- Raja means royal or kingly. Raja yoga meditation is generally based on directing one’s life force to bring the mind and emotions so into balance that the attention may be easily focused on the object of meditation, or the Lord directly.
- Generally, life force is directed to move up and down the spine until it is balanced and the mind and emotions are serenely content.Then awareness is generally directed to move forward into a point in the center of the lower forehead.
- This meditation point, which is about half an inch above where the eyebrows meet, is called ajna, or the third eye.When the energy is balanced throughout the brain and body and easily moving forward in the area of the third eye, your mind becomes very calm.
- While your mind is not passive, it is free of meaningless thoughts, worries, and the bric-a-brac of the subconscious mind. This state usually gives you a very pleasant sense of well being and your mind seems filled with a velvety darkness.
Raja Yoga Meditation
- As your consciousness continues to move in your third eye, pastel colors begin to appear in your forehead. Sumptuous, glorious pinks, yellows, whites, blues, indigos, greens, and purples take their turn or play in combination in your forehead.
- Then, you may think you are seeing fireflies, lightning, or moonlight as your life force becomes more concentrated and more actively prepares you to behold higher consciousness. This process is readying you to experience your true nature as pure consciousness, pure spirit, pure awareness.
- And then the light in your forehead blazes brighter than the sun! But, you find it is soothing to look into the awesome light, soothing to behold it. This is the brilliance of your inner light, your essence, revealing itself to you.
- Raja yoga, particularly, requires a teacher because it is easy to strain yourself, and it’s also easy to delude yourself into high level hallucinations rather than actual experiences of your higher consciousness.
- However, the genuine raja yogi lives in bliss, with his, or her, will surrendered to God. A raja yogi realizes the profound truth of the Biblical passage: If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be filled with light.
1. Your life becomes significantly clearer and calmer
The hustle and bustle of everyday life is choking our minds of the peace we deserve! Our technology advancements shouldn’t suffocate our minds, it should allow us to achieve more peace. Meditation helps put those events in perspective for our daily tasks.
2. Your blood pressure is lowered
Science has proven it, meditation lowers the blood pressure, which in return is related to your stress levels and stress management. Much better than taking pills to lower your blood pressure!
3. People around you enjoy your company
Regular meditation leads to higher/positive energy that you are consistently tapping into. This effectively makes you very pleasant to be around, and people like that! People naturally gravitate to the people who make them feel good.
4. Your connection with God is strengthened
Spiritual awareness is strengthened with a daily meditation practice. You naturally become more aware of your surroundings, and higher awareness always leads to a deeper connection with God. The trees begin showing personalities, and the landscape takes on different meanings all through a deeper awareness.
5. You achieve several hours of sleep in one 20 minute meditation session
Another scientific fact is that meditation is known to put you into a deeper state of rest than deep sleep. Deep sleep is associated with a delta brainwaves. Deep meditation can drop you into that delta brainwaves rapidly, achieving the effects in a shorter amount of time.
6. Problems that seemed very difficult suddenly have clear solutions
For every problem a solution exists. When your mind is clear and you’re in a state of peace, solutions appear. Being in a state of peace just naturally attracts solutions and pathways into your field of view.
7. Your productivity sky rockets because of your ability to have clear focus
If solutions to problems appear more frequently when meditating daily, then imagine what happens to your everyday tasks. Solutions to everyday life become more and more obvious. And you begin to take note of these subtle changes as your spiritual vision grows clearer and wider.
8. Your life expectancy increases
Science has shown that regular meditation will increase your life expectancy. It’s pretty obvious to see less stress and more peace promotes healthy cells and healthy cells regenerate healthier cells. And likewise, stressed cells regenerate more stressed cells. So live longer by choosing more peace in your life.
9. You effectively reduce stress in your life
Speaking of stress, meditation has a profound effect on reducing stress in your body. Because meditation promotes peace and inner calm, stress dissolves dramatically from this meditative process. Again, science has proven it.
10. You can visualize powerfully when combined with positive affirmations and meditation
Meditation is powerful at clearing the mind and focusing on simple things like breathing or a flower. But, it can be used for so much more! To powerfully manifest your desires, you must get into a clear connection with the source of manifesting (God(YAHWEH)/Universe/Absolute Space). If your spirits are on high while you visualize then the communication channel for manifesting positive events in your life is strengthened.
While meditating I like to repeat affirmations, otherwise known as mantras, to help focus my energy into the positive. These statements can be as simple as “love” or “I am love, I am joy, I am peace”.
11. You feel fantastic throughout your day!
And finally, when you meditate on a regular basis, you just feel fantastic. Plain and simple. You feel good.
Lunar Cycle (moon’s cycle) alters every 15 days as we know – new moon to full moon and vice versa. The 2 hours rhythm between right and left nostril based on the time of day and day of the week and lunar cycle is given in this chart below. This breathing rhythm is universal and we can check just by placing our back of the palms under the nose and breathe little forcefully.
Breathing Rhythm (Waxing phase, Waning phase of Moon)
Monday, Wednesday and Friday – between 4 am to 6 am the breath is on the left side and it alternates for every 2 hours. Sunday, Tuesday and Saturday – between 4 am to 6 am the breath is on the right side and it alternates for every 2 hours. On Shukla / Waxing Thursday, the breath starts on the left side at 4 am and on the Krishna / Waning Thursday it’s on the right side.
