The 7th limb of Patañjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga is dhyāna, meditation. It is a state in which you experience the sacred through a deeply focused awareness. Through the practice of dhyāna, we begin to see reality for what it really is: impermanence and interconnectedness. This is how we ultimately achieve bliss.
To truly reap the benefits of yoga, it is essential to cultivate a daily meditation practice. This is why 4 of the 8 limbs of yoga are focused on it. Limbs 5 and 6, pratyāhāra and dhāranā, provide practices to help guide you into a deeper meditation. Limbs 7 and 8, dhyāna and samādhi are when you experience those deeper states of mediation.
Benefits of a daily meditation practice
Meditation is most known for its ability to help reduce stress, the leading cause of most diseases. Studies have also concluded that it can help to lower blood pressure, improve your immune system, and improve your ability to concentrate. It is incredibly beneficial to your body, mind and spirit!
Here at OM Matters our mission is to bring this mindfulness skill to you, as well as at-risk youth. That’s why 10% of our sales of our eco-friendly yoga apparel supports yoga for at-risk youth.
Suggestions on how to meditate
If you are a beginner to meditation, it can seem intimidating. But there are several ways to learn: personal instruction from a teacher, YouTube videos, DVDs, books, classes and friends. Here are a few suggestions to help get you started:
- Start slowly – In the beginning start with a goal of 5 to 10 minutes each day, preferably in the morning, when your mind is most clear. Over time, increase your meditation sessions to 30 minutes a day.
- Get comfortable – You will have plenty of distractions during meditation because our minds wander incessantly, so it is helpful to reduce the distractions that you can control. It is key to find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted by friends, family and pets. It is also critical to get in a comfortable seated position. Keep in mind that you will be holding this position for some time so think it though. Some people have a problem with their legs falling asleep or cramping while sitting crossed legged. If this happens to you, try sitting in a chair or sitting on the floor on your knees.
- Experiment with different techniques - There are many different styles to choose from. No style is right or wrong, or better than the other. What matters is that if feels right for you. Try a different style each day until you find the one that best suits you.
- Be patient – The goal of meditation is to still the mind. But it doesn’t always work out that way! So be patient with yourself. Your mind will wander and this is okay, that’s what the mind is supposed to do---that’s its job. You will have good days and bad days. The important part is to just keep practicing and don’t be hard on yourself if you have a few bad days.
- Just breath – Take a deep breath and give it a go!