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The Himalayan Tradition

Beginning
Meditation

Swami Veda Bharati

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Table of Content

1. Introduction
2. Steps to Meditation
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
2. Correct Posture
3. Systematic Relaxation
4. Breath Awareness
5. The Sacred Word
3. Practical lesson on Meditation

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Table of Content

1. Introduction
2. Steps to Meditation
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
2. Correct Posture
3. Systematic Relaxation
4. Breath Awareness
5. The Sacred Word
3. Practical lesson on
Meditation

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Introduction

Common to the
practices of many
schools, the first step
to meditation is
awareness of breath.
Anyone can begin at
any age; younger the
better. The practice
should be done at least
once a day.

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Table of Content

1. Introduction
2. Steps to Meditation
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
2. Correct Posture
3. Systematic Relaxation
4. Breath Awareness
5. The Sacred Word
3. Practical lesson on
Meditation

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To Practice Meditation, learn.…

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing – Breathe


through diaphragm so that no
pressure is felt in the lungs
2. Correct Posture – Keep the spine
straight. No feeling of discomfort in
the legs, back or the neck
3. Systematic Relaxation – Relax the
neuro-muscular system step by step
4. Mindful Breathing – Be aware of
breathing
5. Mantra – Japa of a mantra or a sacred
word from one’s spiritual tradition

The first step to meditation is awareness of breath 5


To learn Diaphragmatic Breathing, Practice… 1a
Makarasana: The Crocodile Position
1. Lie on the stomach; Heels slightly apart
2. Cross the right arm over the left and place them in
front of you to uplift the upper chest
3. Rest your forehead on the arms
4. Bring your awareness to the breathing process
Makarasana - Front View
5. Observe the flow of the breath
6. Let there be no jerks, no breaks in your breathing
7. Observe and feel the gentle movement in the
stomach area as you breathe
8. Take note of the breathing process

Makarasana - Side View …Cont/d

Practice Makarasana and Shavasana for 5 to 15 minutes 6


To learn Diaphragmatic Breathing, Practice… 1b
Shavasana: The Corpse Position
1. Lie on the back; Heels and hands slightly apart
2. Breathe and observe the rise and fall of the stomach and navel area
3. Place left palm on the chest and right palm on the stomach
4. Feel the rise and fall smoothly without jerks or breaks
5. Breathe uniformly - Length of inhalation and exhalation being equal

Shavasana

Practice either of the two asanas or both in sequence 7


For a Correct Posture you may sit on the floor… 2a
On the floor
1. Fold a blanket and make it into a neat and firm cushion
2. Place it under the sit bones with legs and knee on the floor
3. Straighten your shoulder
4. Straighten your spine. Straight spine is slightly “S” shape curve
5. If any discomfort is felt in the back or neck, experiment with the height of the
cushion

Folded blanket in two layers

On the floor - Side View On the floor - Front View …Cont/d

Practice correct posture 8


OR you may sit on the chair… 2b
On the chair (Mitrasana)
1. Sit on the edge of a hard chair with feet on
the ground
2. If required, put a cushion under your feet
3. Sit with straight spine
4. Place the hand in the front; on the thighs

On the chair - Side View On the chair - Front View

One need not try to sit in advanced postures 9


Relax the body Sequentially 3a
Relax your >>> Forehead >>> Eyebrows
>>> Eyes >>> Nostrils >>> Cheeks >>> Jaw
>>> Corner of the mouth >>> Chin >>>
Neck >>> Neck-joint >>> Shoulders >>>
Shoulder-joints >>> Upper arms >>>
Elbows >>> Lower arms >>> wrists >>>
hands >>> fingers >>> fingertips.
Fingertips >>> fingers >>>Hands >>>
Wrists >>> Lower arms >>> Elbows >>>
The basic methodical relaxation Upper arms >>> Shoulder joints >>>
Shoulders >>> Chest >>> Heart area >>>
 Lie in Shavasana with feet apart, arms separate from
Stomach >>> Navel >>> Abdomen >>>
body and palms up Pelvis >>> Thigh joints >>> Thighs >>>
 Continue breathing diaphragmatically Knees >>> Calf muscles >>> Ankles >>>
 Take a mental inventory of the body from forehead to Feet >>> Toes.
toe Toes >>> Feet >>> Ankles >>> Calf
 Ask each part of the body to relax as it is brought to muscles >>> Knees >>> Thighs >>> Thigh
mind following the Sequence* joints >>> Pelvis >>> Abdomen >>> Navel
>>> Stomach >>> Heart Area >>> Chest >>>
 Relax in the reverse order up the body. Remember Shoulder joints >>> Shoulders >>> Neck
the sequence. Go over the body and relax each of joint >>> Neck >>> Chin >>> Corner of the
these parts in this sequence. mouth >>> Jaw >>> Cheeks >>> Nostrils
>>> Eyes >>> Eyebrows >>> Forehead
 Let the different parts go limp …Cont/d

Relax your body. Breathe only diaphragmatically 10


You may also practice Tension/Relaxation method 3b
If body still does not relax, a different method of relaxation may
be used called “Tension/Relaxation” method.

