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Dhyana - Meditation

Find a comfortable seat.

Gently close your eyes.

Feel the support of the Earth beneath you.

Notice the natural rhythm of your breath.

Watch the contents of the mind with compassion.

Stay here with the support of the Earth, the breath, and your mind.

We are on the seventh limb of yoga - Dhyana, or meditation. So much of the eight limbed path before this has prepared us for this very practice! However, Dhyana is more than just an invitation to sit and watch the fluctuations of the mind. So, let's dig a little deeper!

Dhi, which means "mind"

Yana, which means "moving"

Alternately, Dhyana could come from the root word...

Dhyai, which means "to think of"

I think it's important to review the first couple of yoga sutras. I promise it will all make sense, trust me on this journey!

As a refresh, the yoga sutras were teachings recorded by Patanjali (one person or many people writing under the same name) around 2,000 years ago. Yes, the eight limbed path of yoga we have been talking about comes from ancient texts dating back thousands of years!

"The sutras are a map for how to navigate through the challenges of human life. They contain lessons on how to deal with loss, pain, dissatisfaction, and alienation. And they provide guidance on how to cultivate joy and lead a healthy, happy, fulfilling life." ~Living the Sutras

In other words, the yoga sutras guide us through life on the yogic path and this is apparent right away. The very first sutra says, "Now, the teachings of yoga are presented." [Edwin Bryant] So, right away the reader knows that this is the path of yoga and it is one to follow.

The second and third sutra go on to say:

1.2 - Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind

1.3 - When that is accomplished, the seer abides in it's own true nature

This idea that yoga is only the physical shapes we take with our body (asana), or the special breathwork we perform (pranayama) is very quickly ruled out in just the first few sutras! Yoga IS the calming of the fluctuations in the mind.

Dhyana is an embodiment of yoga itself.

In the Bhagavad Gita it says, "When meditation is mastered, the mind is unwavering like the flame of a lamp in a windless place. In the still mind, in the depths of meditation, the Self reveals itself. Beholding the Self by means of the Self, an aspirant knows the joy and peace of complete fulfillment." Remember a few emails ago we talked about the little "s" self and the Big "S" Self? Here it is again! Our Big Self knows that it is connected to the universe, to the divine, to something bigger than what we may be able to perceive, and rests there. When we have are able to calm the mind in meditation, we are able to not only recognize our Big Self, not only to embody divinity, but also to rest there. Sounds wild, right? You can do this! You likely already are doing this and you just didn't have awareness of it.

This is a wonderful time for you to begin your own meditation practice and find consistency. You can meditate for 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 20 minutes - whatever resonates for you on any given day. What's important is that you practice meditation consistently and unwaveringly. When you practice asana (yoga poses) you are preparing the body to sit in meditation. When you practice pranayama (breathwork) you are preparing the body to sit in meditation. When you are practicing ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), svadhyaya (self study), ishvara pranidhana (surrender) - all of the limbs of yoga before this are preparing your body to sit in meditation. You can do this! Thank you for joining me in this beautiful practice of yoga and allowing me to continue to grow with all of you. Kiara Flowers

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