Meditation Classes

/Meditation Classes
Meditation Classes 2016-12-27T09:28:43+00:00

Meditation Classes and Yoga

What does the focused stillness of meditation classes have to do with the expansive activity of yoga classes? Everything that is important. . .

There are 8 Limbs of Yoga?

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Asanas (or yoga poses) and Meditation are two of the important 8 Limbs of Yoga. Infographic courtesy of Yogadork.com

Many people are unaware that there are 8 Limbs of Yoga including:

3rd: Asanas or poses of yoga classes
4th: Pranayama or breathing
7th: Meditation
8th: Samadhi –  Yoga’s true purpose

Samadhi is a state of oneness – of unity. Meditation is the gateway to that higher spiritual experience, for knowing who you truly are. Yoga poses make meditation and Samadhi easier to experience.

Samadhi may take a lifetime to experience. But the rewards along the way are rich:

  • A quieter mind.
  • A more open heart.
  • Realizing there is a greater I than your limited, everyday self.

Surprisingly, our modern yoga poses are descendants of the original asanas of ancient meditators who were seeking Samadhi. Patanjali1 tells us that in the beginning, the only asana was “a steady, comfortable seated pose” used for meditation. Meditators would sit still for hours. As they began to reach higher states, the inner energies released in their bodies (called prana and shakti) would cause them to spontaneously take different bodily positions. They realized that these positions helped the energies to naturally move through them, greatly aiding their meditation. These became the first yoga poses from which our yoga poses descended.

One of the most important benefits of hatha yoga (the yoga of poses that we generally think of as yoga) is that it helps you to sit for meditation comfortably for longer periods of time. You can meditate more easily and deeply because your meditation is less distracted by bodily discomforts. Meditation classes are a natural extension of your yoga classes and are the next step on your spiritual path. Many people also successfully start their path with meditation and then add yoga later.

Is Meditation Hard?

Meditation can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. In the same way that gently warming up for your deeper yoga poses and then being skillfully guided through them makes the rest of your class easier and more accessible, warming up for meditation and being gently guided along the way can do the same for your meditation class. And in the same way that your yoga classes get easier and more expansive over time with practice and repetition, so will your meditation classes.

Here is how we do that in our meditation classes at Lake Center Yoga. Its called Pranayama & Meditation.

Meditation Class Outline: Making Meditation Easy with Pranayama & Meditation

As you enter your first meditation class at Lake Center Yoga, you will be warmly welcomed. A teacher will then show you how to use props such as blankets and blocks. You can even use a small bench to achieve a seated meditation pose that is comfortable for you. The wall is available to sit up against for support if that is helpful for you. During meditation you are welcome and encouraged to shift positions at any time if your body becomes uncomfortable.

Class Theme and How to Sit Comfortably

As class begins, a theme for the class is introduced and discussed. A theme could be Transformation, Letting Go, or Joy for example. The theme will be explored and experienced during your meditation.

Next you will be talked through how to take a seated pose that will aid your meditation. It will be a position that is comfortable for you. It will open your body to the energy flows that are a part of effective meditation.

Chanting & Mantras

Then as a “warm up” the teacher will typically lead the class through a mantra. The mantra will begin to move your inner energies and quiet your mind. Mantras are empowered vibratory words in the ancient Indian Sanskrit language. Their vibrations, when repeated, lead to a higher spiritual state while drawing awareness inward. The teacher chooses a mantra that will support the class theme.

An example of a mantra is Om Namah Shivaya (pronounced Ohm nuhMAH sheeVIah). We explore Mantras from different traditions.

shruti box for meditation classes

Shruti box for meditation classes

A shruti box is sometimes used to accompany the mantra. A shruti box is a simple musical instrument that provides a rich accompaniment to chanting. Chanting, in this context, is the musical repetition of a mantra. The teacher will lead the class through the chant for several minutes until the energy of the class moves to a higher state. Then the outward mantra repetition is dropped and we move more deeply into Pranayama (breathing) practice or the more inward practices of mantra and silence.

Before or after the chanting the teacher may also lead the class through some pranayama.

Pranayama Practices

Next, the teacher will brings attention to the Pranayama Practice.  Pranayama means control of life force usually associated with breath awareness and breathing practices.  In Yoga practice the beginning level is practicing Yoga Poses to prepare the body for the life force to be able to move through the body more freely.  Pranayama is more subtle than the body and brings you more in touch with the energy field and flow of life force in you. You become calmer, more centered and more peaceful.  This allows one to move deeper into meditation practice. This leads us toward the last limb of Samadhi which is merging into the final place of liberation.  Simply put you are now able to be on the earth but not being tangled up in the drama of your mind and outer activities and are able to anchor yourself in the essence of your being.

Pranayama is the 4th Limb of Yoga. This directed breath control moves the energy of prana throughout your body. When prana is already moving before meditation begins, it makes meditation much easier.

"Who looks outside, dreams.

Who looks inside, awakens."

Carl Jung

Meditation

After doing mantra work and pranayama practices you are more able to slip into a deeper state of consciousness beyond the normal stresses of the body and mind. It is usually a guided meditation in which the teacher talks you through a series of inner awareness exercises. For instance, the teacher may lead you, one after the other, to slowly bring your awareness and breath to each of the seven chakras (energy centers) of the body. Or the instructor may teach you to visualize the accompanying color or a different feeling that helps lead you to a deeper space of silence and stillness.

At the end, you will meditate for a few minutes in total silence.

You will feel changed and renewed after class. You may also notice how the combined energies of everyone in the class meditating together made your meditation easier as well.  And as a bonus, you will receive a lovingly prepared sweet vegan treat for the road.

Meditation Classes at Lake Center Yoga – Join Us!

If this interests you, register for a meditation class on Friday evenings at 7:30.

Or call us at 407-831-2229 or even email us at LCY@LakeCenterYoga.com to register or with any questions you may have.

Our students come from Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Winter Springs, Casselberry, Sanford, Lake Mary and Orlando to meditate together. Please join us for our meditation classes. Or come and try out just one. Register here.

This class is by donation only.  Any amount or no amount is just fine so please come. Our regular classes support our studio. We do not want money to be the issue that keeps you from meditating with us. We love supporting people that want to look at the deeper aspects of yoga.

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Register here for a meditation class at Lake Center Yoga on Friday evenings at 7:30.
Then discover how Meditation classes work for you!