Monday, December 13, 2010


Recently a new student asked me if I could write up a quick blog explaining some basic meditation info and suggestions. Here it is.

I think of meditation can be a great tool for anyone in life, allowing us to cultivate a better relationship our whole self and the world around us. Meditation also allows us to slow down so instead of being in a state of constant reactivity we can mindfully choose how best appropriately to respond to any given situation.

There are lots of different meditation techniques out there. But in the yoga world there are two general categories. There is a dual type of meditation (classical yoga) and a non-dual type (tantric yoga).

In the dual type (classical yoga) they believe there is two things the you (purusha) and the other (prakriti) and that you want to get all the other (prakritic) stuff away so you can just experience yourself.. In this meditation you try to still the mind and have no thoughts. I tried this for years and struggled so much. How can I not think? In this form of meditation even when I could empty my mind I still felt very stiff, scared and not very joyful. I also felt like I was bad at mediation. (In my therapy session today we talked a lot about this "I am not good enough" mind set and I notice how much I do this subconsciously.)

The other type of meditation is non-dual meaning everything is one and that oneness is pure of joy, bliss, peace, stability, love... so that even thoughts aren’t seen as something bad because everything is one. I like to think about this in pulsation. Right…everything pulses, our breath, the cycles of nature, even the particles that hold things together are made up of small particles that pulsate and create a sold entity. So if everything pulses and this pulsation is made out of bliss, then why should we try to stop it? That would be like trying to stop the sun from setting. For example if I sit and meditate and my mind is a little more active that day I just sit with that. I try not to get pulled really hard into one thought I just let the thoughts come and go. As if I was lying on my back watching the clouds pass by. I don’t think my thoughts are bad and the fact that I can’t stop them I am bad in this non-dual way we allow every experience to be an opportunity for us to find some more peace or joy in life. here is a link to one of my blogs that talks about having thoughts while meditating (

Here are a few other techniques.
1. counting the breath: as I sit or lie to meditate count my breath inhale 1, exhale, 2, inhale 3 and so on and so on until I get to 10 then I start working backwards inhale 10 exhale 9 inhale 8..however if while I am doing this counting meditation and I get distracted I start back over at 1. I rarely make it to 10. It doesn’t really matter if I do make it to ten it is just a nice way of calming and centering.
2. Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing): a way to cleanse and see clearly while cultivating a more harmonious balance between the left/feminine and right/masculine sides of the body. Close off the air to the left nostril (with the ring and pinky finger of the right hand) exhale through right and inhale through the right nostril then close of air to the right nostril with the thumb exhale through left and inhale and repeat.
3. Mantra: I love mantra. Mantras are using a sound or phase and repeat it over and over either silently or out loud to yourself. The theory behind it is the sound vibrations effect our vibrations and bring that mantra/or affirmation into our being. Here is a link about hindu gods and their mantras
4. audio: I also really enjoy listening to audio meditations and following along. Some of my favorite Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and Harshada Wagner

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