Newsletter November 2012
In ‘Sure Ways to Self-Realization’ Swami Satyananda writes “by opening the senses to nature and meditating on natural sounds and images, one is able to calm and harmonize the body and mind. One need only spend ten to twenty minutes meditating in a peaceful setting to induce a state of complete relaxation, enhanced perception and a greater love of life”.
Walking meditation is a great way to practice being present in your surroundings and can easily be incorporated into your daily life. Spring in particular is a fantastic time to tune in to nature as it wakes up from the long winter. It is a lovely practice to do outside, such as in a park or other natural environment, as the trees and sky can have an energizing effect. All you need to do is go slow and take time to be aware of your body and surroundings through your senses. It is especially good to walk barefoot as this enables you to feel your connection to the earth.
Different techniques you can use to focus your attention during a walking meditation are:
- Co-ordinating your breath with your steps, for example inhaling with the left step and exhaling with the right step
- Using your senses to become aware of all the details of your surroundings eg. specific patterns on the leaves of the trees, cloud formations in the sky, the sensation of touch with the soles of your feet , the temperature of the air on your skin, the different sounds of nature such as the wind blowing through the trees and bird sounds
- Savouring every step – walk slowly with no thought of “getting somewhere” other than right where you are so that every step of the journey is the destination. Specifically focus on the movement needed to take a step – how the muscles in the legs are engaged and how the different parts of the body work together as you walk.
A walking meditation is a great tool to bring you back to the present moment as it slows you down, so instead of rushing through life you take a moment to be fully in it. And little by little the state of awareness practiced in a walking meditation can become part of your daily actions.
Japa yoga is a repetition of any mantra, and is best done with a mala. By repeating a mantra while you rotate the mala beads with your fingers your attention is brought into the present moment and your awareness becomes more alert and mindful. This is a great practice to do when you want to quiet your mind and centre yourself. Some people wear a wrist mala and use it through the day as a centering tool when they want to bring their awareness back to the present (have a look at the Products section for a selection of the malas we sell at Anahata).
A basic mantra you can use is Om, which is the universal mantra suitable for everyone. Another is So Ham (the sound of the inhaling and exhaling breath). If you would like your own personal mantra you can request one from a Guru (Anahata takes such requests to India every year).
There is a specific way to hold the mala. With the right hand, hold the mala between the thumb and fourth (ring) finger, close to your chest at the level of the heart or resting on your knee. Rotate the beads forward with the third (middle) finger. The tactile movement of the beads helps keep your awareness focused.
For details of Anahata's new mala repair service, see the Products section for details.