Meditation and Breathing

Meditation is a wonderful way to help the mind relax and to focus. We use meditation to discipline the mind.  Why, you may ask, should I discipline my mind?  Well the mind is like a muscle and needs to be trained to be quieter to be still. The chattering that we hear in our minds all day is not only exhausting but most of us have no or little control over what we think. A lot of the time we may be thinking negative thoughts, demeaning thoughts and not only of others but of ourselves and with these thoughts we move out into the world.  To accept and love ourselves and others we need to be aware of  how we think and feel.  When we become aware of what we think and feel we can start to take responsibility for our thoughts and then our actions. 

There are a number of different ways to meditate and I will like to share with you a practice that has assisted me very much.  This practice of meditation is called Trataka (concentrated gazing).

Sit comfortably. Either on a chair or with your legs crossed.  Feel your spine upright. If sitting on your mat with your legs crossed and you notice that the position of your knees is higher than your hips, I suggest you sit on a meditation cushion or a yoga block to lift your hips up.  Place a lit candle in front of you, at eye level so that you can stare at the flame.  Stare at the flame counting with breath, up to 60 seconds.  Now, close your eyes and stare at the image of the flame behind your eyelids for as long as you can see the image of the flame for. Once the image completely disappears, open your eyes gently and start again. Continue with this practice for as long as you feel you would like too.  Be gentle with yourself.  5 minutes is a very good start.