Tratak Candle Gazing: Candle meditation involves focusing on a candle flame to bring forth a peaceful, calm state. It is often used as a preparation for other types of meditation or as a practice by itself. As with any meditation, begin with a few minutes and build up to longer periods as you build endurance for stilling the mind.Steps for Candle Gazing
1) Prepare: Create a space where you wont be disturbed. Dim the light so you can focus on the flame. Place the lit candle about arms-length away from you eye level or just below eye level.
2) Before you begin you may want to set an intention or focus. Take a moment to consider and reflect on what candlelight symbolizes for you. It may symbolize enlightenment, coming into awareness, shining light into the dark areas of our minds, or peace, love and understanding radiating into your heart or out into the world…etc
3) Take a comfortable seat with your back straight. Allow your body to relax, drawing your attention to the flame, taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. Breathe in light, breathe out tention.
4) Simply follow the breath while gazing into the flame. You can keep your eyes fully open or half way closed so your image of the flame becomes a little fuzzy.
5) When thoughts or distractions visit your mind, let them merely float through, and gently guide your attention back to the flame and the breath.
6) You can continue in the same way or you can close your eyes after a while and see the fickering flame shining in your mind’s eye. As the image of the flame in the mind begins to fade, you can open your eyes and focus on the actual flame again.
7) When your meditation practice comes to an end, bask in the peace for a few minutes before moving into your day.
Mandala Meditation: The word Mandala is Sanskrit for ‘circle’. The mandala historically carried spiritual significance in Hinduism and Buddhism. They are is now used universally throughout the world as a vehicle for conscious awareness. The circle is a geometric pattern that representing wholeness and “all that is”. We see circles in all aspects of life from the celestial (sun, moon, planets), to nature (a flower), to the way we conceptually see our circles of community, families and friends. Focussing and gazing at a mandala is known to bring a calming effect to the restless mind.Steps for Mandala Meditation
1) Choose a mandala that appeals to you. You can look them up on Google Images.
2) Hang your mandala on the wall, at eye level, about 2 feet away from where you will be sitting.
3) Get yourself comfortable and allow yourself a few moments to relax, taking in some full, slow breaths. Breathe in peace, breathe out tension.
4) Look at the mandala with a soft gentle gaze. Let your mind be clear. If thoughts float in, just accept and acknowledge them, and then bring your attention back to the mandala. Blink if you need to.
5) Let your gaze become slightly fuzzy and unfocussed. See the mandala as a whole, without noticing details.
6) Next, let yourself bring more focus to your gaze and explore various elements and details beginning at the outside edges and very slowly moving your attention in towards the center.
7) If your eyes get tired any time during this meditation, let them close as you visualize the mandala image in your mind. Then open and continue the gaze when ready. Usual time for this meditation is 5 to 20 minutes.
Incense or Essential Oil Meditation: Using incense as a tool for meditation has been used for centuries. Incense can be the focus of meditation, or it can be used as an aide to enhance the meditation experience.There are different scents that are believed to bring about certain states or help you focus on certain goals. Essential oils are also widely used to enhance meditation.
First, decide what your intention will be. Will you be focussing on relaxation? Or maybe you want to draw a certain thing into your life such as love, wisdom, or wealth. Once you decide the intention or direction of your practice, then choose a scent that is appropriate.
- To strengthen and draw love into your life; allspice, rose, coriander, strawberry, ylang ylang, amber, patchouli, or lavender.
- To attract wealth and prosperity: almond, cinnamon, musk, orange, ginseng, oakmoss, or jasmine
- For wisdom and clarity: violet, sage, basil, cardamom, vanilla, honeysuckle, or lemongrass
- For happiness and an uplifted spirit: Amber, bayberry, bergamot, ylang ylang, lotus, or amber
- For healing: sandalwood, peppermint, lemon, lotus, juniper, eucalyptus, cedarwood, or cypress
- For cleansing or clearing yourself or spaces: sandalwood or sage
Or you can just choose a scent that you like and use your intention or focus to direct your meditation. Once you have chosen your intention and scent for your practice, Sit and relax in a comfortable place where you wont be disturbed.
Light your incense and take in some deep cleansing breaths. Watch the smoke swirl, what once was solid is now a fragrant smoke swirling up into the atmosphere. Like our wishes and prayers they float up to the divine places. Know that this is a time for you to reach beyond the physical and connect with the spiritual, your divine true nature.
Take in the scent that you have chosen and focus on your intent. See in your mind’s eye what you desire. This is a good time to use affirmations that support your meditation intention.
When you are finished with your practice relax for a few minutes to let the peacefulness sink in. When ready to rise, make sure your incense is extinguished.
Meditation with Music: We often associate music as being in the background of guided meditation. Music can also be used as an object of meditation on it’s own. Most of us have felt the healing power of music. We are naturally attracted to music that uplifts our mental and emotional states. Listening to music that we like increases the level of serotonin released in the brain, which makes us happier. I love all kinds of music. I use a wide range of music for yoga practice and meditation. Just taking time to listen and choose your music will have a positive effect on your mind.Steps for Meditation with Music
1) Choose your music. You can find all sorts of meditation/relaxation music. There are also recordings of nature sounds such as oceans, forest sounds, birds, waterfalls, etc. But don’t limit yourself to a certain type. Listen to what moves you, whether it is classical, jazz, or maybe even some Pink Floyd.
2) Get yourself into a comfortable position (sitting or laying down) in a place where you wont be disturbed.
3) Take in a few deep, calming breaths and let your body relax. Take a minute or two to listen and focus on your breath.
4) When you feel ready, start your music (preferably with a remote control). Give your full attention to the music.
5) Breathe in the music- and allow it to fill your whole being; mind, body, emotion, and spirit.
6) As you continue, you can let your mind follow one particular voice or instrument or combinations of each. Notice patterns and changes.
7) Allow the music to ‘take you’ and let yourself get lost in the music.
8) When thoughts or distractions come in, just acknowledge them and let them float by as if on clouds. Then simply guide your mind gently back to the music.
9) When your practice is complete, allow a few minutes to just let the effects soak in before you rise.