Getting into meditation

I think there are many insightful people on this board, people that would be pretty cool to meet one day. I would be interested in hearing of how you get yourselves ready and into the state of meditation. Personally I have to just do it, sit there and tell myself "I am aloting myself this time and I am not coming up prematurely, normally start out with alternate nostril breathing first. and for me early morning seems to work best. Do any of you find that applying root lock before hand seems to help? any other tips or pointers to ponder that you find seems to work?
on the journey,

What Bentinho said … some say it is ok to move if you are uncomfortable, that is not meditation, that’s still preparing. When you do not move at all, and even your breath slows down to impreceptible … than it gets very interesting.

as with so many other posts here, this Q goes right to the essence of the human condition. At the root of almost everything is our human mind. Society, religion, essential human-ness, and yes, yoga-ness, are generated by our problematic organ.

But, not to get off the direct topic - since the mind is forever wanting stimulation, and not given that, will create its own ‘mindfulness’, regardless of your intent.
Purely by accidental observation (this brief moment of Faux-enlightment happened during a skiing mishap, while waiting to be proccessed down the hill on a Ski Patrol sled) - not having any place to go, nothing to do, and needing to overcome a fairly high level of momentary pain, I started to focus on my breathing. Once I had let go of thoughts of the ‘consequences’ of my most recent actions, worries of what might happen to my ‘stuff’, and with full understanding that I really had no place to go at that moment, nor things I needed to do (much less ‘could’ do), I easily found a focus on the most obvious thing I could do - the breath. Fairly quickly after that, the perceived pain faded to background noise and I found my mind strongy rooted to something I had never contemplated that intensely before - my breath.
After that experience - a month or 2 later - I again tried the same thing, this time, lying down and trying to focus on the breath. Again, the same process happened.
Since then I’ve used that to preamble my times of meditation (as mediative process became an objective). That was over 25 yrs ago.
It wasn’t until very recently that, through getting acquainted with Yoga, I put a name to my meditative posture - savasana.
I know many others use a seated posture for meditation, but I don’t think its hugely important what position anyone uses. The important aspect is being able to move from the immediate concerns and corral the mind’s exploratory energy and have it follow a course you wish to go.
The reduction of environmental distractions, reduction of any self-preservative impulses and preferrably the relative absence of physical annoyances.
Not unsurprisingly, moderate and high levels of constant pain and discomfort can actually help getting into a meditative level. First the mind focuses on that overbearing pain, and once its/you’ve had enough of that, it becomes relatively easy to move to the next most obvious thing - your breath. Time becomes exactly what it is, a human invention.
Often the hardest part, once you have found your drishti of reflection, is the coming back…

for me, since my mind wants to escape, if I lay down I mostly go to sleep. after my morning asanas many times I fall asleep in the corpse pose.:slight_smile:

I know the feeling. :slight_smile:

When I was an eight grader (14 years old) I’ve learnt about autogene training. There was this exercise described there, to slowly focus on you toes, feet, leg, thigh, left , right, fingers, wrist, forearm, arm, shoulders, than trunk, neck, face, relaxing them, feeling their weight, warmth in them, and a ceirtan heavyness. This supposed to relax the body so one can concentrate and calm the mind. When I tried this, I always fell asleep. :slight_smile: I felt frustration, because I did not succed to concentrate and meditate … but when I look back now, I say, hey at least I learnt the capacity to fall asleep as my put my head on the pillow. And indeed it is so, my wife is always amused, because I get to bed, and I fall asleep in a blink of an eye. (Unless I do not want to sleep, but that is not your business :slight_smile: )
I can sleep anywhere any time, for the amount of time previously fixed. A nice thing to have.

The concept of Time comes up in this post.

I like what cycle zen saya:
…Time becomes exactly what it is, a human invention.

