Advanced Yoga Practices
Main Lessons

Previous  |  Next

Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 226 - Expansion on Our Mind  (Audio)

AYP Plus Additions:
226.1 -  When to Add Practices  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:51am

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"

Q: I am practising meditation and pranayama for the past two and half months. The effects I got are: 

First of all, I got the ability to concentrate on one thing in my life for the first time. I have tried a lot of methods before, but there is an inner satisfaction now only. 

After each meditation session for the next hour my mind gets filled with peace and happiness. 

In my last two meditation sessions one or two times I lost the ability of watching myself whether I am thinking the mantra or not. 

Now my questions: 

Can I meditate more than twice a day?

Can I meditate one hour after meals and before bed?

In this stage can I go to next step of siddhasana? (I have not yet experienced any special colors and sounds as you mentioned.)

Can mantras like Gayatri mantra when repeated large number of times help me for my development?

Guide me please.

A: Thank you for writing and sharing. 

I am very happy to hear your meditation and pranayama are going well. 

Meditating more than twice a day in our regular routine is not recommended. It is easy to have too much of a good thing in yoga, and that can lead to excessive purification, discomfort, and less progress. In a retreat situation more than two meditations can be undertaken if there are no responsibilities and the routine is designed to accommodate it. If you go to the topic paths on the web site and look up "Retreats," you will find a couple of lessons covering this. At home in our regular work schedule we should stay with the measured twice-daily approach. With experiences like you describe, we all would like to expand it for sure. The way to do that is to gradually add practices into our twice-daily routine. The lessons are for that.

Meditating before eating is preferred, so meditation will not be competing with digestion. An hour or more after eating is okay too. But close to bedtime is not recommended, as it can lead to restless nights. Meditation is preparation for activity, not sleep. Daily activity helps stabilize the inner silence and ecstatic energy brought up during meditation, pranayama, and other practices. That is why we meditate before the morning meal and before the evening meal. Then we have some good activity afterward, which is the right dual cycle of meditation and activity each day, producing the most efficient progress. 

Siddhasana is after spinal breathing, mulabandha and sambhavi in the lessons. If you have already stabilized these, one at a time, then you may be ready for siddhasana. Try not to take on too much all at once, as it can lead to an unwieldy routine that is hard to stabilize. Step-by-step, you know. Rome was not built in a day. You are the one in charge. 

If you undertake other mantras during the day, like Gayatri, it will certainly speed up purification, but maybe excessively. With all the good techniques available these days, the challenge is not in achieving the purification. It is in digesting it in a way that facilitates stable progress and the rise of ecstatic bliss over the long term. The lessons take a particular approach to the task. There are other approaches too. Mixing them together may not bring the best results.

In the approach here, daily activity is used to stabilize the effects of practices. The best way to do this is to go out and engage in worthwhile activities of our choice. Then our activities, inner silence and ecstatic energy are naturally blended to bring about higher functioning in our nervous system. The end result is life lived in ecstatic bliss with divine love flowing out into everything we do. Our life naturally becomes joyful service, wherever we may be.

There are many things you can do that will hasten purification in your nervous system. But there is only so much purification the nervous system can assimilate in a given period of time. The order in which practices are done is important too. Think of it as being like athletic conditioning. It takes time, particular exercises, and a gradual build-up. That is the approach here. The practices in the lessons, combined with prudent self-pacing (very important), provide a means to go gradually faster without risking excessive instability. Then we can keep up our daily practices indefinitely without overloading and burning out. 

Stable long-term daily practice is the key to enlightenment. The journey is more like a marathon than a sprint. With right practices and good self-pacing it can be a pretty fast marathon! 

You are doing great. Keep up the good work. I wish you all success on your chosen spiritual path.

The guru is in you.

Related Lessons Topic Path

Discuss this Lesson in the AYP Plus Support Forum

Note: For detailed instructions on building a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, including suggestions for practice on retreat, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book, and AYP Plus.

Previous  |  Next