when you exhale. That's it. Remember you are just observing your breath, you don't need to change the pace of your breathing. Just observe. 
  3. Observe your breath during 10 minutes. If you think previous step was easy, here comes the essential motivation of this method. Try, at least, to extend breath observation for some minutes, up to 10. Purpose is not getting distracted by other thoughts.
    That's all. Now let's discuss all the implications of this simple yet powerful method.
The purpose of this technique, known as Anapanasati yoga, is to enhance consciousness of yourself. Your thoughts wander throughout all the day randomly, you can't do much to control them. Your thoughts will drift, and so they'll do during this simple breath observation technique. But don't worry, this is a challenge that's part of the exercise. Just make sure you realize you jumped to other thoughts, to your family, your duties and obligations.

Don't feel guilty for that, but once you notice you have abandoned the practice, go back to it, go back to breath observation.
Don't expect things will happen. Keep expectation low. Just consider the way you feel once the session is over.
Once you are used to this practice, don't wait for the perfect moment for it. Every moment of the day and in any place it's perfect. In the bus, while waiting the subway... these are perfect places for Anapanasati yoga. You don't even need to keep you eyes opened. You can even observe your breath while walking in the street, this method won't take consciousness away from what's happening around you. And why not, try that for some minutes in front of your computer at work. Nobody will notice that!

This meditation is explained in its simplest form, there are lots of things one may do to complicate these few steps. But let's keep it simple, not for being simple it is less effective. Once you master this meditation, beautiful things will happen and you will be ready for the next step.