‘The mind is something like a motor car; if you don’t learn to handle it properly you
will have an accident, but if you are a good driver, it can take you to new and wonderful
As a yoga teacher meditation is an invaluable tool. Some of us find it easy to do our yoga practice but difficult to sit still and meditate. People often think of sitting there ‘doing nothing’ as a waste of time, however meditation is very important and an extremely powerful practice. Winter time is a great time to meditate more, with less social activity going on at this time of year you should be able to take some time for contemplation and to replenish your energy. It is great to encourage your students to find some peace and space throughout the winter months through meditation.
Why would I want to meditate?
Life has changed dramatically throughout the world over the last hundred years. Values and
social systems are no longer the same as they used to be in ancient times. This has brought
about a dispersion of human energies on all levels, and the mind of man has lost a point of
balance and harmony in every sphere of existence.
Are you ever stressed?
We are faced with a new epidemic of stress-related disorders, caused by our inability to
adapt to the highly competitive pace of modern life and the influx of information, most of it
negative, from the media. Modern medical science has been trying to tackle these problems,
but is failing because the real problem does not lie in where the symptoms are manifesting
(the body), but originates in our ways of thinking and feeling, our values and ideals. With
such dispersal of energy, fluctuating degrees of pressure and increased quantity of information
now coming at us how can we expect to experience harmony in body and mind?
When did you last experience a real state of harmony?
Where were you, what were you doing and who were you with? In order to subconsciously
deal with this there has been a huge rise in interest and demand for exercise systems that
unite mind and body together, such as Yoga, T’ai Chi and Pilates, as well as relaxation and
meditation techniques to train and clear our over-active minds.
Have you ever had an over-active mind?
Regular practice of any of the following techniques to slow the mind down will bring us
back into a relaxed and calm state.
The following simple practices have the capacity of penetrating into the depths of the human
mind, creating a real sense of peace, oneness and tranquility. If you are not practicing already, give it a go. It’s a great time of year to encourage your students to practice these techniques.
Learn to become the detached observer
This is where the mind is trained to focus on external sounds, moving from one sound to
another, and then back to the original sound, with the attitude of a detached observer. So
gradually the mind lets go of tension. You discover that you can begin to direct your mind to
anything you want, such as changing from focusing on the negative to the positive, or from
an irritating sound to a pleasant one.
You can also use this practice to detach yourself from distracting sounds or situations which
may be going on around you, as you come to realize that you are viewing the distraction or
friction as external to yourself, from a point of inner stillness and empowerment.
The great thing about this is it can be, and should be, practiced regularly so it becomes a
powerful tool for any situation and reduce stress. You will gain the ability to re-direct the
mind, from a worried or anxious state to one of confidence and calm.
Awareness of the breath
This is where the attention is drawn to the ingoing and outgoing breath,
this can help to increase your breathing capacity and release fear.
Watch the breath coming in and out of the nostrils
The watch it pass in and out of the throat
Then feel the chest fill and empty
Feel it move the diaphragm
Feel it fill the lower back and abdomen
Stay and focus on each of the above areas for several breaths.
You can simultaneously count the breaths to achieve deeper relaxation. Start inhaling for
three counts, exhale for three counts then lengthen the out-breath to six counts, and finally
pause for a couple of counts before inhaling. This can be done sitting in a chair as a form of
quick relaxation, or to clear the mind and release tension on the way home from work, or as
the dinner cooks!