Showing posts with label Meditations. Show all posts

by Stephan Bodian

Foreword by Dean Ornish,MD

Author of Dr.Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease

Meditation For DUMMIES, 2nd Edition
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Book Details
 Price
 3.00
 Pages
 386 p
 File Size 
 6,258 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 ISBN-13
 ISBN-10
 978-0-471-77774-8
 0-471-77774-9
 Copyright©   
 2006 by Wiley Publishing, Inc

About the Author
Stephan Bodian has been practicing and teaching meditation for more than
30 years. His workshops on meditation and self-realization are offered
through Omega Institute and other learning centers, and his articles on meditation
and related themes appear regularly in national magazines. When he’s
not writing or teaching, Stephan practices an approach to counseling and
coaching that guides clients in using meditative techniques for inner exploration
and healing. A licensed psychotherapist, he’s available for phone consultations
worldwide through his Web site, www.stephanbodian.org.
Stephan first became interested in meditation in high school when he came
across the word Zen in a novel by Beat writer Jack Kerouac. After studying
Asian philosophy at Columbia University and doing graduate work at
Stanford, he took a leave of absence and went off to a Zen monastery in the
mountains near Big Sur, California, where he shaved his head and spent long
hours following his breath. Ordained a monk in 1974, he eventually became
director of training at the Zen Center of Los Angeles and resident teacher at a
small Zen center in San Diego before putting aside his robes in 1982 to pursue
a master’s degree in psychology — and a more ordinary life.
From 1984 to 1994 he was editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal, an award-winning
magazine devoted to yoga, meditation, and holistic health. His books include
Timeless Visions, Healing Voices, a collection of interviews of prominent
visionaries and healers; Living Yoga (with Georg Feuerstein), an anthology of
articles from Yoga Journal; and Buddhism For Dummies (with Jon Landaw), a
comprehensive, user-friendly introduction to one of the world’s great spiritual traditions.

For more information on Stephan’s workshops, retreats, and phone counseling
and coaching services, visit his Web site (www.stephanbodian.org).
....

Introduction
Everyone seems to want to know how to meditate these days. From Baby
Boomers to Generation-Xers, anxious teens to aging retirees, harried
housewives to hurried executives, heart-attack sufferers to weekend athletes,
more and more people are seeking solutions for the stressful, time-urgent, overstimulated
lives we lead. Because the media and mainstream medicine have
failed to provide satisfying answers, people are turning in increasing numbers
to time-honored practices like meditation for proven remedies to cure life’s ills.
Indeed, according to a 2005 Newsweek survey, nearly one-third of all adults in
the U.S. meditate daily. That’s tens of millions of people! Why do they bother?
Because it works. Whether you’re seeking greater focus to get your job done
more efficiently, less stress and more peace of mind, or a deeper appreciation
of the beauty and richness of life, the simple practice of sitting down and
turning your attention inward can do wonders for your body and your mind.
The truth is, you can learn the basics of meditation in five minutes. Just sit in
a comfortable position, straighten your back, breathe deeply, and follow your
breath. It’s as simple as that! If you do it regularly, you’ll find that it won’t be
long before you’re feeling more relaxed and enjoying life more. I speak from
personal experience — I’ve been practicing meditation and teaching it to
others for more than 30 years.

Simple though it may be, meditation also has tremendous subtlety and depth,
if you’re interested in pursuing it further. It’s a lot like painting — you can buy
your materials, take a few lessons, and have fun applying paint to paper. Or
you can attend classes at your local adult-ed center or community college,
specialize in a particular medium in art school, and make painting a central
part of your life. In meditation, as in art, you can keep it simple — just get up
every day and sit quietly for five or ten minutes — or you can explore the
subtleties to your heart’s content. It all depends on your needs, your intentions,
and your level of interest and passion.

About This Book
As a teacher of meditation, I’ve always been hard-pressed to come up with a
single book that teaches the basics, provides a comprehensive overview of
techniques and practices, and offers guidance in going deeper. Global surveys
generally ignore the nuts and bolts — what to focus on, how to sit, what
to do about your crazy mind. Books that teach you how to meditate tend to
offer just a few techniques. And those that show you how to explore the rich
inner world of meditation often have a sectarian spiritual perspective that
limits the breadth of their presentation. (In other words, you’d have to be a
Buddhist or a yogi or a Sufi to know what they’re talking about.)
Unlike any other book I’ve come across, this one covers all the bases. If
you’re looking for simple, easy-to-follow meditation instructions, you’ll find
state-of-the-art guidance here, filled with helpful tips from seasoned meditators
and time-honored wisdom from the great teachers of old. If you want to
get an overview of the meditation field before you zero in on a particular
method or teaching, you’ll catch a glimpse of the primary approaches available
these days. If you’ve been meditating in a particular way and want to
expand your horizons to include other techniques, you’ll be pleased to discover
that this book features dozens of different meditations for a variety of
purposes, drawn from a range of sources and traditions. And if you just want
to understand why other people meditate — your partner, your friends, the
guy in the office next to yours — jump onboard! You’ll discover whole chapters
on why people meditate and how you can benefit from meditation, too.
As a special bonus, this second edition includes an instructional CD in which
I guide you step by step through ten of the most powerful and effective meditations
described in the book. When you’ve had your fill of reading and want
something more experiential, you can sit down in a comfortable position, pop
in the disc, and let my voice lead you effortlessly through the complete meditation
process, from start to finish. What could be more accessible and userfriendly than that?