When in deep meditation not only is the awareness of the physical is lost but also the concept of time…

yup, then there’s that… :slight_smile:
dependz on the ‘poseur’, lying down is often a trigger for the body to go into ‘sleep’ mode. It does happen to me very occasionally as well, but I figure if I’m that tired that I can’t seem to keep awareness and therefore nod off, then itz prolly the best thing…
For many lotus works well. I use siddhasana or sukhasana sometimes when I can get well supported and not distracted. I know there are many who say padmasana - zazen is the only way to fly. But its my trip, and like Proust said “a journey that no one can take for us or spare us from”, I’m travelin my way.

cyclezen: I liked both the reminder about time and the Proust quote you shared with us here. Thank you!

I was taught by Mukunda that regular, and immediate sleep onset is a sign of chronic sleep deprivation. This is in agreement with what I learned from my Mind, Body, Health professor who runs a NASA-sponsored sleep laboratory at my university.

As cylcezen offers, it is likely the best thing to nod off if you are too tired to keep aware and awake. You will not integrate the fullest benefits of your asana or meditation practice on your ananmaya and manomaya koshas if you do go to sleep in shavasana, but all is definitely not lost. I let client rest quietly and undisturbed if they fall asleep, but I encourage them to stay present as they begin their shavasana and Yoga nidra.


I am sure I do not suffer of chronic sleep deprivation … in fact I sleep a lot, 8-9 hours. I also go to bed at regular hours … big thing to have if you are predominantly vata. Vata needs structure. My wife provides a good stucture to my life … I am sure I’ll be dead if she was not there all these years. :smiley: Ok, maybe not dead, but a lot more miserable.

There are definitely exceptions to every rule, especially when observing human beings. Hubert, you are the tulip in a field full of daisies :wink:

Generally speaking, it is true that vatas (both in prakrti and vikriti) require more sleep than those pittas and kaphas in our world. Our need for sleep, or wakeful and rejuvenating rest, increases with the demands in our lives and therefore on our systems. All stimulation, especially that which we digest with our eyes and our ears, requires even more rest. I am just throwing some ideas out, since most of us are not in a sleep lab having our sleep evaluated, and because our world is changing and requiring more rest and rejuvenation than we ever did before, especially in the USA. Our nervous systems are getting it from all sides: plastics, pesticides, computers, TV, commuting to work, divorce, the war, etc. and these things are manifesting on the anamaya kosha as heart disease, depression, anxiety, chronic inflammation, and the like.

Maybe in this world vatas need even more sleep and rest?

One of the obstacles Patanjali is talking about is a feeling of laziness and tirerdness.
So if the mind is loosing it`s used control it tends to switch the light of and
people fall asleep instead of meditating.


Hey, Nichole, your posts always remind me who I am and who you are. (yoga wannabe versus yoga teacher :slight_smile: )

A yogi once was askwed, what is your yoga ?
He answered: when I feel sleepy, I sleep. When I am hungry, I eat.

So many times we neglect our most simple tools to happiness. Can one meditate if sleepy, or hungry ? Ceirtanly not. But we often try to meditate when even these most simple needs are not fulfilled.

When the base is weak, how can the building last ?

Without a sound, balanced lifestyle, and habits, there is no yoga at all.
Meditation done every day, while there are unfinished businesses, unbalanced aspects of our lives, is of little effect. Home, job, relationships, all have to be balanced, completed, sound and healthy. (in case of those who have these, of course) To find your path inthis life … this is the bigger task.

Hi All,

Meditation for me is every moment of my life. Yes, I still set time aside for what I call my daily meditation and all that is associated with it, but lately I feel that everything I do is meditation, perhaps mindfulness and awareness was some of the outflow of years of sitting and doing “meditation”. But then, my own teacher always said and I experienced it now again in India as well, you never meditate, what we mostly do is concentration, meditation is something that will happen to you when you are ready. Are we ready? As Nicole mentioned there are so many things interfering with our lives today and on top of it all we are in a very detrimental Yuga (the Kali Yug) and I am reminded by the advice of Swami Venkateshananda who said that if you can persist with your practice in the Kali Yug, if you can stick to your discpline no matter what, you have the opportunity to make big jumps in this Yuga, bigger than anyone can even imagne.

