As the world stands head over heels in yoga on this summer solstice of International Yoga Day, it takes a bit of introspection to see that the practice of yoga asanas and Pranayama has meditation for its basis. The word Samadhi or continuous meditation is a state when the mind is completely in here and now. There are no questions, thoughts and anxieties in the mind. That is the result of meditation.
This state is a result of constant contemplation, hard work and sincere devotion.
Even if you take the practice of doing only yoga asanas, it is a very meditative procedure.
An asana involves getting into the posture, being in the posture and coming out of the posture. The getting into and coming out are only a means to keeping the mind steady while in the posture. For instance, if you happen to do a simple Bhujangasana, lying flat on the floor, bringing the feet together, keeping hands just beneath the shoulder line, inhaling deeply, then the head and chest go up and the person is steady in that posture for a while. That is a state of meditation where the flow of prana is so rich and connecting.
Practice the five yamas: ahimsa—non-violence in thought, word and deed; satya—right communication of thought in the mind; asteya—non-stealing, brahmacharya (holding on to only one partner in relationship); and aparigraha—non-possessiveness. When I cultivate these qualities, the mind is completely at rest.
When the mind becomes calm by practising this, or any of these qualities, it becomes peaceful and is available for education. The culmination of education is also to look within at the core of one’s own self, the spring of limitless quantum of energy called consciousness.
For this International Day of Yoga, the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy has come up with a Common Yoga Protocol terms practice of dhyana or meditation as an aid to move one toward self-realisation and leading one to transcendence as the essence of Yoga Sadhana.
The prayer mentioned in the protocol is an Upanishad Mantra, which says: “May we move in harmony, may we speak in unison, let our mind be in equanimity as it was in the beginning, let the divinity manifest in our endeavours.”
The affirmation at the end of the session says, “I commit to make myself into a healthy, peaceful, joyful and loving human being. Through every action of mine, I will strive to create a peaceful and loving atmosphere around me. I strive to break the limitations of who I am right now and include the entire world as my own. I recognise the kinship of my own life with every other life. I recognise the unity of all there is.”
The author is Acharya, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi (www.sharanyachaitanya. blogspot.in)