This book is many things at once: an instructional manual, a survey course,
and a guidebook for deeper exploration. Feel free to read it from cover to
cover if you want, or just browse until you find the chapters that appeal to
you. Throughout the book, you’ll find meditations and exercises you can
experiment with and enjoy. Some of them are also offered on the CD, where
you can discover how to practice them directly without referring to the text.
The best thing about this book, in my humble estimation, is that it’s fun to
read. Meditation doesn’t have to be a dull or somber affair. Quite the contrary:
The whole point of meditating in the first place is to lighten up and
experience more peace and joy in your life. So forget those stereotypes of the
uptight Zen monk or the reclusive navel-gazer! You can find out everything
you ever wanted to know about meditation and enjoy yourself in the process.
....


Table of Contents
Introduction..................................................................1
About This Book...............................................................................................1
Conventions Used in This Book .....................................................................3
What You’re Not to Read.................................................................................3
Foolish Assumptions .......................................................................................3
How This Book Is Organized...........................................................................4
Part I: Getting Acquainted .....................................................................4
Part II: Getting Started ...........................................................................4
Part III: Troubleshooting and Fine-Tuning...........................................5
Part IV: Meditation in Action.................................................................5
Part V: The Part of Tens.........................................................................5
Part VI: Appendixes................................................................................5
Icons Used in This Book..................................................................................6
Where To Go from Here...................................................................................6
Part I: Getting Acquainted
Chapter 1: What Meditation Is — and Isn’t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Embarking on the Journey of Meditation....................................................12
Different paths up the same mountain ..............................................13
The view from the summit — and from other peaks along
the way...............................................................................................15
The taste of pure mountain water......................................................16
There’s no place like home — and you’re already there!................18
Developing and Directing Awareness: The Key to Meditation .................19
Building concentration ........................................................................20
Opening to receptive awareness ........................................................21
Using contemplation for greater insight ...........................................22
Cultivating positive, healing states of mind......................................23
Making Meditation Your Own .......................................................................23
Designing your own practice ..............................................................23
Troubleshooting the challenges.........................................................24
Other Journeys That Masquerade as Meditation ......................................25
Chapter 2: Why Meditate? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
How Life Drives You — to Meditate.............................................................29
The myth of the perfect life ................................................................30
When things keep falling apart ...........................................................31
Dealing with the postmodern predicament ......................................32
Four popular “solutions” that don’t really work ..............................35
How to Survive the 21st Century — with Meditation................................36
Advanced technology for the mind and heart..................................37
The mind-body benefits of meditation ..............................................38
A Dozen More Great Reasons to Meditate ..................................................41
To awaken to the present moment.....................................................41
To make friends with yourself ............................................................41
To connect more deeply with others.................................................41
To relax the body and calm the mind ................................................42
To lighten up .........................................................................................42
To enjoy more happiness ....................................................................42
To experience focus and flow .............................................................43
To feel more centered, grounded, and balanced..............................43
To enhance your performance at work and at play.........................43
To increase appreciation, gratitude, and love ..................................43
To align with a deeper sense of purpose...........................................44
To awaken to a spiritual dimension of being ....................................44
Chapter 3: Where Meditation Comes From . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
The Indian Connection ..................................................................................46
Classical yoga: The path of blissful union.........................................47
Early Buddhism: The roots of mindfulness meditation...................48
Indian tantra: Finding the sacred in the world of the senses .........49
To the Roof of the World — and Beyond ....................................................49
Ch’an (Zen): The sound of one hand .................................................50
Vajrayana Buddhism: The way of transformation............................51
From the Middle East to the Rest of the West ............................................51
Christian meditation: Practicing contemplative prayer..................52
Meditation in Judaism: Drawing closer to God ................................53
Meditation among the Sufis: Surrendering to the Divine
with every breath .............................................................................54
The Americanization of Meditation .............................................................55
Transcendentalism and Theosophy (1840–1900) ............................55
Yoga and Zen prepare the soil (1900–1960) ......................................56
Meditation reaches Main Street (1960 to the present)....................57
The Future of Meditation ..............................................................................59
Take two meditations and call me in the morning...........................59
Talking back to Prozac.........................................................................59
The more you sit, the less you pay ....................................................59
Spinning, stretching, and sitting.........................................................60
Chapter 4: Laying the Foundation: Motivation, Attitude, and
Beginner’s Mind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Beginning (and Ending) with Beginner’s Mind...........................................62
What Motivates You to Meditate? ................................................................64
Improving your life...............................................................................66
Understanding and accepting yourself..............................................66
Realizing your true nature...................................................................67
Awakening others .................................................................................67
Expressing your innate perfection .....................................................68
How to Live in Harmony with Your Meditation..........................................68
Chapter 5: How Your Mind Stresses You Out and What You Can
Do about It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71
Taking a Tour of Your Inner Terrain.............................................................72
Sifting through the layers of inner experience .................................72
Discovering how turbulence clouds your mind and heart .............76
The Bad News: How Your Mind Stresses You Out .....................................77
Preoccupation with past and future ..................................................80
Resistance to the way things are........................................................81
Judging and comparing mind .............................................................82
Learned helplessness and pessimism ...............................................82
Overwhelming emotions .....................................................................83
Fixation of attention.............................................................................83
Clinging to a separate self ...................................................................83
The Good News: How Meditation Relieves Suffering and Stress .............84
Developing focus and concentration.................................................85
Allowing spontaneous release ............................................................86
Penetrating your experience with insight.........................................87
Part II: Getting Started
Chapter 6: Meditation 101: Relaxing Your Body and Calming
Your Mind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93
Turning Your Attention Inward ....................................................................94
Relaxing Your Body........................................................................................95
