A 30 minute guided meditation for home practice.
Poses & Set-up
How we sit in meditation is how we relate to the body. How we breathe is how we relate to the mind. These postures can help support the body and breath in meditation. They help in calming the nervous system as well as in attaining physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual stability.
While these are traditional postures, they in no way denote an “ideal” meditation pose. A key point is that we don’t impose an idea of “straightness” on the body, just as we don’t impose an idea of “attention” in the mind. Allow your body to shift and adjust as needed, without distraction or agitation, returning each time to the breath. Sit on a higher support or a chair if you need to, support your back with a cushion at the wall if required. Eyes can be open or closed.
If you feel sleepy, open your eyes, keeping the gaze slightly down and in front; if open eyes are a distraction, allow them to gently close. The idea is to cultivate ease in body and mind, so that you can sit with what arises in your experience without distraction.
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
In the seated position, first carefully place the right foot onto the left thigh. Then take hold of the left foot and place it onto the right thigh. Keep the body erect with both knees touching the floor. Hands or wrists can be resting on the knees, elbows gently bent so the shoulders remained relaxed; or the hands placed between the heels, the right hand resting in the left hand. Note that this is an advanced pose and in no way should one force one’s body to conform to it if there’s pain in the knees, ankles or hips.
Siddhasana (Adept’s Pose)
From the sitting position, first bend the left leg and place the heel at the perineum. Then, bend the right leg and place the heel against the pubic bone, or just above the genitals. The body is kept erect with the hands placed as in Padmasana. As with Padmasana, this is an advanced pose and in no way should one force one’s body to conform to it if there’s pain in the knees, ankles or hips.
Mukthasana or Guptasana
First sit with the legs stretched forward. Bend the right leg at the knee, and place the right heel against the pubic bone, now bend the left leg and place the left heel above the right heel and close to the pubic bone. In this position, both the perineum and genitalia are free from pressure. Rest the hands on the knees.
Swastikasana (Ankle lock Pose)
The word ‘Swastika’ means prosperous in Sanskrit, and is said to bring prosperity, success, and good health to the practitioner. It is done in the following manner: Stretch the legs in front of you. Bend the right leg at the knee, and place the right heel against the groin of the left thigh so that the sole will be lying in close contact with the thigh. Now bend the left leg and place it against the right groin. Insert the toes of the left foot between the right calf and thigh muscles. Now both feet can be seen to lie between the calves and thigh muscles. The hands are placed in Padmasana.
Sukhasana (Easy Pose):
This asana is achieved by simply crossing the legs and keeping the head and trunk erect. The hands are placed as in Padmasana.
Sit upon the heels, keep the trunk, neck and head straight. Keep the knees together with the palms of the hands resting upon the knees, or with the right hand resting in the left hand upon the lap.
Difficulties during meditation
If the mind is not disturbed, it is spontaneously at ease, just like a clear lake. It is, by nature, transparent and clear. The mind in meditation can be compared to a jar of muddy water: the more we leave the water without interfering or stirring it, the more the particles will sink to the bottom, letting the natural clarity of the mind shine through. So take care not to impose anything on the mind. When you meditate there should be no effort to control or to achieve a desired result (e.g. to “be peaceful” or to “be” anything). Just sit with what is, as it is. Yes, this is easier said than done.
Body becomes restless and back becomes sore
It becomes difficult to sit for a long duration in the same pose if the body is not used to it. This is where yoga comes in, where we can build capacity to remain with a pose and the breath in a particular pose for the desired duration of time. Again, the idea is to create ease; find the pose that works best for you, where you can focus on the breath and body without strain or stress.
Expectations are too much
If you think meditation means instant peace, or that it will clear all your problems and a racing mind in minutes, that isn’t going to happen. Meditation does not mean a warm, fuzzy feeling and a mind full of loving thoughts. The first thing about meditation is that you should not have any expectations. Every person comes with a different mind-set. What we expect may or may not be what we get. There is no goal (and therefore no “success” or “failure”); only a purpose: to return again and again to what is going on, because this is practice and this is life – we continually fall
out of attention and then come back into attention. This is why it is called a practice: we practice coming back to attention and commit to that again and again.