Instructions to Begin the Practice of Natural Yoga, aka., Surrender Yoga, Natural Meditation, Sahaja Yoga, et al.
Swami Kripalu, Tapasvini, Yoah, _
Instructions are from the lineage of Swami Kripaluananda.
1) The Meditation Room Consider your room for meditation to be the temple of God. Enter it with love, faith, devotion, enthusiasm and delight.
A quiet, comfortable environment with natural beauty is preferable.
An altar with candles, incense, fragrant flowers and images of those you have faith and love for are helpful in creating an inner meditative atmosphere that will inspire you.
A meditation mat the size of a bed but not too thick can be placed on the floor but keep it away from any objects like furniture or the wall if possible. If you have an alter with any burning candles or incense keep it a safe distance away from your meditation mat so that any physical movements that your body makes will not strike anything.
Your external environment may not be perfect. The imperfections can be overcome by creating inner silence and ignoring outer distractions. It's ultimately your love for meditation itself that makes the mind introverted, peaceful and full of love. Love doesn't require a perfect external environment because you always find it within yourself.
2) The Meditation Schedule
Create a regular daily schedule for your meditation. If you do not have worldly responsibilities, you can schedule one, two or three, 1 to 2 hour meditation sessions daily. If you do have worldly responsibilities, keep your meditation time limited to a total of between 15 minutes to two hours each day. If you are uncertain about how much time to spend in meditation you may need to consult with me.
3) To Begin Natural Yoga Meditation
Sit on your meditation mat in any position in which you can comfortably sit for a long time. Remain quiet for a few moments and then pray with an open heart. Prayer is the gateway to meditation. Open your heart to whatever is Truth, God, Love, Perfection or the Ultimate to you. You can say any prayer of your choosing. Spontaneous prayer intoned with great devotion is always best.
Example of a yogic prayer: “O Divine Truth, Lead me from illusion to reality, from darkness to light, from death to immortality.” In his book, Science of Meditation , Swami Kripalu says, "Prayer said with self-confidence and faith purifies the mind and fills it with love and devotion. Prayer is an unfailing device for bringing introversion of mind."
4) Keeping the eyes closed
If you are a beginning meditator it may be helpful for you to keep your eyes closed during meditation because introversion of one's attention is more easily attained with the eyes closed. The mind is more easily distracted through the sense of sight than through any of the other senses. As you become a more adept meditation practitioner you may keep the eyes open or closed depending upon what the life force energy wants. 5) Slow and Deep Breathing After the prayer, do about thirty slow deep breaths. Fill the lungs deeply. Extend the breath deep into your expanding belly. Your body is sitting upright with the spine straight and relaxed. The gaze of your closed eyes can be focused on the tip of your nose.
Inhaling and exhaling is done very slowly through both nostrils. Let there be a faint audible whisper of the breath from the throat region created by the rubbing of air inside the throat. The long and deep breaths reach to the navel region. The breath should not be inhaled or exhaled quickly, and it is not to be retained on either the in breath or the out breath. After your breathing practice becomes proficient, the breath deepens and reaches the muladhara chakra (basal plexus).
Focus your attention on the internal experiences going on within the body/mind. Notice which organs in your body are being affected by the air during inhalation. Initially it may be difficult to focus inward, but as you continue with your meditation practice, your observation and attention will become more acute and introverted.
Natural Yoga Meditation may begin without first doing any breathing exercises (pranayama), but the body will be much less tense and the mind more calm if a regular practice of breathing deeply begins each session. Pranayama enhances and increases the power of concentration and generates deep feelings that accelerate your progress.
6) Letting Go and Letting God As you complete your preliminary breathing exercises (pranayama) keep your body relaxed and allow the prana (life force) total freedom from the control of the mind. Don't stop any physical, mental or emotional activity that is generated spontaneously. As the pranayama or deep breathing comes to a completion your body is still upright, relaxed and comfortable. As you now withdraw control of the mind over the prana, allow the prana to move through the body/mind with full freedom. Surrender your body, mind and feelings to that which is Divine to you.
Your body may bend or fall over or fall down in any direction. As the relationship between the body and the mind is transformed, the prana is given full freedom to keep the body continuously in comfortable positions. All that you have to do is relax and leave everything to the healing life force (prana), which is the guiding power or the protecting energy that animates and resides in the body. It is through this very technique, that you will experience great peace and bliss.
7) The Release of Prana
If you try to willfully keep the body straight by holding it tight and upright, the mind can't go into the depths of the soul (atman) or become introvert.
In the book, Science of Meditation, Swami Kripalu wrote, “One cannot hope to cross the river by rowing an anchored boat. So also one cannot attain introversion by keeping the mind attached to the body. Hence the connection between the mind and the body has to be severed by releasing the prana energy." The following link takes you to www.selffoundation.com where you can (Down load a free copy of Science of Meditation here).
Spontaneous bodily movements occur after the release of prana energy. As a result, your body adopts various postures (asanas) instead of remaining steady. These movements are not obstructive but favorable to the introversion of your mind.
You don't know what will happen when you surrender your body, mind and feelings to the Divine. It is simply God's play. Only when this play of God subsides does the body, mind and feelings become still. After this catharsis the real concentration of mind begins.
Practicing Natural Yoga Meditation regularly unfolds very interesting and at times, dramatic results. As the prana energy is freed from the control of the mind you'll begin to have a variety of spiritual experiences that will excite, enhance, and inspire your spiritual practice.