Developing Mindfulness: Awareness of the Here and Now.......................98
Focusing on your breath .....................................................................99
Expanding to sensations ...................................................................102
Welcoming whatever arises ..............................................................103
Training Your Puppy: Reining In Your Wandering Mind..........................103
Chapter 7: Preparing for Meditation: Posture, Stretching, and
Sitting Still . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107
Putting a Snake into a Stick of Bamboo — or the Subtle Art of
Sitting Still..................................................................................................108
How to Sit Up Straight — and Live to Tell About It .................................109
What to do from the waist down — and other fantasies ..............111
Straightening your spine without rigor mortis...............................116
Zafus, benches, and other exotic paraphernalia............................119
Preparing Your Body for Sitting .................................................................121
Cat pose with variations....................................................................123
Cobra pose ..........................................................................................124
Locust pose.........................................................................................125
Lunge pose ..........................................................................................126
Butterfly pose .....................................................................................127
Cradle stretch .....................................................................................128
Chapter 8: Where to Sit, What to Wear, and
Other Practical Stuff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131
What to Wear: Choosing Comfort over Fashion.......................................132
When to Meditate: Any Time’s the Right Time.........................................133
First thing in the morning..................................................................133
Before bed ...........................................................................................133
Right after work ..................................................................................133
Lunch hours and coffee breaks ........................................................134
While waiting for your kids and at other predictable
downtimes .......................................................................................134
How Long to Meditate: From Quickies to the Long Haul ........................134
Five minutes........................................................................................135
10 to 15 minutes .................................................................................135
20 minutes to an hour........................................................................136
What to Eat and Drink before You Meditate — and What to Avoid.......137
Where to Meditate: Creating Sacred Space...............................................138
Why it’s best to stay put....................................................................139
How to pick the right spot ................................................................139
How to set up an altar — and why you may want to bother ........140
Chapter 9: Effort, Discipline, and Letting Go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .143
Discipline Just Means “Again and Again”..................................................144
Making a commitment to yourself — and keeping it .....................144
Being consistent, day after day ........................................................145
Restraining yourself, both on and off the cushion.........................146
The Right Kind of Effort: Not Too Tight or Too Loose ............................147
Giving your energy 100 percent........................................................147
Applying yourself “earnestly”...........................................................148
Making an effortless effort ................................................................148
How to Let Go — and What to Let Go Of ..................................................150
Suspending judgment ........................................................................151
Accepting.............................................................................................152
Letting go.............................................................................................152
Unmasking...........................................................................................152
Surrendering .......................................................................................153
Chapter 10: Opening Your Heart: Love, Compassion, and
Forgiveness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .155
How Your Heart Closes — and How You Can Open It Again ..................156
Some factors that keep closing your heart .....................................156
Some good reasons for keeping it open ..........................................158
Discovering your “soft spot”.............................................................159
Love begins with you .........................................................................161
Four dimensions of love ....................................................................162
How to Generate Love for Yourself and Others .......................................163
Opening the gates...............................................................................163
Directing the flow ...............................................................................164
How to Transform Suffering with Compassion ........................................166
Some preliminary exercises for generating compassion ..............166
Transforming suffering with the power of the heart .....................168
How to Cut through Your Resistance with Gratitude and Forgiveness ...171
Forgiveness: The universal solvent..................................................171
Gratitude: The source of joy .............................................................173
Part III: Troubleshooting and Fine-Tuning
Chapter 11: Meditating with Challenging Emotions and
Habitual Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .179
How to Make Friends with Your Experience.............................................180
Embracing your thoughts and feelings............................................181
Naming your experience ...................................................................181
Welcoming whatever arises ..............................................................182
How to Meditate with Challenging Emotions ...........................................183
Meditating with anger........................................................................184
Meditating with fear and anxiety......................................................185
Meditating with sadness, grief, and depression.............................186
How to Unravel Habitual Patterns — with Awareness ............................187
Naming your “tunes”..........................................................................188
Expanding your awareness ...............................................................188
Feeling your feelings ..........................................................................189
Noticing your resistance and attachment.......................................189
Finding the wisdom............................................................................189
Getting to the heart of the matter ....................................................191
Infusing the stuck place with being .................................................191
Working with patterns before you get stuck...................................191
How to Set Patterns Aside — for Now.......................................................193
Letting go — or letting be..................................................................193
Shifting attention ................................................................................193
Moving the energy..............................................................................193
Acting it out in imagination...............................................................194
Acting it out in real life — mindfully ................................................194
How (and When) to Seek Help with Your Patterns ..................................196
Talk is important — but you need to do more ...............................196
Shop around........................................................................................197
Choose the person, not the credentials ..........................................197
Decide whether spirituality matters to you....................................197
Chapter 12: Troubleshooting the Roadblocks and Side Effects . . . .199
How to Navigate the Roadblocks on Your Meditative Journey..............199
Sleepiness............................................................................................200
Restlessness........................................................................................201
Boredom ..............................................................................................201
Fear.......................................................................................................202
Doubt ...................................................................................................203
Procrastination ...................................................................................203
Hypervigilance....................................................................................204
Self-judgment ......................................................................................204
Attachment and desire ......................................................................205
Pride.....................................................................................................205
Hiding out ............................................................................................206
