The Yoga of Maharshi Patanjali is Ashtanga or comprised of 8 limbs, Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyan Samadhi.
The initial four stage are the basic stages which help the person to attain "Sthiram" (stability of mind) which is the prior necessity for practicing the further stages of meditation.
As we have seen, to concentrate is Dharana and to prolong that concentration state of mind is Dhyan (Meditation). If Dharana is the drop, Dhyana is the river. The spontaneous concentration of the mind on the object is Meditation. It means that you are no longer distracted by external stimuli and when your mind is completely controlled and remain effortlessly at one point that is meditation. Meditation is the study of deep concentration, calmness and tranquility of the mind. It is the study of attaining complete control over ones mind. Meditation takes the consciousness beyond conscious, sub conscious & unconscious states to super consciousness. Once you gained fairly good control on Dharana (Concentration) you can try for the 'Dhyan'. In dharana we used a picture of Om to fix our attention on.In this method Sadhak has to concentrate with the help of his sensors like ' Eyes, Nose, Ears, Mouth and Touch by, Gazing the target. Reciting the mantra. Listening the mantra. Here sensors like ' Eyes, Nose, Ears, Mouth are used. This actions not allows him to think about anything except the target. After some period, stop the japa, close the eyes and try to concentrate the mind on the memories of Om sensed through the gaze, the tongue and the ears. This experience transcends the sensory organs and the engagement of mind this is Dhyan.
Benefits of MeditationA lot of research is being done on the effects of meditation on physiology and psychology of human. Research has shown that Meditation can contribute to an individual's psychological and physiological well-being. This is accomplished as Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into an alpha state, which is a level of consciousness that promotes the healing state. More and more physicians are prescribing meditation as a way to healthy life style. It is a flexible approach to coping with stress, anxiety, many medical conditions and the day-to-day "static" that robs us of inner peace.
Physical Benefits Dhyan regulates and controls electrical and chemical activities in the brain, heart rhythm, blood pressure, skin’s capacity of resistance and many such functions inside the body.
• Meditation keeps one young. Younger biological age i.e. one is younger than one’s chronological age.
• Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing. This has been very helpful to asthma patients.
• Deep rest-as measured by decreased metabolic rate, lower heart rate, and reduced work load of the heart.
• Lowers levels of chemicals associated with stress eg. cortisol and lactate.
• It reduces the chances of tissue damage though, the free radicals are controlled.
• Decreased high blood pressure.
• Drop in cholesterol levels.
• Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing. This has been very helpful to asthma patients. And that's just the surface stuff. In fact, most of the benefits mentioned above are secondary to yoga's original purpose.
Psychological Benefits Meditation is extraordinarily useful in healing old traumas, it may lead to a breakdown of screen memories so that early childhood abuse episodes and other traumas.
• Increases brain wave coherence. Harmony of brain wave activity in different parts of the brain is associated with greater creativity, improved moral reasoning, and higher IQ.
• Reduces anxiety, depression, irritability and moodiness.
• Improves comprehensive ability and memory.
• Enhances emotional stability.
• Brings happiness and leads to vitality and rejuvenation.
Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
• Builds comprehensive awareness.
• Promotes an interdependence between mind, body, and spirit.
• Helps you live the concept of “oneness.”
• Creates sense of well being and calm.
• makes one to discover one’s true nature i.e. realizing one's self, in finding what one seeks - consciously or unconsciously.
• Controls the mind.
• Sets one free from one’s illusions and preconceptions that prevents from fulfilling oneself.
• Dhyan dissolves the ego a person attains the union between a person's own consciousness and the cosmic consciousness.
Practice mediatation regularly and preferably at the same time every day (early morning is the best time for this).more on Dharana (Concentration)
An introduction to Kundalini yoga meditation techniques that are specific for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Non-linear dynamic complexity of the human EEG during meditation.
Changes in EEG and autonomic nervous activity during meditation and their association with personality traits.
Psychophysiological correlates of the practice of Tantric Yoga meditation.
Electrophysiological correlates of higher states of consciousness during sleep in long-term practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation program.
The physiological correlates of Kundalini Yoga meditation: a study of a yoga master.
A comparative study of the driving effects of dextroamphetamine and yogic meditation on muscle control for the performance of balance on balance board. Autonomic changes during "OM" meditation.
Alterations in auditory middle latency evoked potentials during meditation on a meaningful symbol-"Om".
Longitudinal impact of mindfulness meditation on illness burden in solid-organ transplant recipients.