The quality of our meditation is dependent on many things, specifically posture, concentration, knowing what elements to focus on, skillful redirection of one’s focus, being accepting and allowing of “what is” without judgement or resistance, being able to locate our awareness fully in a specific part of the body, and the length of time of our practice. The following tips will help improve the quality of your meditation while affirming that every moment of practice is a victory. Take your time to integrate them. Meditation is a ‘practice’, so expect that you won’t be perfect and will have plenty of room to improve. Return to this list in future to assess how you’re doing on each tip.
- Understand The Focus: Carefully understand the specific areas of focus for the meditation before you begin i.e. tip of nose, third eye point, mantra or breath, place in body, chakra, bandhas, visualization etc. As you go through your meditation, direct your mind to concentrate on these areas of focus.
- Create Space: Set yourself up in a space with no distractions. Go to a quiet room of the house where you won’t be disturbed. Clear your line of sight of anything that might draw your mind out of the meditation.
- Set A Timer: Set a timer with a bell for the length of time you will meditate. This will take your mind off of checking the clock.
- Sit Tall: Sit with a straight spine, chin pulled in slightly. If needed, use a sitting cushion, bench or chair to sit comfortably straight. As your mind begins to wander throughout the meditation, re-straighten your spine. This helps to refocus the mind.
- Keep Still: Keep as physically still as possible during your meditation. Make a commitment to yourself to stay still.
- Start Meditating: Focus your eyes. Repeat the mantra, or begin the breathing technique or meditation process.
- Observe: Link the observing mind (witness, inner knower) to what you are doing i.e. say it, hear it and feel it, become absorbed in it. Observe yourself hearing it and feeling it.
- Sing With Devotion: With mantra, add a devotional flavour from the heart as you repeat it.
- Connect With Meaning: Experience the meaning of the mantra. Link with the universality of it. Link with Infinity.
- Open And Relax: Stay in observer mode and open up to everything. Increase presence by maintaining a relaxed openness without losing alertness.
- Refocus, Refocus, Refocus: As your attention drifts, bring it back to the objects of concentration as quickly as you can, without judgment (i.e. tip of nose, third eye point, mantra or breath, place in body, chakra, bandhas, visualization etc). Stay present.
- Keep Observing: Watch internal talk, images, feelings, sensations as they arise without clinging to them nor trying to push them away. Allow all sensations without locking on to any one. Maintain a non-judgemental, compassionately curious non-attachment.
- Practice Equanimity: Maintain a peaceful equanimity with whatever happens – whether it is outside noise, inner imagery, strong memories, physical discomfort; without attaching or reacting to whatever happens.
- Shunia May Happen – Notice It: When you focus on the tip of the nose or between the eyebrows you create stillness and decrease the tendency for your mind to react to thoughts. When the mind is completely still, this is called “shunia”.
- Expand Your Presence: Synchronize with infinity as you breathe or repeat mantra, so your thoughts are released from personal identification.
Sat Dharam Kaur began studying Kundalini Yoga with Yogi Bhajan in 1976 and has been teaching for over 35 years. She is lead trainer of Lotus Yoga Centre’s Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training Program, and facilitates monthly workshops at the studio. Sat Dharam is also a Naturopathic Doctor, published author, and has developed Kundalini Yoga programs for addiction recovery and breast cancer prevention. Find out more at www.satdharamkaur.com.