To answer this question, I want to pick up where we left off yesterday. In yesterday’s blog, I shared that Yoga is a state of union and joining of our individual self with the universal consciousness. Yoga is a state of oneness and interconnectedness. I also shared that traditional Hatha yoga consists of an eight-limbed path of which the physical postures is just one of the steps. Today, I want to explore two other steps on that eight-limbed path - meditation and concentration.
Whereas physical postures are the third step, concentration and meditation are the sixth and seventh steps. When we sit down to “meditate,” we are actually practicing concentration. Meditation is a state of being that we cannot control, but that comes to us through grace. We practice concentration to cultivate the conditions to open ourselves up to that grace.
Most all “meditation” practices are more accurately concentration practices where we observe that thoughts come into our mind and we allow them to simply pass through without attaching ourselves to those thoughts. A tool to help us avoid attaching to those thoughts is choosing to focus our attention on something positive. The object of our focus can be most anything, with the most common being the breath. Examples of other practices include gazing at the flame of a candle or walking meditation of focusing entirely on each step. So that when thoughts arise in the mind, we simply allow our focus to return to the breath, the candle flame, or our steps. Through the practice of concentration, we cultivate the ideal conditions to allow ourselves to open up to the grace of a meditative state.
In our weekly meditation and breathwork classes, we practice concentration. We practice cultivating greater focus and stillness between our thoughts. One of the amazing things about this practice is that even though the experience of meditation is actually one of grace that cannot be forced or controlled, we experience so many incredible benefits along the way! Through the regular practice of concentration, we may experience improved focus in other aspects of life, such as our work. We may experience greater feelings of peace and calm within ourselves. I invite you to experience it yourself by joining our live classes!
If you are interested in diving deeper into this topic through a live webinar, then please let me know by liking this blog, leaving me a comment, or sending me a message!