Avoid
tensing
 Lie in Shavasana
 When tensing, tense from the finger or toes upwards muscles
 Tense and relax the right leg left leg right leg other
left leg. Repeat
 Tense and relax both legs simultaneously. Repeat than the
 Tense and relax the right leg and arm left leg and ones you
arm right leg and arm left leg and arm. Repeat
 Tense and relax the right arm left arm right arm are
left arm. Repeat working
 Tense and relax both arms simultaneously. Repeat
 Tense and relax all the limbs simultaneously. Repeat with
 Lie in Shavasana for a few minutes, then sit up for
meditation

Let there be no sign of any tension in the whole body 11


Practice Breath Awareness 4
Let there be no break in the awareness of
the breath flow

 Sit on the floor or the chair with straight spine


 Establish diaphragmatic breathing
 Feel the flow and touch of the breath in the nostrils
 No Pause between the breath
 Awareness of inhalation should immediately
merge with the awareness of exhalation and
vice versa Let the breath flow
 If the mind wanders off, straighten the spine again without……………
 Relax quickly again
 Jerks
 Re-establish diaphragmatic breathing
 Breaks
 Continue with the awareness of the flow and touch of
 Sound
the breath in the nostrils
 Gasping

Let the flow of the breath be even and smooth 12


Practice with a Mantra – The Sacred words 5
Those in different religious tradition may use Remember,
the sacred word prescribed by their tradition meditative
state cannot
To begin with use “Soham” - I Am That be entered
by fighting
oneself
 Exhaling, mentally remember “HAAAMMM”
 Inhaling, mentally remember “SOOOOO”
 No interruptions in the breath awareness
 No interruptions in the awareness of the flow of the
word as a thought
 Slowly lengthen the time of being aware of the flow
without interruptions
 Let it flow. Let it happen. Observe and experience

Observe how the breath, the word and the mind are flowing together 13
Table of Content

1. Introduction
2. Steps to Meditation
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
2. Correct Posture
3. Systematic Relaxation
4. Breath Awareness
5. The Sacred Word

3. Practical lesson on
Meditation

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Meditation with So-ham Mantra
1. Sit in a comfortable posture – Floor or Chair
2. Be aware of yourself from head to toe
3. Draw around yourself, as it were, three circles of light
4. Resolve that the mind will not cross these circles, nor will any intruding thoughts and
impression enter from outside
5. Exhale and Inhale by remaining aware of yourself from head to toe
6. Progressively relax your entire body with each exhalation
7. Now resolve in your mind, for the next 5 minutes - you will be aware of the
movement of your stomach and navel area with the gentle rhythm of breathing
8. Now resolve that for 5 minutes there will be no other thought except for the
awareness of the path of your breath from the navel to the nostrils, from nostrils to
the navel
9. Now feel the flow and the touch of your breath in your active nostril
10. Now resolve that for 5 minutes there will be no intruding thoughts except the feel of
the breath in your passive nostril
11. Now resolve that for 5 minutes there will be no other thought except the feel of the
breath in your two nostrils
12. Now with you breath, exhale thinking the word haaammm, inhale thinking the word
sooo
…Cont/d
PS: If you do not believe in God – Exhale counting ONE; Inhale counting TWO 15
Meditation with So-ham Mantra
13. Resolve that for 5 minutes there be no other thought except the feel of the breath in
both nostrils - inhaling sooo, exhaling haaammm
14. Maintain the resolve so that no break occurs between the exhalations and the
inhalations
15. Observe how the mind and the word are flowing together in a single stream, the
mind stream itself becoming a word and the breath
16. Now mentally feel the spot where the nose-bridge ends and the upper lip begins.
Mentally feel the spot between the eyebrows
17. Now inhale as though you were inhaling from the spot in front of the nose-bridge, a
subtle energy flowing to the spot between the eyebrows; exhale the same way. (This
flow between the two spots is known as sushumna breath)
18. Maintain the stream of the mind, word and the energy flow
19. Resolve that for 5 minutes you will only feel the flow of the stream in the sushumna
channel
20. Now using the center between the eyebrows as the gateway, enter the chamber of
your mind and resolve for half a minute, there will be no exterior thoughts, only
utter silence and absolute stillness
21. Resolve and maintain the enjoyment of such silence and stillness for half a minute

…Cont/d

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Meditation with So-ham Mantra
22. Now from the gateway between the eyebrows, resolve to be only in sushumna
breath for a minute
23. Maintain the same stream of the mind, word and the energy flow without the
intrusion of any thought
24. Continue in silence and observe the mantra so-ham in the breath
25. Renew every minute, the resolve to permit no other exterior thought
26. If you have difficulty, practice the entire process you have just gone through
27. Sit as long as you wish
28. Without breaking the flow, gently open your eyes
29. Continue to feel the flow even with your eyes open
30. Resolve to calm the mind in this way many-many times in the day
31. Whatever you will do repeatedly with your mind; will become the mind’s habit and
the mind will rediscover its original calm nature

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This presentation is from the book “Night Birds”
written by Swami Veda Bharati and gives only an
overview on the select subject.

For a deeper understanding, please study the original


work.

Pictorial depiction of asanas may be helpful but are


better learnt under expert guidance.

May you receive the grace of the


Himalayan Lineage

© 2010 Swami Veda Bharati. All Rights Reserved.


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What to do with
overwhelming desire?
Nothing.
Neither denounce
yourself nor indulge.
Neither decry nor affirm.
Indifference calms a
jumping dog.
- Swami Veda Bharati

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