Bypassing ............................................................................................206
How to Enjoy the Side Effects — without Getting Sidetracked..............207
Rapture and bliss................................................................................208
Visions and other sensory experiences ..........................................209
Emotional rollercoaster.....................................................................209
Energetic openings.............................................................................211
Chapter 13: Developing a Practice That Works for You . . . . . . . . . . .217
Fitting the Puzzle Pieces Together.............................................................217
Different pieces for different folks....................................................219
Play to your strengths or fill in the gaps? .......................................220
Experiment, trust your intuition, and then settle down................221
Create a regular practice ...................................................................222
Whenever Two or More of You: Meditating with Others ........................223
Joining or forming a meditation group............................................224
Attending your first workshop or retreat........................................224
Monk for a day: Creating your own solitary retreat.......................225
Part IV: Meditation in Action
Chapter 14: Cultivating Spirituality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231
What Does Spirituality Mean Anyway?......................................................232
The “perennial philosophy”: Where all religions converge ..........233
From faith to fruition: The levels of spiritual involvement ...........234
Dissolving or expanding the self: The point of spiritual
practice ............................................................................................236
The Path of Devotion: In Search of Union .................................................241
Mantra: Invoking the Divine in every moment ...............................242
The practice of the presence of God ...............................................243
Guru yoga: Tibetan devotional practice..........................................244
The Path of Insight: Discovering Who You Are ........................................246
Expanding your boundaries..............................................................247
Looking into the nature of mind .......................................................248
Asking “Who am I?” ............................................................................250
How to Find a Teacher — and Why You May Want to Bother................251
Choosing the right kind of teacher ..................................................251
Why you may need a teacher ...........................................................252
What to look for in a teacher ............................................................253
How to find a teacher.........................................................................255
Chapter 15: How to Meditate in Everyday Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .257
Being Peace with Every Step: Extending Meditation in Action ..............257
Coming back to your breath .............................................................259
Listening to the bell of mindfulness.................................................259
Repeating a phrase to help yourself be mindful ............................262
Noticing how situations affect you ..................................................262
Applying meditation to familiar activities.......................................264
The Family That Meditates Together: Partners, Children, and
Other Loved Ones ....................................................................................266
Meditating with kids ..........................................................................267
Meditating with partners and family members ..............................267
Meditative lovemaking.......................................................................268
Chapter 16: Using Meditation for Healing and Performance
Enhancement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .273
Meditation Has the Power to Help Heal Your Body, Too ........................274
What healing really means ................................................................275
How meditation heals ........................................................................275
The healing power of imagery ..........................................................279
Six healing meditations......................................................................280
Meditation Can Enhance Your Performance at Work and Play ..............287
Enjoying past success........................................................................290
Rehearsing peak performance..........................................................291
Part V: The Part of Tens
Chapter 17: Answers to Ten Commonly Asked Questions
about Meditation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .297
Will Meditation Make Me Too Relaxed or Spaced Out to Succeed
at Work or School? ...................................................................................297
How Can I Find the Time to Meditate in My Busy Schedule? .................298
I Can’t Sit on the Floor and Cross My Legs — Can I Meditate in a
Chair or Lying Down Instead?.................................................................299
What Should I Do about the Restlessness or Discomfort I Feel
When I Try to Meditate? ..........................................................................299
What Should I Do if I Keep Falling Asleep while I Meditate?...................300
How Can I Tell if I’m Meditating the Right Way? How Do I Know
if My Meditation Is Working?...................................................................300
Can I Meditate while I’m Driving My Car or Sitting at My Computer?...301
Do I Have to Give Up My Religious Beliefs in order to Meditate? ..........302
What Should I Do if My Partner or Other Family Members
Don’t Support Me in My Meditation Practice?......................................302
Can Meditation Actually Improve My Health?..........................................303
Chapter 18: Ten Favorite All-Purpose Meditations . . . . . . . . . . . . . .305
Practicing Relaxation...................................................................................305
Following Your Breath .................................................................................306
Walking Meditation ......................................................................................307
Mindful Eating...............................................................................................308
Cultivating Lovingkindness.........................................................................309
Softening Your Belly.....................................................................................310
Healing with Light ........................................................................................310
Grounding into the Earth ............................................................................311
Practicing a Half Smile.................................................................................312
Peaceful Place...............................................................................................313
Chapter 19: Ten Meditation Research Studies — and What
They Mean for You! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .315
Meditation Makes You Happier — and Boosts Your Immune
System, Too...............................................................................................315
Meditators Have Lower Blood Pressure ...................................................316
Meditation Reduces Cholesterol Levels....................................................316
Meditation Improves Your Overall Health ................................................317
Meditators Live Longer and Age Better ....................................................318
Meditation Helps Reverse Heart Disease..................................................318
Meditation Makes You More Empathic .....................................................319
Mindfulness Speeds the Healing of Psoriasis ...........................................320
Meditation Ranks with Chocolate as a Mood-Enhancer .........................320
Meditation Relieves Pain.............................................................................321
Part VI: Appendixes
Appendix A: Meditation Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .325
Organizations and Centers..........................................................................325
Jewish, Christian, and Sufi meditation ............................................325
Hindu and Yoga meditation...............................................................326
Taoist meditation ...............................................................................329
Zen meditation....................................................................................329
Tibetan Buddhist meditation (Vajrayana).......................................330
Insight meditation (Vipassana) ........................................................331
Other organizations ...........................................................................332
Books .............................................................................................................333
Appendix B: About the CD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .337
System Requirements..................................................................................337
Using the CD .................................................................................................337
What You’ll Find on the CD .........................................................................338
Troubleshooting...........................................................................................339
Index........................................................................341


