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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Meditation – What, Why, How and When Part III

Practical meditation
The posture
The proper posture for meditation is to sit cross legged on the ground or in a chair so that the spine is straight and erect. The chin should be parallel to the ground. This posture facilitates easy and deep breathing which allows proper oxygenation of blood. Straight spine also allows the Kundalini or the coiled energy to move upwards without any obstacles.
Breathing exercise
First exhale, completely expelling all air from the lungs. Make a “huh”-“huh” sound if that makes it easy. Then inhale to a count of twelve. Hold the breath to a count of twelve and then exhale, also to the same count. Twelve is not a number set in stone. If you are more comfortable with another number, that will do perfectly. The idea is to have the same count for inhalation, holding and exhalation. Your comfort is very important. It is pointless and potentially harmful to hold the breath to the point of becoming breathless. The function of breathing is to provide Prana and oxygen rich air to the lungs. Our aim is to control this process without going to extremes. Breath is the cord that ties the soul to the body. Control over breath provides us several advantages.
• It sets the soul free from the bondage of breath.
• It reduces the metabolism and reduces the noise of body functions.
• Slowed metabolism slows cell decay and facilitates a healthy life.
• As heart beat slows down, the life energy or Prana gets disentangled from the five senses. This Prana is used by mind to connect with the universal consciousness. The result is a lessening of distractions and increase of concentration.
Once we have done the inhaling, holding and exhaling exercise a dozen times, it is time to go to the next step.
The Hong-Sau technique
Hong and Sau (pronounced Hong and Sau like in saw) are two sacred Sanskrit chant words which have a vibratory connection with the incoming and out going breath. These words have a great calming effect on the mind and help it a great deal in focusing at the point between the eyebrows.
Sit with an erect spine, half close your eyes and tense and then relax the whole body a few times. Fix the gaze at the point between the eyebrows. Let the breath move in and out of lungs naturally. Do not force the breathing in any way. As the breath is inhaled, mentally chant Hong. As it moves out chant Sau. The chant of both words should be for the duration of breathing in and breathing out. Do not disturb the rhythmic flow of breath by the chant. Chant must fit the breathing. Not vice-versa.
It helps a great deal if you adopt the role of a silent observer who is watching a human being breath in and out to the chant of Hong Sau.
This wonderful meditation can be done any where at any time. Once you get the hang of it, you will be rewarded with a pleasurable tingling along the spine. It is important that gaze remains focused at the point between the eyebrows and does not move downwards. If that happens, the relaxation will put you to sleep.
One can start with a session lasting fifteen minutes twice a day and then increase the duration slowly. It is a very pleasurable process and quite easy to do.
If your gaze is focused properly at the point between the eyebrows, you will experience the slowing down of breathing. If you normally breathe at the rate of 18 breaths a minute (which is average), you will see it becoming less and less as the time passes. Incidentally it is also a test of your technique.

In the next Blog benefits of Hong Sau and the next step.....

Rajiv Sethi

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