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a brief 7-day course on meditation.

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Crash Course on Meditation-Dhyana Yoga-Sudhakar V.Rao MD

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Crash Course on

Meditation (Dhyana Yoga)A Practical Manual

Dedicated to

Sri Rama Bhaktaagresara, Bhakta jana paripaala, Aashrita jana vatsala

Sri Anjaneya SwamyBy

Bhakta ParamaanuvuSudhakar V.Rao MD.

Abridged from a previous 7-day course hosted and conducted by The Author.

Crash Course on Meditation-Dhyana Yoga-Sudhakar V.Rao MD

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Meditation, also known as Dhyana yoga is best achieved in eight steps. These eight steps described by Sage Patanjali constitute Ashtanga yoga. They are considered as the eight rungs of the ladder to reach the pinnacle of meditation called Samadhi. The eight limbs as described in the Yoga sutras (aphorisms) of Patanjali are: Yamas (universal morality towards self,) Niyamas (morality towards others), Asanas (physical yoga poses), Pranayama (control of prana through breath), Pratyahara (control of senses), Dharana (concentration and stillness), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (enlightenment). Yamas and Niyamas are a way of behavior modification, necessary for success in meditation.

The five yamas are:Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (Truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy), and Aparigraha (non-covetousness).

Niyama (universal morality towards others) consist of:Shaucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapa (Austerity), Swaadhyaaya (selfeducation), and Iswara Pranidhaana (meditation on the Divine).

Session 1:The first step is to decide the exact place and time for meditation in your own homes. If any of you need any assistance I shall be glad to assist by visiting your home (free!!!!! No charge!!!!!!!) Please do practice what we learnt in the class. Fix a place, fix a time and stick to it! This is the first step for success in meditation. Here is a brief recapitulation what we learnt in the first session. Light up a diya or a candle. If you wish, you can choose a picture of your ishta devata (favorite form God) or any picture as the object on which to meditate. This helps concentration The steps we talked about and practiced are as follows: 1. Sit down and relax all the muscles starting from head all the way down the feet. Close your eyes and breathe deep and slow. Inhale slowly, hold the breath for a few moments and exhale slowly, the way we learnt in the first session. Do this about five times concentrating on the breathing. Let all the muscles relax. You will feel and hear your heart beat slow down. 2.Stand up and do the stretching exercises we learnt. Do not push yourself to the point of pain. Do only as much as you can comfortably. The idea is to stretch the muscles. Gradually you will be able to increase the stretching, the key is persistence and sticking to the routine. If you need to you can hold on to some sort of a support like the arm of a

Crash Course on Meditation-Dhyana Yoga-Sudhakar V.Rao MDchair or corner of a table etc. the idea is to be conscious of your entire body and especially the spine. 3. Do the Surya namaskars. Again be careful not to hurt yourself. In the beginning just do only one or two cycles. See the picture below. Do not overstretch, especially

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in the second step when you bend backwards with arms outstretched and palms held together.

4. Sit down and relax. If you can sit in padmasana (lotus pose),it is good. Otherwise just sit up with spine straight, so that the Kundalini Shakti (power) will travel upwards easily. Keep the neck straight. Start breathing slowly in and out.

4. Sit down and relax. If you can sit in pad asana (lotus pose), it is good. Otherwise just sit up 5.Find the frequency of the "Om" ()or the sound given to straight, so with spine you by the technique you learnt in the class. Chant Om/sound in that frequency with closed eyes and try to that the Kundalini concentrate in between the eyebrows. Five to ten times is fine. You can do more if you Shakti (power) will have the time. Make sure your chant arises deep from the belly button. travel upwards easily. Keep the neck straight. 6.Do the pranayama as long as you can following the Start breathing slowly in technique you learnt in the class. You will feel warmth in and out.the lower back and you will also perspire some. This is normal and this means your pranayama is successful. If not you may have to work at it. Relaxing all the muscles and keeping up the spine straight while breathing is the secret!