Screenbook
Meditation For DUMMIES, 2nd Edition
....
Conventions Used in This Book
I use a few conventions in this book to help your reading go smoothly:
 When I want to make a topic crystal clear, I break the essential points
down into bulleted lists (like this one), so you can follow them easily
without getting lost in a sea of excess verbiage.
 Just as a piece of music may begin with a few opening phrases known as
a prelude, most meditation instructions in this book begin with a similar
directive — to sit quietly, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths.
When you’re accustomed to this prelude, you can naturally begin with it
each time you meditate.
 The first time unfamiliar terms and phrases appear, they’re set in italics
and accompanied by a brief definition.
 Web addresses and e-mail addresses are set in monofont, so you can
easily spot them.

What You’re Not to Read
Here and there throughout this book I’ve sprinkled sidebars (text in gray
boxes), which offer extra information, such as stories, examples, explanations,
and assorted meditations. Though they’re fun to read and intended to
spice up the book, they’re not essential. So if you’re in a hurry to get to the
meat of the matter (or the yogurt, if you’re a vegetarian), feel free to skip over
them — and come back later if you’re so inclined.

Foolish Assumptions
When I wrote this book, I made a few assumptions about you, dear reader,
that I thought I should share with you before we begin:
 You’re intrigued enough by the topic of meditation to pick up this book,
but you haven’t yet discovered how to meditate — or if you have, you
still feel the need for more guidance.
 You want less stress and more happiness and peace of mind, and you’re
willing to devote a little of your precious time to achieve it.
 Because you can’t afford to spend long hours meditating in a monastery
or ashram, you want instruction that you can put to use right now, at
home or at work.
 You don’t live on a desert island or in some isolated part of the globe;
instead, you inhabit the ordinary world and confront the usual stresses,
pressures, and responsibilities that most of us face.
If these assumptions apply to you, then you’re definitely in the right place!

How This Book Is Organized
Although I designed this book so you can read it cover to cover — some
people still do that, don’t they? — I also made sure that you can find what
you’re looking for easily and quickly. Each part covers a different phase of
your encounter with meditation.
Part I: Getting Acquainted
If you don’t know a thing about meditation, you’ll probably want to start
here. You’ll discover what meditation is (and isn’t), where it comes from, and
how you can use meditation to reduce your stress, improve your health, and
enhance your feelings of peace and well-being. This part also introduces you
to the devious workings of your own mind (in case you haven’t already
noticed) — and explains how meditation helps to keep you calm and focused.
Part II: Getting Started
Here’s where you actually find out how to sit down and work with your mind
(and heart)! Just in case you’re intimidated by the prospect of being quiet
and turning inward, I provide easy-to-follow instructions that lead you
through the process gently, step by step. I include a separate chapter on all
the little details that most meditation books take for granted — such as how
to keep your back (more or less) straight without getting uptight and what to
do with your eyes and hands — and a chapter on stretching and preparing
your body for sitting. You can even meditate lying down, if you prefer.
Part III: Troubleshooting and Fine-Tuning
After you start meditating regularly, you’ll find that questions and even problems
arise from time to time. You may wonder how to put all the pieces
together in a way that’s uniquely suited to your needs. Or you may encounter
distractions you don’t know how to deal with, like recurring fantasies or difficult
emotions (for example, “How can I possibly get my mind to stop playing
the same Beastie Boys tune over and over?”). This part covers the fine points
and hot spots of practice.
Part IV: Meditation in Action
It’s one thing to calm your mind and open your heart in the privacy of your
room, but quite another to practice meditation throughout your day, with
your boss (or your clients), your partner, your kids, and the person in the car
in front of you. This part shows you how to extend the benefits of meditation
to every area of your life, from sex to stress-reduction to spirituality. If you’re
primarily interested in healing your body or mind or performing more effectively
at work or play, you’ll find a chapter that shows you exactly what you
need to know. And if you’re fascinated by the wonders of spiritual unfolding,
you’ll find a chapter devoted to your interests as well.
Part V: The Part of Tens
I tend to gravitate to the end of a book first, which is why I love lists like
these. In this part, you find answers to the most frequently asked questions
about meditation, a distillation of the best all-purpose meditations, and compelling
scientific evidence of the healing power of meditation.
Part VI: Appendixes
If you’re not sure what to do next when you finish this book, you want to find
out more about a particular technique or approach to meditation, or you just
want to contact other people to meditate with, check out the annotated list of
meditation organizations, centers, and books in Appendix A. In Appendix B,
you’ll find instructions on how to use the CD as well as a list of all the tracks.

