For this meditation process we looked at placing sound syllables of the Gāyātri Mantra in specific areas of the right hand. This was done to help develop subtle awareness within the body, as well as helping learn the sounds, rhythms and meanings of the mantra. The practice of the Gāyātri Meditation was presented in three ways:
- We may meditate on Gāyātri as the universal Mother
- We may meditate on Gāyātri as the sun, symbol of cosmic light
- Or, we meditate on Gāyātri as the formless light of Truth, in the brow centre
Gāyātri Mantra (Rg Veda: 3.62.10)
Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇyaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ prachodáyāt
Translated meaning: We pay homage to the radiant light of the sun that, like the mother of all shining gods, inspires and illuminates our meditation
painting by Ali
Pancha-Bhūta-śuddhi – Purification of the five bodily elements –
Purification of the five body elements, known as pancha-Bhūta-śuddhi, is found in the Devi Bhagavatam.
We can purify the body elements using breath, mantra and visualisation. The objective of this meditation is to transform the ordinary body, making a new subtle body filled with dynamic cosmic energy.
The elemental substances used in our pancha-Bhūta-śuddhi ‘ritual’ includes: salt and sesame (earth), tulsi and rose tea (water), white sage and candle (fire), Ayurveda perfume, ‘scent of samadhi’ (air), sacred ash (space, mind). These will be consumed and applied as tilaks to aid the process of self-transformation.
Earth dissolves into water …
- We envision the body made of earth, formed from the mineral substances of the primordial ocean.
- We see the subtle body made up of pink crystalline salt and minerals found on the shores of this ocean.
- We physically taste salt and sesame and let them dissolve into saliva. We imagine the residues of our past actions (karma), be cleansed and purified by the flow of fluid within the mouth.
- We imagine dissolving the ego, brittle and dry like the remains of shells and husks.
- Also we think about forming the right conditions that ripen the seeds of potential growth.
- We repeat the mantra – OM-LAM-OM creating a sonic resonance within the earth-body.
- Sound helps transform the body made of earth.
- We visualise the sacral lotus floating on the sea of nectar.
- Sound transforms mind, just as water transforms earth.
If you would like a transcript of the full mediation please email Ali – firstname.lastname@example.org, or come to meditation Wednesday 7.30pm.
If you would like to get some the most heavenly smelling Ayurvedic perfume – made of sandalwood, rose and cloves – email http://www.sensitiveplanet.com.
Give more than you take … and you may get something special you don’t expect!
Iyengar was a consummate yogi who inspired generations of like minded yogis.
Ali will be paying her respects to his wisdom, featuring postures and practices from his work ‘Light on Yoga’, in classes over the following week.
As we look forward to summer think about how good it feels to do yoga on the beach!
(photos courtesy of Stephanie K.)
If you are interested in receiving updates over summer as to where our outdoor yoga classes take place, please email Ali at email@example.com
MEDITATION CLASS – WEEK 2
Bathing in the Confluence of Three Rivers
We started our meditation with a lesson on the flow of the vital energies (vayus) within the body.
- Prāṇa is inward flow of vital energy, the life force that ignites as we breathe in deeply into the body. We can direct this vital energy to the brow centre, increasing concentration and focusing the mind. Practice breathing in and holding the breath for 20 counts. Focus on the left and right petals of the ājñā chakra. Also focus on the triangular centre between the two petals.
- Apāṇa is the downward flow of vital energy, governing outward movements through the base organs. Practice breathing into the base of the spine and grounding into the earth. Apana helps us let go of repressed emotions. Practice following the breath out mindfully with clear intention.
- Udāṇa is the upward flow of vital energy, which drives speech, sound, breath and life force. It also governs the time of death and the depths of meditation. Practice following energy upwards via the heart and throat. Listen to the sound quality and length of breath.
- Samāṇa is the flow of vital energy from the heart into the navel. Here the breath is assimilated into the system of the body. Practice breathing in a powerful light energy from the heart to the navel and imagine light unblocking trapped emotion and blocked tension.
- Vyāṇa is the flow of vital energy into the cellular system, governing circulation of life force around the body. Practice breathing in to the vital centres of each chakra, allowing energy to infuse the cells and nourish the living tissues of the body.
Combined practice: breathe into the brow centre and illuminate the mind with the breath focus. Then draw the breath into the base of the spine gently awakening vital energy of kuṇḍalini shakti. Guide the breath flow upwards, through the heart and throat. Listen to the sound quality and length of the vital breath. On the next inhalation, practice breathing light into the heart and navel, imagine light energy being assimilated to the cells and tissues, and then breathe mindfully out, releasing any repressed issues from tissues. Imagine the body radiant with the energy of the vital winds. Return to the breath focused in the brow centre.
Here ends the lessons of the breath …
Now, its time to bathe in the confluence of the three sacred rivers!
We breathe in through the left nostril, and direct our awareness into to right petal of the ājñā lotus. We imagine this vital breath flows through the Iḍā nāḍī, like the mighty river Ganges, clearing and purifying the accumulative effects of karma. We breathe out mindfully, imagining the bright flow of the river current. We breathe in again, this time through the right nostril, and direct our awareness into to left petal of the ājñā lotus. We imagine this vital breath flows through the Pingalā nāḍī, like the might river Yamuna. We breathe in a third time from the brow centre into the base of the spine, as we breathe out we imagine the upward flow of the Sarasvatī river, up the suṣumṇā (spinal column) to the sahasrāra (crown). We breath from the crown to the triangular centre of the ājñā lotus. We imagine bathing in the confluence of three rivers.
Yogis who image bathing in the sacred confluence of three sacred rivers are said to be blessed with the gift of knowledge and liberation. For devotees of hatha yoga practice, Lord Śiva can be visualized sit at a ‘triangular place’ within the ājñā lotus, at this confluence. We imagine uniting the flow of all three breath currents and immersing ourselves three time in the sacred current of the mind.
Here ends tonight’s lesson
Hari Om Tat Sat!
Why not join us next week? Booking is recommended
When meditation has been successfully practiced, one attains the realisation of the presence of one’s own consciousness, the various distractions and obstacles are no longer present (YS 1:29-32 – Gerald James Larson)
MEDITATION – WEDNESDAY 7.30PM, STARTING 30th July
If you are interested in practicing meditation to still the mind, and reduce the emotional triggers that produce stress and anxiety, we will be holding an 8 week series of meditation starting on Wednesday 30th July, at 7.30pm. Over the 8 week series you will learn practical meditation skills, integrating breath, self-awareness, concentration and relaxation.
Meditation allows us to take time to find peace, calm and insight in the inner space of being, which creates more balanced energy to cope with the demands of a busy life. Drop-ins are welcome, however, the benefits of meditation come with making a regular time for practice.
This class is free to people who are signed up to come to India in our forthcoming trip – See Yoga Retreats!
Email Ali on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.