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Introduction to Meditation

Meditation is a term that summarizes mindfulness and awareness practices. Meditation can be practiced in many ways. In every culture around the world, in every period of history, people have used certain meditative practices, for example:

  • Prayer is a meditative practice

  • Some people like to go walking/jogging to listen to nature - a meditative practice

  • The baker who lovingly kneads the dough for 20 minutes to make it fluffy meditates

  • A tea ceremony is basically a meditation

  • Playing an instrument or singing can be seen as a meditative practice


"Dhyana" and "Samadhi" are two consecutive stages outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, describing the path towards achieving deeper states of meditation and spiritual realization.

Dhyana refers to meditation itself, the sustained concentration or contemplation on an object, idea, or the self. It's the practice of focusing the mind, often leading to a state of deep absorption and mental stillness.

Samadhi is the culmination of this process, representing a state of profound concentration where the meditator becomes fully absorbed in the object of meditation. It's often described as a state of unity, where the meditator experiences a sense of oneness, transcendence, and profound inner peace. Samadhi is considered the highest state of meditation, characterized by a complete merging of the meditator's consciousness with the object of meditation or the universe itself.

Both Dhyana and Samadhi are integral parts of the yogic path, guiding practitioners toward self-realization, inner peace, and a deeper understanding of existence.


Regardless of the type of meditation practiced, meditation has a positive effect on emotional aspects (for example, reduction of anxiety and other negative emotions) as well as on cognitive aspects (for example, attention, learning, memory). Health-wise, meditation holds a few key benefits:

- Blood pressure decreases

- Cholesterol levels decrease

- Healthy sleep becomes easier to achieve

- Decrease of stress levels

- The perception with all five senses increases

- Improvement of memory and clarity of thinking

On a mental and spiritual level, meditation can bring about the following benefits:

- Enhancement of interpersonal relationships

- increased satisfaction, gratefulness and optimism

- increased self-confidence

- Enhancement of empathy and compassion, thus control of emotions

- Decrease of mental absentmindedness and daydreaming


It is recommended to find a peaceful and quiet place to get started with. Sit in a comfortable posture with the spine elevated, hands rested on the knees to start with or in a specific mudra.

Here we would like to introduce a few meditation techniques and tools: 1. Breath awareness

Observe your breath, inhalation and exhalation. Try to not get distracted by external stimuli or thoughts that may come. This is the basic beginner practice. You can apply the "ujjayi breath" as well or you can recite some mantras, the easiest being "so-hum" (= I am that) along with the breath (= inhale "so", exhale "hum").


2. Trataka meditation

Another practice, which is more advanced, is the trataka meditation (candle light gazing). Trataka purifies the eyes, strengthens the eye muscles and improves vision, memory and concentration power. The practice helps with sleeping difficulties/insomnia and balances the nervous system. Spiritually, it cleans the samskaras and opens the ajna chakra. It improves the ability to visualise, strengthens the willpower and calms the mind.

How to practice?

Sit in any meditation posture in front of a candle at eye level. The surroundings should be dark and the candle should be one arm length away from your body. Relax the whole body and close your eyes for some time. Gently open your eyes and gaze steadily in the candle flame.

Try not to blink or move the eyeballs, keep gazing. If tears are coming, let them come. After a while, again close the eyes. You will see the candle flame in your eyebrow centre while closing the eyes (antar trataka). Repeat for a few rounds. Gradually increase the time - but try not to strain.

Contraindications: People suffering from glaucoma or epilepsy should not practice Trataka.


3. Japa meditation

Malas (bead necklaces) have been traditionally used to perform japa or mantra meditation. The Sanskrit word Japa can be defined as “to repeat or mutter prayers or mantras.” During Japa meditation, we are holding the beads of the mala and reciting the mantra by moving the beads accordingly.


4. Mantra meditation

Choose a mantra that you feel connected to or is given to you. You can recite the mantra out loud or do it silently in your mind.


In Yoga Retreats and 200hr Yoga Teacher Training courses with Madan Yoga, we are exploring a variety of meditation techniques and tools, including breath awareness meditation, chakra meditation, sound bowl meditation, trataka (candlelight) meditation and mantra meditation. You will also learn about different meditation sitting postures and mudras (hand gestures).


Questions regarding our programs? Feel free to send us a message via madanyogaretreats@gmail.com. 

Namaste!


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