Meditation. This can mean very different things to different students. For some, it is a guided meditation offered by the instructor. For others, it is an out of body experience. Meant to prepare for the next limb, samadhi.
The 7thlimb of yoga, building on asana, pranayama, pratyahara, and Dharana. Dhyai = to think of
According to the Yoga Sutras, the purpose of meditation is to interrupt the fluctuation of normal mental activity (sensory knowledge, memory, imagination, etc).
While Dhyana is generally translated to “meditation” it is more like meditation is the path towards Dhayna. The state between meditation and Dhyana has been referred to as “glimpsing the soul,” where one slips into the space between thoughts. It is a state where time seems to stand still or speeds by – a transcendence of time – and you don’t realize you’re in it until you’re past it. Some describe it as a state where you merge with the object on which you are concentrating. When one achieves Dharana, they are able to focus completely on a flame, for instance. When one achieves Dhyana, they feel they become one with the flame. It has also been said to instill a feeling of bliss, overall wellness, unexplained happiness or ease within the body.
What does it mean to you?
The state of Dhyana is beyond most modern practitioners’ level of meditation. That being said, for me, it is finding the ability to train one’s mind to find stillness – similar to training a puppy to sit still or to come when it is called back. It is a natural function of the mind, to wander, to focus, to think, to initiate action when it happens, find a way to come back to stillness. Meditation, like all of yoga, is a practice, it is a systematic process which requires practice and patience to learn.
How can you apply it to your daily life?
Practice makes progress. I find that mediation is, ever so slightly easier, after a physical asana practice, after I can get some wiggles out. Find a comfortable position, and, as introduced in Dharana, find something to focus on (an object, person, chakra, etc.) and JUST DO IT! Start off slow, 5-10 minutes and work your way up. PRACTICE! Allow yourself grace, don’t get hung up on technicalities and methodologies, know that some days will be easier than others, you will find over a period of time, the 5 minutes will stretch on and on.
What are some benefits of applying it to your daily life?
There are innumerable benefits that taking time to meditate will have on your daily life. There are practical, time told benefits that generations have lauded, and there are now scientifically proven benefits that have helped countless people.
Stress relief likely tops the list of benefits; a clearer, calmer mind, and a sense of ease and peace probably come in for me as a close second.