The Yoga Sutras and Meditation

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of teaching a class on the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali at Golden Heart Yoga in Annapolis, Maryland.

We spent quite a bit of time talking about meditation and the effects that that a meditation practice has on us.

For example, meditating for as little as 3 minutes will increase blood circulation and distribute endocrine secretions throughout the body.

Meditating for 7 minutes will begin to generate ALPHA waves in the brain which have a more calming effect on the mind. Long time meditators generate GAMMA waves which are even deeper and more elusive that the THETA waves that most advanced practitioners aspired to attain...

Meditating for 11 minutes enables the parasympathetic and sympathetic parts of the brain to become more energetic and balanced.

Meditating for 22 minutes relieves one of anxiety-producing thoughts and starts to bring one greater clarity.

Meditating for 31 minutes brings balance in the endocrine system in one's body - and this effect lasts the whole day and is reflected in changes in mood and behavior.

In addition, meditating on a regular basis yields the following benefits:
  • Reduces blood lactate in the body, which is a symptom of stress
  • Improves vision, hearing, and regulates blood pressure
  • Reduces heart disease
  • Releases DHEA, a youth-related hormone
  • Regulates sleep patterns
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Improves post-tramatic stress syndrome.
These are just some of the many benefits to meditating. Still, it is not easy to commit oneself to this practice. It is only after years of a dedicated practice that one is able to experience many of the stages that Patanjali describes in the Yoga Sutras. But the more one practices, the more one benefits on so many levels - physical, spiritual, emotional, physiological, and so on.

Paramahansa Yogananda taught that meditation enables one to release karma as well! This is certainly a very valuable benefit.

If you have never meditated, consider starting with one of the many CD's availabe that teach relaxation exercises. Then try exploring several meditation paths until you find the one that is the right fit. It took me decades of dabbling in several styles before I found my path and felt like I had truly come home to my heart. Committing to my path has profoundly altered the landscape of my life and soul.

May you be blessed by finding a path that speaks to you!

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