Hubert, In 2005 I was at the ashram of Sri Sathy Sai Baba and in one of his morning discourses he mentioned a very interesting thing about being vata pitta and kappa. He said as we live in such a heavy Yuga (the Kali Yug is associated with iron, which is heavy, dark and not plyable) the average vata person will need more sleep, more nutritious food and more structure to their lives as this Yuga are not very favourable to vatas. I am also primarily vata so his advice made much sense to me. You might have discovered this most probably already.

Hi Pandara

Thanks for the reminder that meditation should happen in every moment of the daily life.
If we realise this dish washing becomes a meditaion and loads of other things to.
Isn`t that beautiful?
All the best

How interesting- I never thought of certain doshas needing more sleep. It does make sense and something I am going to personally explore more with myself and my students.

I find that meditation can be carried into nearly all activities in life. While meditating while “doing” should not replace meditating while sitting or lying down in a formal state of “non-doing”, I still think it is very valuable. For example, I like to meditate while I am driving. I attempt to stay very present- feel my body, notice my breath and experience what is being perceived by my eyes. I try to keep all my senses in the experiential state only rather than thinking about what I am experiencing. It can be quite a rich practice and it takes advantage of an otherwise distracting and seemingly stressful time (driving!)

Hi Elizabeth,

I agree with you completely, one should still cultivate the discipline of having a “sitting” meditation. I think what I mean by doing meditation even when I wash dishes or drive, and I think you touch on this as well, is to be mindful and aware of what you are doing, then the hours in the traffic and my not so favourite washing of dishes becomes liberating.

I have enjoyed reading this discussion. Pandara’s comment regarding concentration vs. meditation contains some truth for me. At this time during my pranayama practice there coexists a level of concentration and a level of observation. Or so it appears to me.

The sequence of events for my “scheduled” morning meditation is that first I study (always sutras, sometimes also other teachings), then I perform asanas, then I sit quietly, then pranayama in seated pose, then meditation while still seated. This particular sequence has a very natural flow for me.

I too am challenged by the concept of time. I work full time and rising early enough to do [I]anything[/I] other than rush off to work has been a challenge. I’m not a morning person, as the saying goes. Right now I am rising early enough to allow about an hour for my Yoga practice, which is a miracle in itself and I’m grateful – on the other hand, it would be interesting not to be aware of the clock at all.

I do have [I]moments[/I] throughout the day where I will become present, centered by my breathing, observing what is going on around me without attachment to it, just in a quiet mind. It’s a gift when it happens.

I trust that this is exactly as it is supposed to be for me, for today.


Seeking Light,
Thanks for your sharing your comments. Your morning practice sounds wonderful- and filled with the many aspects of a yoga practice. When you start with the Sutras, how do you chose what you are going to read? And do you incorporate the theme of what you read for the day into the practice and meditation?

Elizabeth, I have always had a very organized approach toward life, and so I simply started the Sutras at the beginning and am proceeding sequentially. I have picked up a couple of other books on the Yoga Sutras that I anticipate studying when I finish what I am in now. I only started with the Sutras this fall.

I also take notes as I read because it helps my retention…:wink:

I have not yet started to incorporate anything other than an awareness of the Sutras into my day. For many years now I have been (sometimes loosely) practicing another spiritual program in my daily life, and I’m trying to take a gentle yet consistent approach towards making Yoga a part of my life. I sometimes find myself intimidated by pieces of the teachings here and there, which is just another reminder to take it easy. Enjoy each step, Desikichar says again and again!

BTW, I just passed through your web link and was excited to see some pranayama articles there. I look forward to checking it out.


aka SeekingLight