As we approach the second annual International Day of Yoga on June 21, one might ask the question, ‘What is yoga?’ Most people are beginning to realize that it’s more than just the physical asanas.
Yoga’s original definition is ‘union’ of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit, and consists of a philosophy and system of techniques that include not only asanas (the physical postures) but also meditation.
In celebration of the International Day of Yoga, Self-Realization Fellowship—founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda, widely regarded as the father of Yoga in the West and author of the best-seller Autobiography of a Yogi—encourages all aspiring yogis to try the deeper science of yoga meditation. Most people don’t know how to incorporate meditation into their busy daily schedules. Or, they claim that they’re unable to still the chatter in their minds. But all it takes is even 15 minutes to experience Yoga’s benefits.
Guidelines from Self-Realization Fellowship (founded 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda)
Some quick guidelines for beginning a meditation practice: It is advantageous to designate a quiet, peaceful place where one can be secluded and undisturbed during meditation – a personal sanctuary exclusively for meditation practice. Correct posture is important, either sitting on a straight chair or cross-legged on a firm surface, and keeping the spine erect. The eyes should be closed, with the gaze gently lifted upward to the point between the eyebrows — the seat of concentration, and of the spiritual eye of divine perception. One should silently chant or mentally pray to the Divine, keeping the attention at this point, and eventually he or she will feel a deepening peace and inner joy.
The far-reaching benefits of yoga meditation have been extolled in volumes by Paramahansa Yogananda and by experienced practitioners. Below, we’d like to offer Yogananda’s encouraging words from Inner Peace as inspiration for both beginners and experienced meditators wanting to reignite their practice on this special day:
- ‘Meditation opens wide all the closed inner doors of your body, mind, and soul to admit the surge of God’s power. Your whole body and entire being changes when you practice meditation regularly. Contact with God brings inner harmony into your life as you merge with His peace’.
- ‘Real unending joy lies in attuning the consciousness to its true, ever calm soul nature by meditation, and in thus preventing the mind from riding on the crests of sorrow and happiness or from sinking into the depths of indifference’.
- ‘Through meditation one can experience a stable, silent inner peace that can be a permanently soothing background for all harmonious or trialsome activities demanded by life’s responsibilities. Lasting happiness lies in maintaining this evenly peaceful state of mind’.
You can visit the SRF website to try out the various 15-minute guided meditations available there.