Crash Course on Meditation-Dhyana Yoga-Sudhakar V.Rao MD

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7.Think of a word or a mantra and start repeating in low tone or whisper 108 times or longer. This is called Japa. It is recommended you get this from your teacher.Try to focus your attention between the eyebrows where the Aajna chakra is located. The mantra recited out loud or mentally, elevates us to a telepathic state and beyond that state which is transcendental. There are four kinds of Japa or Meditation: 1.Vaikhari: reciting mantra aloud. 2.Upaamsu: whispering or humming. 3.Maanasika: the mental repetition of the mantra. 4.Likhita: when mantra is written 108 times or in multiples of 108 times. Beginners should use chanting in low tone (Vaikhari type). As a rule the practitioner receives a Mantra from a Guru (a spiritually liberated individual with sublime thoughts-) beware of impostors who charge you enormous

amounts of money or ask favors!!) It is important to adhere to one mantra. Do not keep changing this.

Japa is an exact science. For this purpose, one can use a mala, a string of prayer beads like a rosary. It consists of 108 beads. You may use one with only 54 beads, but I recommend one with 108 beads. This will increase the stage of Dharana (one-pointed concentration of mind) 8.AS you increase dharana you will automatically stop whispering and uttering the mantra or the word mentally, while your concentration is in between the eyebrows and your eyes are closed. The muscles are relaxed and the heart rate is low.

9.Then you will enter the stage of dhyana (meditation).

Crash Course on Meditation-Dhyana Yoga-Sudhakar V.Rao MD You will learn more in the next session. Sudhakar Rao

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Session 2:I want to keep these write-ups short so that you will not be tired of reading. Yet this information is essential to reap the full benefits of the classes. The seven sessions are meant to give us an insight into the seven steps of Patanjali Yoga. The first class was an overview so that you could have something to practice and be steady on the path of Dhyana yoga or meditation. Remember, sticking to the routine and commitment is the secret of success. After being in practice of yamas and niyamas, the asana or the posture is the third step. Today we practiced the entire seven steps but paid more attention to the asana. It is the third rung on the ladder of practice of yoga. Asana also means a seat and this is appropriate because you have to sit before going into meditation. The muscles are all relaxed and if you stand, you tend to fall and if you lie down, you tend to sleep. A proper asana helps you remaining conscious and yet be in meditation. Remember, Meditation is heightened awareness. . Asana is the initial step in Yoga, whereby the bodily structure is set in unison with the cosmos. . Most important step in asana is to sit comfortably. There should not be any discomfort, pain or tightness of muscles. But there are some minimum requirements, although there are some allowances.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING:

1.You should not sit on the bare ground, because the earth is a conductor of electricity and the energy liberated during meditation may leak out, and this may become a reason for the temptation to discontinue your sadhana or practice. A non-conductor of electricity is good material to spread on the ground. In olden days a dry grass mat was used, called the Kusa Asana over which a deerskin, and a cloth, both non-conductors of electricity, were spread. You dont have to spend a lot of money buying these. An ordinary thick piece of cloth or cotton mattress will suffice. 2.The Gita prescribes that the seat should not be too high or too low. You may fall down if the seat is very high, and if it is too low, there is the likelihood of insects and reptiles creeping into the seat. 3. The spine, too, should be kept straight. It should be at right angles to the base. One should not be leaning against any support or be bending forward. The reason is that

if the spine is straight the nerves get relaxed and no part of the body exerts influence on another part. The flow of Prana through the nerves is

Crash Course on Meditation-Dhyana Yoga-Sudhakar V.Rao MD smoothened. There is a free movement of energy in the body when the whole system is in a state of relaxation. This also helps the Kundalini Shakti travel upwards through the Sushumna nadi easily.

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Padmasana

Siddhaasana

Swastika asana

4. When you sit down, the legs could be positioned in one of three or four ways. There are Padma-Asana, Siddha-Asana, Swastika-Asana and Sukha-Asana. We reviewed these during the class. Choose the one most comfortable for you. What if you have trouble with the knees? You can then sit on a wooden chair with a flat cushion and a straight back. In the beginning you may rest your spine on the back of the chair but not lean on it. The back of the chair should be straight and not curve backwards.

The purpose of a fixed Asana is to enable the mind to slowly forget that there is a body at all. The body will attract attention, somehow. But the mind cannot, in meditation, afford to remain conscious of the body. You will gradually lose sensation of the limbs. You forget that you are seated, that you have a body or limbs. The first sign of successful practice in Asana is a sense of levitation. But this ta