Meditation & Dhyana, the Seventh Limb of Yoga

During the holiday seasons, things can get hectic. Normal schedules and activities are interrupted, and some of us travel or are reunited with family members. This can stir up a lot of feelings and emotions - so what better time to take a few minutes to sit down and meditate?
Meditation has so many scientifically proven benefits. Here are just a few:
  • Reduces stress and improves symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia
  • Controls anxiety and reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks
  • Improves emotional health; in one study, subjects who meditated showed measurable changes in activity in areas related to positive thinking and optimism
  • May reduce age-related memory loss and improve focus
Besides all this, meditation is also the pathway to the state of dhyana. Dhyana is the 7th limb of yoga, standing on the shoulders of the other limbs, including those you may be familiar with from practicing at Shanti - asana (physical posture) and pranayama (breath control). Dhyana involves concentration and meditation on a point of focus with the intention of knowing the truth about it, to be able to separate illusion from reality and achieve bliss.
In meditation we become the observer of the mind. You are not your thoughts. Sit. Breathe. When the thoughts arise, observer them without getting too attached. Label them if that is helpful; oh there goes a thought... that is fear, anxiety, happiness... all shall pass. Continue to sit and breathe. Stay steady, stay calm.
I love the analogy of our awareness being like the water of a river and the thoughts are like leaves floating, passing, and just like the river flows so does the leaves they continue their process of being.
Every day take minimum five minutes to just be. Make it simple just sit and be.
When feeling overwhelmed ... pause and take three deep breaths. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth .... ahhhh - let it go and be present. The present moment is all we have.
Meditation supports us in finding our center and operation from a much more grounded and mature place.
When meditating we become less reactive.
Or book a private meditation class in person or via Skype - simply email to inquire.
Need assistance : Download the award winning APP Headspace on your phone, we require this of all our teacher trainees.
Keep an eye on our schedule: Often times on Fridays, Nathalie teaches a meditation class at Shanti Yoga Shala.
Meditating can feel like training a puppy. Your mind keeps running around even if you tell it to stop; it seems to only be able to stay still a few seconds. This takes patience and practice! The purpose of meditation is to interrupt the fluctuations of the normal mental activity such as sensory knowledge, memory, and imagination. Out of these, memory is the hardest one to quiet, as it continuously feeds us glimpses from the past along with an endless stream of thoughts and emotions.
With meditation, through the mantras and one-pointed attention, you can break through to total awareness; Dhyana is the state of Divine Consciousness. Love flows from you, but it is not an attached state of love like that of to objects or people. Love with detachment is the vibration of pure love for God - In yoga, this type of pure love is called Bhakti. It is an innocent love for the sake of merging in oneness to the Divine, like the love of a baby for their mother.
In dhyana, the ego falls away, love flows through you and creates a higher vibrational frequency within you. So what are you waiting for?
Take five minutes today during your holidays to sit down, meditate, and connect with the divine.