Connect with us

Guided Meditation

Can You Buy Your Way to Enlightenment?



We examined the science behind five high-tech meditation aids to find out if they’re worth the hype.

From virtual reality to the Somadome, Yoga Journal investigates five meditation aids to find out if they actually work.

I don’t want to mess with your meditation practice. Not today, not ever. And if you haven’t joined the countless who have discovered meditation’s gifts, now may be the time to start—because we know that it’s doing something good for us. Those who have a regular practice (myself included) tend to feel happier, calmer, and less likely to lose it when the cold winds blow (which inevitably, they do). And ultimately, that’s all that the Buddha ever wanted for humanity—a little loving kindness, a little more compassion, a little less torturing ourselves (and each other) with our criticism and judgy nonsense.

But before you start investing in classes, spendy cushions, or trendy in-home meditation space, Steven Leonard, a mind-body personal trainer who runs a meditation workshop at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health with Dartmouth College neuroscientist Andrew Heusser, says you might want to begin with defining your intention. “There are countless reasons why people might meditate, so someone developing a practice should ask themselves: What are my goals? What am I looking to cultivate? Relaxation? Focus? Spirituality? Am I looking for the nature of reality?

See also Get Your Sit Together: 7 Best Meditation Cushions to Support Your Practice

Once you understand your goals, tracking your practice may help you focus more quickly, and there is a wealth of high-tech meditation aids available—think phone apps and EEG-sensing headbands to $35,000 isolation pods—all promising to launch your journey into higher consciousness and well-being. In fact, the meditation industry itself is estimated at $1.1 billion in the United States alone. (Not exactly what the Buddha had intended.) You can now spend mucho bucks on gadgets that claim to clear out the junk in your brain in a fraction of the time it takes to attain enlightenment through more traditional practices (several lifetimes for some). But do any of these devices actually deliver?

To find out, we turned to the science.

So we’re going into this technology-assisted meditation thing with a world of hope and a healthy dose of, if not outright, skepticism—and an understanding that the science may not be there yet to justify the expense (or download). The important thing to remember, as meditation teacher Steven Leonard noted earlier, is that when it comes to meditation, intention is the whole ballgame. The why will help inform the how.

See also Inside the ASMR Meditation People Are Calling a Brain Orgasm

His point is that if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll find the right tool. “People are multidimensional beings: physiological, emotional, spiritual,” he says. Which is why having a meditation practice, however you do it, may lead you to the ocean of possibilities that exist in the world. “The clearer a person is about why they’re meditating, the clearer they can be about their own success with it.” 

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Guided Meditation

This Quick Meditation Will Bring Financial Abundance Into Your Life




Believe in the power of intention setting.

Join Claire Mark in this quick, guided meditation to bring to life financial abundance and open up to everything your heart desires.

See also YJ Tried It: 30 Days of Guided Sleep Meditation

Source link

Continue Reading

Guided Meditation

This Guided Meditation Will Inspire You to Live From Your Heart




Get out of your head and into your heart.

Previous in Self-Love Series 5 Poses That’ll Inspire You to Live From Your Heart

There is a place inside each of us that knows all the answers without us even having to ask the questions. It’s a place that acts as a personal GPS, guiding us toward our truths and away from that which no longer serves us. This place is the source of your light, made up of unconditional love. It’s your heart, and there is no greater act of self-love than living from it.

See also What Is Anjali Mudra?

Source link

Continue Reading

Guided Meditation

“I Tried 40 Days of Yoga, Meditating, and Chanting at 3 a.m. Every Morning”




Here’s what happened.

Sadhana involves two and a half hours of yoga, meditation, and chanting starting 3 a.m. for 40 days. 

One early morning last November, my doorman, Jose, who usually says it like it is, took one look at me and said, “What happened to you? You used to look sexy. Now you look like you never sleep anymore.”

His statement stung. I wanted to say, “Well I don’t sleep anymore. Not since I started Sadhana.” But then I’d have to explain what Sadhana meant. And why do I have to justify how I look? So, I said nothing.

But it was true. I was barely sleeping, and the dark circles under my eyes, chronic yawning, and 10 extra pounds I’d put on in a matter of just a few weeks were all byproducts of my commitment to complete 40 days of Kundalini Aquarian morning Sadhana.

Why I Tried 40 Days of Sadhana

For about a year prior to starting Sadhana—which involves two and a half hours of yoga, meditation, and chanting starting 3 a.m. for 40 days—I’d seen Facebook ads for it. Several friends swore by its benefits, and I’d read many articles about its transformative powers, such as increased energy, mental clarity, and a plethora of blessings. Many spiritual paths have a practice of getting up before sunrise to pray. That special time is called Amrit Vela, which translates as the Nectar of God. When you give two and a half hours to a spiritual source, your entire day is covered with blessings. And who doesn’t want more blessings?

