“Freedom is the innermost desire of all our hearts” – B K S Iyengar
Meditation – for a healthy mind, body and connection to the world
The practice of Meditation is older than we will ever know. We do know it grew out of ancient eastern spirituality and historians say its roots are in Yoga and early Hinduism, dating at least three thousand years’ old. Fast forward to the 21st century, and Meditation seems to be having a renaissance. This is mainly because the stress-relieving benefits of meditation have become more widely known, and they are being sought after in these pressured modern times we live in.
What is Meditation:
I describe Meditation as both a practice and state of being. It can be the practice of and state of being in the following ways:
State: aware of the present moment without judgment or distraction
Practice: noting what is a judgement, feeling, what the senses are picking up on, or distraction from the present moment. This is what we generally call Mindfulness .
State: absorbed wholly in the present moment to the extent of being awareness itself, with no separation between object (what is perceived or felt) and subject (me, the perceiver). Practice: focusing on one thing only, repeatedly (breath, a sound, a mantra-affirmation, a visual, a god).
This is a spiritual or the enlightened form of Meditation -State: being an energy that is a vehicle for compassion.
Practice: focusing attention and awareness on self love, love for others and empathy with what arises in the moment. This is called Loving Kindness Meditation
State: Yogic state, in a constant flow between being in awareness and response.
Practice: any one of the above ways (concentration on one thing, attention to whatever arises or devotion) combined with disciplined training of the body. This is the state of Yoga (though modern times have tended to extract the meditation component from the practice).
The history of meditation, its diverse lineages and the hundreds of techniques that exist to practice it, is a fascinating pursuit in itself. Though if you are seeking to develop or sustain a meditation practice, it is advised to find and stick to one way that suits you and your lifestyle needs and progress from there.
Do you need Meditation?
Modern life has us more stimulated and distracted than any other time in the record of human beings: the rise of technology constantly calling upon our attention, the 24 hour culture we now live in, the faster pace of life, multi-tasking (and multi-role playing as male and female responsibilities have become inter-changeable) and the relatively new impetus from the 20th century that we ‘should be’ different or better or constantly seeking change.
The rise of consumerism and ironically greater wealth in the West has also made us far more distracted from the present and what we already have.
As if that weren’t enough to contend with… latest neuroscience research (the study of the nervous system and the brain) has proven that humans have an in-built negativity bias. What this means is that we are programmed to see and feel ‘more negative’ reactions than positive ones.
This has the result of either keeping us in fear mode or unwilling to sit with the present.
As individuals we may not be able to change or rewind the pressures and demands of modern life – but we can develop our own capacity to manage it, navigate it and find a healthy balance within ourselves…. … through Meditation.
Benefits of practicing Meditation:
The benefits are many, some are immediate, more benefit comes after a few months regular practice, and the benefits continue to build over time.
For the purposes of this introduction here, I’ll outline the main benefits available to a person who choose to meditate:
Making time each day to consciously take one’s attention and presence inward and allow oneself to just be is itself tension-reducing.
Practiced regularly, both mind and body not only benefit from the tension-reduction, but grow resilience to the onslaught of things, situations and our own patterns that cause stress.
Meditation may seem like it’s just training the the mind, but the practice has a direct impact on our emotions, nervous system and functioning of the body. Ample science research now shows how focusing our attention on one thing for a period of time helps the body rebalance and the cells regenerate.
The practice of meditation gives us tools on how to manage our reactions through the body, breath and focused attention. This can be in the moment of the reaction itself, for example, when someone says something that makes us angry or upset, or afterwards when we need recourse to finding grounding and balance, for example, if we can’t sleep at night.
Personal growth and development
Over time, meditation helps us see our reactive state and our tendencies and where they may not be serving us. We learn more about the way we think, as well as what makes us feel joy and peace within.
More ease in the world
Meditation helps us live more in the awareness state, giving a broader perspective from which to see and live in. If we practice mind training with Compassion and Yoga, we learn to be able to live full and whole-heartedly, feeling connected to the world, yet not overwhelmed by it as are able to surf the ebbs and flows.
Meditation Guidance with Divya
The meditation guidance I offer is a combination of: Mindfulness and Concentration techniques, with the bigger picture framework of Compassion and Self Growth.
My hope is that anyone can access the meditation guidances I share through the Yoga classes I teach: be the need purely for stress-relief or something more spiritual, I welcome and make space through the meditation for individual need to be met.
I offer Meditation through:
-the Yoga classes I teach, this can be as a stand-alone component of the class, for example in Wednesday night West Hampstead Yoga, or interweaved through the practice, for example in Yin Yoga -through
-Private instruction: I visit homes and workplaces to help people develop a personal regular effective meditation practice that suits their need, lifestyle and temperament
-Group gatherings, or Sittings: please see the Events page for updates on meditation circles.
-Or drop me a line, via the Contacts page, if you are interested in discussing how tuition for your Meditation practice
If you’d like to go deeper into your meditation practice please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org