Sit Still, and Be Quiet

It was impossible for me as a kid to do this!

Meditation practices have been shown to bring about positive changes to brain structure, chemistry and function. It’s well worth cultivating a meditation practice. The following link points to five key articles on the state of current research.

Meditation is easier if we can concentrate, but concentration is disturbed by external distractions. Even if we are alone in a quiet room, we can find our minds wandering onto all sorts of unrelated topics. There are mental distractions as well.

Teacher trainees sat in cirlce, practising meditation.

Yoga offers asana (physical) practice as a toolkit for building a kind of stamina for concentration. Our focus on breath, foundation, alignment and comfortable movement absorbs us in the activity. We develop pratyahara – a quality of not being distracted unnecessarily by events around us. We get inquisitive about our own inherent patterns, and this sense of discovery keeps our attention in one place. Our minds wander off topic a lot less.

It’s from this place that ekagrata dharana can arise – our own technique for staying on topic for as long as we want to. No one is saying this process is easy – if you thought some of the postures were tricky then just wait until you start training your mind! But like the physical practice – once it’s in place then it’s there for the long run. Meditation opens up for us, and as you can see from the related articles, this can only be a positive thing.

Teacher trainees sat cross-legged, hands resting on knees.

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