You may not need the chart as it is very simple to find out which nostril is active. Please note that as per the yoga system only one nostril is active any time and not both (most of the times). To add a word of caution that there is a school of thought which states that the breath alternates every one hour and not two as mentioned above and the reference point is 6am and not 4 am (considering it as the sunrise
Following are the suggestions…
- Please ignore the exact timings for the time being since it is more important to understand that there is a rhythm. Both the schools of thought don’t deny this and agree very much that there is a rhythm. Also the cut over from one nostril to another is not smooth. To know your breath now just blow a little forcefully on the back of your palm.
- Go with what your yoga guru tells you or listen to what the ultimate Guru in your heart tells you.
- We shall see the importance of 4 am to 6 am time slot in detail later.
The basic of pranayama is all about symmetric breathing pattern and restore the imbalance if any. The beauty about our system of knowledge is that we always saw a rhythm / order governing every aspect of nature and this was linked to the primordial rhythm.
Know thy Nature by Raguram Gopalan, http://ragsgopalan.blogspot.com
Question: When I began to do sadhana [spiritual practice] everything went smoothly at first. There was a lot of peace and happiness and jnana [true knowledge] seemed very near. But nowadays there is hardly any peace, just mental obstacles and hindrances.
Annamalai Swami: Whenever obstacles come on the path, think of them as not me’. Cultivate the attitude that the real you is beyond the reach of all troubles and obstacles. There are no obstacles for the Self. If you can remember that you always are the Self, obstacles will be of no importance.
One of the alvars [a group of Vaishnavite saints] once remarked that if one is not doing any spiritual practice one is not aware of any mind problems. He said that it is only when one starts to do meditation that one becomes aware of the different ways that the mind causes us trouble. This is very true. But one should not worry about any of the obstacles or fear them. One should merely regard them as being not me. They can only cause you trouble while you think that they are your problems.
The obstructing subtle desires may look like a large mountain which obstructs your progress. Don’t be intimidated by the size. It is not a mountain of rock, it is a mountain of camphor. If you light one corner of it with the flame of discriminative attention, it will all burn to nothing.
Stand back from the mountain of problems, refuse to acknowledge that they are yours, and they will dissolve and disappear before your eyes.
Don’t be deluded by your thoughts and subtle desires. They are always trying to trick you into believing that you are a real person, that the world is real, and that all your problems are real. Don’t fight them; just ignore them. Don’t accept delivery of all the wrong ideas that keep coming to you. Establish yourself in the conviction that you are the Self and that nothing can stick to you or affect you. Once you have that conviction you will find that you automatically ignore the habits of the mind. When the rejection of mental activities becomes continuous and automatic, you will begin to have the experience of the Self.
If you see two strangers quarreling in the distance you do not give much attention to them because you know that the dispute is none of your business. Treat the contents of your mind in the same way. Instead of filling your mind with thoughts and then organizing fights between them, pay no attention to the mind at all. Rest quietly in the feeling of “I am”, which is consciousness, and cultivate the attitude that all thoughts, all perceptions are ‘not me’. When you have learned to regard your mind as a distant stranger, you will not pay any attention to all the obstacles it keeps inventing for you.
Mental problems feed on the attention that you give them. The more you worry about them, the stronger they become. If you ignore them, they lose their power and finally vanish.
“He who knows Prana knows Vedas” is the important declaration of the Srutis. You will find in Vedanta Sutras: “For the same reason, breath is Brahman.” Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe. It is the sum total of all the forces in nature. It is the sum total of all latent forces and powers which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. Heat, light, electricity, magnetism are the manifestations of Prana. All forces, all powers and Prana spring from the fountain or common source, ‘Atman’. All physical forces, all mental forces come under the category ‘Prana’. It is force on every plane of being, from the highest to the lowest. Whatever moves or works or has life, is but an expression or manifestation of Prana. Akasa or ether also is an expression of Prana.
The Prana is related to mind and through mind to will, and through will to the individual soul, and through this to the Supreme Being. If you know how to control the little waves of Prana working through the mind, then the secret of subjugating universal Prana will be known to you. The Yogi who becomes an expert in the knowledge Of this secret, will have no fear from any power, because he has mastery over all the manifestations of powers in the universe. What is commonly known as power of personality is nothing more than the natural capacity of a person to wield his Prana.
Some persons are more successful in life, more influential and fascinating than others. It is all due to the power of this Prana. Such people manipulate everyday, unconsciously of course, the same influence which the Yogi uses consciously by the command of his will. There are others who by chance tumble unaware of this Prana and use it for lower purposes under false names.
This working of Prana is seen in the systolic and diastolic actions of the heart, when it pumps the blood into arteries in the action of inspiration and expiration during the course of breathing; in the digestion of food; in the excretion of urine and faecal matter; in the manufacture of semen, chyle, chyme, gastric juice, bile, intestinal juice, saliva; in closing and opening of the eyelids, in walking, playing, running, talking, thinking, reasoning, feeling and willing. Prana is the link between the astral and physical body. When the slender thread-link Prana is cut off the astral body separates from the physical body. Death takes place. The Prana that was working in the physical body is withdrawn into the astral body.
This Prana remains in a subtle, motionless, unmanifested, undifferentiated state during the cosmic Pralaya. When the vibration is set up, Prana moves and acts upon Akasa, and brings forth the various forms. The macrocosm (Brahmanda) and microcosm (Pindanda) are combinations of Prana (energy) and Akasa (subtle matter). That which moves the steam-engine of a train and a steamer, that which makes the aeroplanes fly in air, that which causes the motion of the breath in lungs, that which is the very life of this breath itself, is Prana. I believe, you have now a comprehensive understanding of the term Prana about which you had a very vague conception in the beginning.
The Science of Pranyama by Sri Swami Sivananda