For years I’d been trying to finish writing a book, create an online program, and get into shape—but I lacked self-commitment and follow through. In Sanskrit, Sadhana literally means accomplishing something. I wanted to strengthen my commitment to both my spiritual practice and word to myself. I’ve never been an early riser, so I told myself, If I can wake up at 3 a.m. for the divine, I can do anything!

For the next 40 days, I woke up at 2:30 a.m., put on my white clothes and head covering, and drove to a yoga studio where I practiced yoga, sang songs to my soul, and chanted Aquarian mantras. I tried to go to sleep each night no later than 8 p.m. each night to attempt at least five or six hours of shut-eye. But no matter how many hot baths I took, Chamomile teas I drank, or minutes I spent breathing through my left nostril to relax, I couldn’t fall asleep until it was time to wake up again.

For the first week, I was very enthusiastic and surprised by how little sleep I needed to function. But then, somewhere around day eight, I came home after Sadhana and passed out until noon, which only messed up my circadian rhythm further. As my levels of exhaustion increased, so did my weight. I wondered how the other yogis in the room were doing it. Some of them were on day 50, 60, 90 and even 240. I was assured that if I could get enough sleep, I would be OK.

According to our Sadhana group leader, the secret to a successful Sadhana was getting enough sleep. I’d never had difficulty falling asleep before. But I’d also never woken before 7:30 am, and my nerves were keeping me up.

Somewhere around day 20, my very traditional Russian father called to tell me that he and my mother were worried. They’d recently seen my photos of me on Facebook and asked why I looked so exhausted, bloated, and pale. I was too tired to explain that I had signed up for a sacred practice meant to elevate my soul (and what that meant). Instead, I tagged him on the Facebook live Sadhana page so he could see what I was up to. The following night he called me and said, “Your mother and I saw the video. Are you in a cult? All those people in white look like mental patients.”

Was I really back here again, having another conversation like this with my parents? Some 10 years ago, I came out of the closet as a Feng Shui consultant. My parents wished it was just a phase, lied to their friends that I was an interior designer, and insisted that spirituality is for people that don’t want to work.

See also “Something Happens as I Continue to Chant…”

The Realization That Sadhana May Not Be For Me

On day 30, I went to see a medical intuitive who told me that I was suffering from liver insomnia and severe adrenal fatigue. I had no idea that our livers wake up around 4 a.m. Which meant that when I was getting up to do yoga so early, it was really hard on my liver. I already had mild symptoms of adrenal fatigue before starting Sadhana and didn’t know that feeling wired and tired were the hallmarks of that condition. It explained why I was having so much trouble falling asleep.

I reached out to a friend who’s a Kundalini yoga instructor to tell her that I was going to quit because I couldn’t take it anymore, and she urged me not to. “Everything that’s coming up for you is coming up for healing and clearing,” she told me. Translation for spiritual neophytes? “Your moodiness, liver issues, obsession with weight, and needing other people’s approval was probably always there, and now you’re ready to deal with it.”

I thought I’d dealt with all of that years ago—at least the obsession with weight and needing others’ approval. But the onion has many layers. And maybe Sadhana was fast-tracking the peeling of mine.

I pushed through. Because that’s what I do.

I began to wonder if I’m just a masochist and maybe what I really need is to get back into therapy. Then, I reminded myself that I am a therapist. In fact, I’m actually a spiritual psychotherapist and should know by now if something is good for me.

See also Kundalini 101: Kriya for Balancing Your Eighth Chakra (Auric Field)

Sadhana: The Results of 40 Days of Yoga, Meditation, and Chanting

At the end of the 40 days, a few things happened. First, I felt satisfied that I was able to finish what I started. Next, I finally got a good night’s rest. Then, I spent hundreds of dollars on herbal tinctures and vitamins meant to restore my liver and adrenals. A few small blessings did arrive. I finally found an incredible illustrator for my book and a week later, two of the wellness hotels in Miami Beach where I really wanted to teach finally came through with proposals. Overall, the experience was a mixed bag.

While unfortunate, I don’t think we—as a culture—are equipped to support someone embarking on a 40-day adventure that may cause little or no sleep. Especially if that someone has lots of responsibilities. I think it would’ve been easier, and I could’ve treated the practice with more reverence, had I been on retreat or on an ashram somewhere. But we don’t all have the luxury of going away for a month. I know I don’t.

Forty days of so little sleep would be hard on anyone, regardless of the spiritual path they were on. My advice: If you want to start 40 days of Kundalini Aquarian morning Sadhana, please get your adrenals tested first. Make sure your life supports the potentially crazy sleep schedule, and that you have lots of time to rest and contemplate the process.

Also, listen to your body. If you feel like it’s getting to be too much, don’t turn to this all-too-common default: “Exhaustion? Oh, it’s probably just my negative mind trying to sabotage me.” There’s nothing enlightened about wearing yourself down to become more spiritual.

See also Kundalini 101: What Is the Aquarian Age, Anyway?

Source link

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2018 A Touch of Health