Yoga-meditation aims to change your state of awareness. The final aim of yoga is ’the cessation of the arising of mind-waves’ (Patanjali, Yoga Sutras) Mind-waves being thoughts, memories or any mind activity.
A meditator experiences many different states of consciousness along the way. There are various signs that your state of awareness is changing, and they seem to spring up when you least expect them.
One of these signs is a sense that the edges of your body are dissolving. It feels weird and fun at the same time. I feel it as a kind of fizziness – especially around my hands and arms. At other times it feels like my body has gone blurry, like I’m not sure where my skin ends and the air around me begins.
I don’t only feel it at the edges though. Sometimes its like the whole body has become less, well, bony. Less bony and less solid. More liquid-fluid. Like I’m floating in a liquidy sac.
Weird, fizzy fun.
In meditation I usually spend time focusing on the third eye chakra – located between the eyebrows.
The third eye as an inward-turning tool – a means to withdraw from the outward gaze and look inwards at one’s own inner sky.
I particularly liked this morning’s meditation because it wasn’t deep. It was surface. My attention played over the surface of my forehead.
From a classical yoga point of view this would be considered poor meditation. However, as a lover of the skin and flesh, I revel in the physical body. The skin for me is a porous boundary between self and world. I loved this morning’s skin-deep yoga – attention delighting in the skin.
Breath control is one of the main practices in yoga. When you breathe up and down the spine (into each chakra) you are meant to breathe deeply. The classical texts on yoga are clear that the lungs should be filled and emptied.
But there are times when my body doesn’t want to breathe deeply. It almost hurts to breathe deeply. So I don’t. I allow my breath to be shallow.
If deep breath takes you into deep meditation, does shallow breathing take you into shallow meditation? I don’t know.
Shallow breathing is that it makes me pay keen attention to my body. The slightest over-expansion on my lungs feels uncomfortable. To stay comfortable – and comfort is essential for good meditation – I have to stay tuned into my body.
The restricted movement of my lungs diffuses my attention into my flesh. Not just any attention, but tender attention – making sure that each breath caresses my lungs and doesn’t push against them.
Deep breathing, deep meditation. Shallow breathing, tender meditation.