Shiva Meditation: Mindfulness and Self-Inquiry
About this course
The Shiva Meditation Course will be taught by Swami Atmananda Saraswati, Co-Director of the Ann Arbor Shiva Yoga Meditation Ashram. Swamiji has received meditation teacher's training certification from Swami Shankarananda and Swami Muktananda, and has been meditating for over 40 years.
The key to meditation is finding what works for you. In each weekly meditation class you will learn a new technique, providing you with a range of practices to choose from. These include:
- Guided chakra meditation (with accompanying CD)
- Mantra meditation
- Breath meditation
- Meditation in the world: how to use meditation in your daily life
Learn about working effectively with the mind and emotions; the relationship between the inner world and the outer world; being present; and true empowerment. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and receive advice on establishing your practice.
Complimentary book and CD package
Receive a complimentary copy of Happy for No Good Reason, an Australian bestseller and a comprehensive resource of the course material and additional information. The book includes a CD so that you can begin your meditation practice immediately.
Alternative ways to take this course
- Private sessions: one-on-one, over 3 weeks, arranged to suit your schedule
- Online: via Skype, at times to suit you
- In your home: host a course for your friends or family (minimum of 6). Ann Arbor area only
- Corporate course: we can tailor a meditation course for your staff or colleagues
Core Practices of Shiva Meditation
Guided chakra meditation (with accompanying CD)
In this meditation you will investigate the sensations, thoughts and feelings in four of the chakras (energy centers) in the body: the navel, the heart, the throat, and the brow. This is a technique about becoming present and examining your inner world to help you become aware of inner tension.
The second part of the process is called the ‘healing meditation’ and the emphasis here is on relaxation and wellbeing. You return to the chakras with a view towards acceptance, love and peace.
When you begin the course you will receive a guided meditation CD in which Swamiji guides you through the meditation. After the first class, all you have to do to begin meditating at home is sit down, close your eyes and listen to the first two tracks of the CD, which takes about 20 minutes.
The most widely used meditation technique is the mantra. A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat silently to yourself to prepare your mind for meditation. When we first learn to meditate we confront a mind that may be unwilling to co-operate. The mantra helps us to push unwanted thoughts away and soothes the mind and negative emotions. When our mind settles down, the inner Self shines forth.
There are thousands of different mantras in various traditions, but Swamiji teaches the mantra Om Namah Shivaya. It is a Sanskrit mantra that means ‘I turn to the inner Self’. You can think of the mantra as invoking the highest part of yourself that you can imagine and turning towards to your own deepest truth. The Om Namah Shivaya mantra is what we call an ‘alive’ mantra, because it has been passed down through generations of meditators, from teacher to student, for thousands of years.
Your CD also has an Om Namah Shivaya track where Swamiji repeats the mantra. It will give you the proper pronunciation and help you to remember it. You can meditate along with Swamiji as he repeats the mantra.
The breath is a powerful technique for entering deep meditation. You may have noticed a relationship between your breathing rhythm and your state of mind. When you are agitated, your breathing is also agitated. When you fall asleep, breathing becomes slow and regular. The mind is calm in sleep. It follows that by focusing on the breath to make it calm and steady, your mind also becomes calm and relaxed.
Some breath techniques involve a manipulation of the breathing rhythm and are therefore somewhat artificial, but the breathing technique you will learn is both natural and safe. It is called the hamsa breath mantra (pronounced ‘hum sah’). The breathing rhythm is left as it is. We simply watch the breath come in and listen (silently) to the sound ‘hum’ and watch the breath go out and listen for the sound ‘sah.’
When you breathe in you bring the life force from outside into your inner world. You affirm your ‘I am-ness’. When we breathe out we affirm our connection to the objective universe. The breath confirms our intimate relationship with the outer world and forms an ongoing and immediate connection. Breath meditation is closely allied to witness-consciousness. It creates spaciousness and detachment.
Meditation in the world
Meditation can also apply to our outer lives. Self-inquiry meditation can revolutionise and enliven every aspect of your life: career, relationships, health and spirituality.
Self-inquiry is about asking questions in our inner world, and paying attention to the answers that we receive. Among all the choices and possibilities in our lives, some have energy and some do not. The art of skillful living involves consistently seeking a choice that has a dynamic, positive and expansive energy and avoiding choices where the energy is blocked and negative.
In this meditation, we use Self-inquiry to help us deal with a difficult situation in our lives. Firstly, using the guided meditation from week one we identify a block. Then we ask a series of questions and look for answers from our inner world. For example:
- ‘What area of life is this block related to? Is it a relationship issue? Is it a health issue? Is it work related? Is it a spiritual block?’
- Then ask, ‘What do I need to do in order to fix the situation?’
- ‘Do I need to do something?’ For example, take an action such as speak to somebody, or make a plan.
- ‘Do I need to change my attitude?’ For example, surrender to the situation, or have an understanding.
- ‘Do I need to leave the situation?’
Notice the images, thoughts and feelings that arise as you ask these questions. Look for the answers that bring an upliftment, or positive feeling. You will be surprised what answers you will receive from your inner world.