Taking The Mystery Out of Yoga

By Gretchen Karros




There are many different types of Meditation, partly because this spiritual discipline has been around for thousands of years, changing and expanding along the way. The ancient Rishis (spiritual teachers) date from as far back as 3,000 B.C. where these men taught ancient versions of mediation to their chelas (students.)   All of these teachings came from transcendental knowledge.  Later, the Vedic scriptures influenced codes of behavior, sacrificial practices and rules of conduct because the Brahmans (priests who were teaching the scriptures of earlier times) were not then powerful leaders and they were not a threat to the Rishis.  Therefore, they emphasized the breath, stilling the mind, and entering deep states of mind (called “samadhi”) long before anyone else. One can safely say that the practice, theories and movements of Yoga had its beginning about this time.

Defining Meditation is not easy because almost everyone who has tried it has a different experience.  A favorite expression is “What you think about is not Meditation” is a truism.  You can study books about it, listen to tapes, or go to Yoga classes where one is supposed to “experience” Meditation, but it is only after learning to watch the breath, to concentrate, to clear your mind, to let go of tension in all muscles, and to practice letting go of thoughts that enter the mind will you get a small sense of what is in store for you.  But, there is much to be said about having a good teacher/guru to guide you along the way, to making time to do it on a regular basis (that is, every day for a short time, both morning and evening and doing it faithfully every day without hesitation.

Also it helps to know that you can become more aware just by sitting.  For example, sitting quietly after relaxing, feeling the breath as it comes in and out sometimes is a good beginning for Meditation.  Perhaps a thought comes out of the blue and you are on a roll, maybe thinking about what you need to get at the grocery store.  Just recognize the thought as being a good thought or a bad thought. Bad thoughts are usually things from the past.  If it was good thought you could hang onto it for a couple of seconds. If it is a bad thought, immediately get back to the breath.  Just doing this for a while will teach you awareness.

I began the practice of Meditation over 40 years ago. It is an on going practice. I recommend it to anyone because it quiets the mind, calms the body and eventually puts one in a place of Divine Peace.