Boost your health, re-energize your life, enhance your yoga and deepen your meditation

Swami Saradananda

First published in the UK and USA in 2015 by Watkins, an imprint of Watkins Media Limited


Mudras for Modern Life- Boost your health, re-energize your life, enhance your yoga and deepen your meditation
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 Watkins Media Limited 2015

GLOSSARY
Abhaya Mudra: Have No Fear Gesture 140
Adho-mukha Mudra: Downward-facing Gesture 45
Agni Mudra: Fire Gesture 36
Ajna Mudra: Brow Chakra Gesture 134
Akasha Mudra: Touching the Void Gesture 74
Anahata Mudra: Heart Chakra Gesture 58
Anjali Mudra: Gesture of Offering 139
Apana Mudra: Cleansing-energy Gesture 101
Ashva-ratna Mudra: Jewelled Horse Gesture 44
Bhairava Mudra: Fierce Determination Gesture 136
Bhramara Mudra: Humming Bee Gesture 78
Bhu Mudra: Touching the Earth Gesture 98
Bhuchari Mudra: Gazing into the Void Gesture 80
Bhumi-sparsha Mudra: Earth Witness Gesture 95
Chin Mudra: Unrestricted Consciousness Gesture 62
Dhyana Mudra: Meditation Gesture 50
Ganesha Mudra: Remover of Obstacles 137
Garuda Mudra: Eagle Gesture 64
Granthita Mudra: Knot Gesture 65
Guru Mudra: Jupiter Gesture 37
Hakini Mudra: Problem-solving Gesture 144
Hridaya Mudra: Compassionate Heart Gesture 60
Jalodar-nāshak Mudra: Water-reducing Gesture 113
Jnana Mudra: Wisdom Gesture 97
Kaleshwara Mudra: Lord of Time Gesture 82
Kali Mudra: Black Goddess Gesture 106
Kamajayi Mudra: Victory over Excessive Desires Gesture 43
Karana Mudra: Instrument Gesture
Kilaka Mudra: Key to Good Health Gesture 120
Kshepana Mudra: Letting Go Gesture 68
Kubera Mudra: Guardian of Wealth Gesture 86
Kurma Mudra: Tortoise Gesture 122
Linga Mudra: Mark of Siva 39
Maha-shirsha Mudra: Overactive Mind Relief Gesture 146
Mahatrika Mudra: Great Triangle Gesture 116
Makara Mudra: Crocodile Gesture 127
Mandala Mudra: Circle Universe Gesture 147
Manipura Mudra: Solar Plexus Chakra Gesture 38
Māsiki Mudra: Monthly-relief Gesture 124
Matangi Mudra: Guardian of Wisdom Gesture 84
Matsya Mudra: Fish Gesture 126
Muladhara Mudra: Root Chakra Gesture 96
Mushti Mudra: Closed-fist Gesture 148
Nadānasudhana: Four Mudras in a Chanting Practice 88
Namaskar Mudra: My Essence Meets Your Essence Gesture 138
Nirvana Mudra: Liberation Gesture 135
Nivedana Mudra: Deep Listening Gesture 81
Padma Mudra: Lotus Gesture 59
Pitta-energizing Mudra: Blues-banishing Gesture 49
Pitta-pacifying Mudra: Excess Heat-reducing Gesture 48
Prana Mudra: Life-force Gesture 100
Pranāpana Mudra: Taking In and Throwing Out Gesture 66
Prithivi Mudra: Earth Gesture 94
Pushan Mudra: Giver of Good Health 42
Samasti Mudra: Integrating Brain Hemispheres Gesture 145
Sankalpa Mudra: Practice Intention Gesture 83
Shakti Mudra: Essence of Power Gesture 118
Shankha Mudra: Conch Shell Gesture 46
Shanmukhi Mudra: Tuning into Silence Gesture 79
Shunya Mudra: Silence of the Void Gesture 75
Sthira Mudra: Steady and Stable Gesture 102
Sukham Mudra: Stress-relief Gesture 103
Surabhi Mudra: Wish-fulfilment Gesture 87
Surya Mudra: Sun Seal 40
Swadhisthana Mudra: Sacral Chakra Gesture 114
Udana Mudra: Upward-flying Energy Gesture 77
Varada Mudra: Forgiveness Gesture
Varuna Mudra: Water-balancing Gesture 112
Vayu Mudra: Air Gesture 56
Vishnu Mudra: Universal Balance Gesture 104
Vishuddha Mudra: Throat Chakra Gesture 76
Vyana Mudra: Expansive Prana Gesture 63
Yoni Mudra: Seal of the Goddess 123
....

