Think Positive and Meditate: Yoga of Synthesis #5
How many facets of yoga do you know? How many do you practice? At the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas, a destination for yogis from around the world, yoga is based on five points that are practiced regularly in order to achieve wholeness in your mind, body, and soul.
In this five-part Yoga of Synthesis series, you can learn about each of these aspects of living yoga in your daily life. In the first four posts, we focused on the breath, yoga postures, the yogic diet, and relaxation. In this final post, we look at positive thinking and meditation.
What Is Positive Thinking?
Positive thinking isn’t a naive way of telling yourself that everything is fine when it isn’t. The yogic practice of positive thinking acknowledges that the hard days will always be there. In fact, the real practice comes when you experience those hard times but you start to look at them from a lens of deeper understanding. It’s when you start to truly understand that nothing is permanent. This can shift your whole perspective.
Positive thinking isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes practice — and lots of repetition. If you are regularly thinking, “I’m so stupid,” it you won’t just automatically start thinking you’re smart one day. But if, day by day, you start to notice all the areas that you have knowledge in, and all the skills you have, you will start to build up the foundation of thinking that you are smart. This is not wishful thinking. It’s seeing and believing the potential that’s already there.
Positive thinking and meditation go hand-in-hand. Without one, the other cannot exist.
How To Meditate
Meditation comes when the mind is peaceful. In order for the mind to be peaceful, you’ve got to have control over it. In other words, when the mind is jumping all over the place, making to-do lists, casting judgments, and re-living the past, it’s up to you to look at that with an observer’s eye. In other words, don’t get caught up in it!
That’s the real idea of controlling the mind—not to have no thoughts, but rather to carefully select which thoughts you’d like to entertain and grow. So in meditation, you sit still and practice focusing on one thing. When the crazy thoughts come, you observe that they are there, let them pass, and return to the object of your concentration, which is usually your breath.
Practice Now: Resolve to sit still for one minute. Sit up tall, and relax the face and shoulders. Now close your eyes and start to make the breath rhythmical--inhale for 3 seconds, and exhale for 3 seconds. After a few breaths, focus at the space between your eyebrows, and continue to concentrate on your breath. If your mind wanders away, don’t worry. Just bring it back, and keep your focus on the breath.
It’s hard to focus sometimes, isn’t it? Meditation is not only a practice of inner peace, but a practice of concentration and discipline. It’s hard to force ourselves to sit down in silence when we’re angry, stressed, or tired. Having a regular meditation practice is important, so even five minutes a day will make a big difference in your life.
Swami Sivananda Says: “Meditation acts as a powerful tonic. Regular meditation opens the avenues of intuitional knowledge, makes the mind calm and steady, awakens ecstatic feeling...Meditation develops strong and pure thoughts. Good thoughts are well grounded. Through clarification of ideas, confusion vanishes. You will yourself feel the way to place your footsteps on the next rung of spiritual ladder. A mysterious inner voice will guide you. Meditate. Meditate. Do not lose even a single minute.”
Thanks for Reading!
And so ends our series on the five points of yoga. Most importantly of all, when practicing these five sides of yoga, practice them with love. The whole point of yoga is to love more deeply and to strengthen your capacity to help others. Do it all with love.
“Live in love. Breathe in love. Sing in love. Eat in love. Drink in love. Talk in love. Pray in love. Meditate in love. Think in love. Move in love. Die in love. Purify your thoughts, speech, and action in the fire of love. Bathe and plunge into the sacred ocean of love. Take the honey of love and become an embodiment of love. You will become a changed being. You will enjoy the highest peace and bliss.” —Swami Sivananda