Introduction
I welcome you to this book with a hand gesture of greeting, known in the Indian
tradition as ‘Namaste’ – this translates as ‘my essence greets your essence’. This
book is all about such mudras: hand gestures used to strengthen and purify mind,
body and psyche by ensuring the free flow of natural healing energy, or prana,
around your body to bring about radiant health and inner peace.
Hand gestures are used in many meditation traditions and are instruments of
healing in a number of therapeutic systems. These include reflexology (massage
using reflex points on the hands and feet), kinesiology (muscle-testing and
natural healing techniques) as well as India’s traditional system of healing,
Ayurveda. This book is based mainly on the Indian use of mudras: these simple
yet powerful gestures are also an essential practice in hatha yoga and Indian
dance, art and ritual. However, people have been depicted making similar hand
gestures across the globe and throughout history: on Egyptian pyramids,
Sumerian tablets and Mayan statues, in Hebrew inscriptions and Classical art.
Unlike yoga postures and breathing exercises, which are best learned from a
teacher, mudras are easy to pick up and totally safe to practise by yourself.
Absolutely anyone can benefit, from children with learning disabilities to older
people with limited movement. If you have little spare time, mudras make the
perfect form of exercise: you can practise while waiting for a bus, taking a break
from the computer or watching TV.
Mudras are so valuable because they enhance overall wellbeing and allow
you to tap into hidden energy reserves. Practice brings physical benefits, such as
increased mobility and balance, and mental benefits, such as improved
concentration. Emotionally, mudras encourage forgiveness and compassion. As
yoga and meditation tools, they develop deep calm and inner peace. This book
offers practical techniques to achieve all this – and all you need is your hands.
HOW I DISCOVERED MUDRAS
Through my experimentation, observation and extensive teaching of yoga, I’ve
found that the body is a powerful antenna that is continually receiving and
transmitting the subtle energy known as prana.
Most people think of hatha yoga as physical exercises: asanas. But it has
developed many other techniques for channelling prana efficiently and
effectively. There are breathing exercises (pranayama), cleansing exercises
(kriyas), energy ‘locks’ (bandhas) and ‘seals’ (mudras), as well as meditation
and ethical teachings. Hatha yoga begins with the physical body, but with
practice you become aware of a more subtle movement of energy that is not
physical in nature.
As I got more deeply into my asana practice, I became aware that I was
doing something more than just moving my body. Often I felt as though my
movement was just a flow of energy. As I became aware of the prana, I started to
find ways to direct and seal it into specific channels. This was the start of my
work with mudras, which enabled me to fine-tune and intensify many of the
benefits of my asana practice.
I started practising yoga in 1967, long before it was fashionable, and
became a yoga teacher in 1975. I found I have an aptitude for observation and
research, and the ability to communicate ancient teachings in everyday language.
Over the years, I’ve taught many classes and trained many teachers. Much of
what I observed, including my findings on mudras, has gone into this book.
In 2003, when I began training yoga instructors in the teaching of
meditation, started experimenting with mudras on a wider scale. Each week, I
asked the student teachers to practise a different mudra and report back on its
energetic values. Many of their findings are contained in this book. I hope it will
inspire you, too, to try using mudras and experience for yourself how this
ancient practice can help you to live a more peaceful and happy life right now.
OM shanti – with wishes for peace,
Swami Saradananda
....


Table of Contents
Introduction
What mudras can do for you
Accessing your energy
Mudras and chakras
Mudras and the elements
Mudras and doshas
Integrating mudras into your life
1. Hand Health and Wellbeing:
Increasing flexibility and reducing stress
Power in your hands
Simple hand massage
Finger exercises
Hand exercises
Shoulder exercises
2. Fire Mudras:
Boosting inner strength and self-esteem
THUMB (SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA)
Introducing the fire mudras
Agni Mudra: Fire Gesture
Guru Mudra: Jupiter Gesture
Manipura Mudra: Solar Plexus Chakra Gesture
Linga Mudra: Mark of Siva
Surya Mudra: Sun Seal
Pushan Mudra: Giver of Good Health
Kamajayi Mudra: Victory over Excessive Desires Gesture
Ashva-ratna Mudra: Jewelled Horse Gesture
Adho-mukha Mudra: Downward-facing Gesture
Shankha Mudra: Conch Shell Gesture
Pitta-pacifying Mudra: Excess Heat-reducing Gesture
Pitta-energizing Mudra: Blues-banishing Gesture
Dhyana Mudra: Meditation Gesture
3. Air Mudras:
Encouraging freedom, joy and stress relief
INDEX FINGER (HEART CHAKRA)
Introducing the air mudras
Vayu Mudra: Air Gesture
Anahata Mudra: Heart Chakra Gesture
Padma Mudra: Lotus Gesture
Hridaya Mudra: Compassionate Heart Gesture
Chin Mudra: Unrestricted Consciousness Gesture
Vyana Mudra: Expansive Prana Gesture
Garuda Mudra: Eagle Gesture
Granthita Mudra: Knot Gesture
Pranāpana Mudra: Taking In and Throwing Out Gesture
Kshepana Mudra: Letting Go Gesture
4. Ether Mudras:
Enhancing inner peace, self-expression and creativity
MIDDLE FINGER (THROAT CHAKRA)
Introducing the ether mudras
Akasha Mudra: Touching the Void Gesture
Shunya Mudra: Silence of the Void Gesture
Vishuddha Mudra: Throat Chakra Gesture
Udana Mudra: Upward-flying Energy Gesture
Bhramara Mudra: Humming Bee Gesture
Shanmukhi Mudra: Tuning into Silence Gesture
Bhuchari Mudra: Gazing into the Void Gesture
Nivedana Mudra: Deep Listening Gesture
Kaleshwara Mudra: Lord of Time Gesture
Sankalpa Mudra: Practice Intention Gesture
Matangi Mudra: Guardian of Wisdom Gesture
Kubera Mudra: Guardian of Wealth Gesture
Surabhi Mudra: Wish-fulfilment Gesture
Nadānasudhana: Four Mudras in a Chanting Practice
5. Earth Mudras:
Encouraging stability and grounding
RING FINGER (ROOT CHAKRA)
Introducing the earth mudras
Prithivi Mudra: Earth Gesture
Bhumi-sparsha Mudra: Earth Witness Gesture
Muladhara Mudra: Root Chakra Gesture
Jnana Mudra: Wisdom Gesture
Bhu Mudra: Touching the Earth Gesture
Prana Mudra: Life-force Gesture
Apana Mudra: Cleansing-energy Gesture
Sthira Mudra: Steady and Stable Gesture
Sukham Mudra: Stress-relief Gesture
Vishnu Mudra: Universal Balance Gesture
Kali Mudra: Black Goddess Gesture
6. Water Mudras:
Enhancing health and equipping you to move forward
LITTLE FINGER (SACRAL CHAKRA)
Introducing the water mudras
Varuna Mudra: Water-balancing Gesture
Jalodar-nāshak Mudra: Water-reducing Gesture
Swadhisthana Mudra: Sacral Chakra Gesture
Mahatrika Mudra: Great Triangle Gesture
Shakti Mudra: Essence of Power Gesture
Kilaka Mudra: Key to Good Health Gesture
Karana Mudra: instrument Gesture
Kurma Mudra: Tortoise Gesture
Yoni Mudra: Seal of the Goddess
Māsiki Mudra: Monthly-relief Gesture
Matsya Mudra: Fish Gesture
Makara Mudra: Crocodile Gesture
7. Mind Mudras:
Increasing concentration and clarity
PALM OF THE HAND (THIRD EYE)
Introducing the mind mudras
Activating the Palm Chakras: Sensitizing the Hands
Ajna Mudra: Brow Chakra Gesture
Nirvana Mudra: Liberation Gesture
Bhairava Mudra: Fierce Determination Gesture
Ganesha Mudra: Remover of Obstacles
Namaskar Mudra: My Essence Meets Your Essence Gesture
Anjali Mudra: Gesture of Offering
Abhaya Mudra: Have No Fear Gesture
Varada Mudra: Forgiveness Gesture
Handshake as Mudra: Shared Gesture
Hakini Mudra: Problem-solving Gesture
Samasti Mudra: Integrating Brain Hemispheres Gesture
Maha-shirsha Mudra: Overactive Mind Relief Gesture
Mandala Mudra: Circle Universe Gesture
Mushti Mudra: Closed-fist Gesture
8. Mudra Routines:
Building optimal wellbeing
Daily routine for wellbeing
Headaches and migraines
Digestive problems
Menstrual problems
Asthma and skin disorders
Hay fever and allergies
Arthritis and stiff joints
Stress
Anger
Jet lag
Insomnia
Chronic fatigue
Glossary
Resources
Acknowledgments


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Mudras for Modern Life- Boost your health, re-energize your life, enhance your yoga and deepen your meditation
....
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Text copyright © Swami Saradananda 2015 Artwork copyright
© Hannah Davies 2015 Photography copyright © Watkins Media Limited 2015
For copyright of other photographs see page 160 which is to be regarded as an extension of this copyright
The right of Swami Saradananda to be identified as the Author of this text has been asserted in accordance
with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.

Development Editor: Kelly Thompson Senior Editor: Fiona Robertson Editor: Susannah Marriott
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