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The last 4 limbs of yoga build upon all 4 of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These are:
5 – Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the Senses
You will notice these practices are all meditation focused. As mentioned, they build upon each other. Unfortunately, these later limbs are individual practice focused, and not all Yogis decide to pursue them on their journeys. Please do share your experiences and tips with the community, but we will let you discover these when you are ready and on your own.
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try this Breath-Focused Meditation Practice. Meditation has always been difficult for me personally, with my “monkey mind” but these methods below have worked for me! If you have wanted to begin a Daily Meditation Practice, I recommend starting at 5 minutes, working up to 10 minutes, and consider increasing up to 30 minutes at your own pace. Personally, I meditate for 10-15 minutes at most in the morning to get centered for the day.
Start sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position. Try to find a quiet, comfortable space. Relax and focus on your breath. Allow your belly to expand on each inhale, and contract to empty your lungs fully on each exhale. (Check our Pranayama section for more detail on diaphragmatic breathing).
Notice any outside distractions such as wind or noises from the street, and try to allow them to fade into the background as you calmly turn your focus inwards. Notice any inside distractions coming from your mind, as our inner world/voice is typically used to running wild on auto-pilot. Calmly allow these passing thoughts to fade, and turn your attention back to your breath.
Start working towards calming your mind. Focus on counting to 10 with your breath. Inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, exhale 4, and continue to 10. If you notice your thoughts wandering, gently let them go, turn your attention back to your breath, and begin again with 1 on your next inhale.
Or, if you prefer more than numbers for your focus, try thinking to yourself “inhale peace and relaxation” each inhale, and “exhale stress and tension” each exhale. Many Yogis enjoy guided meditations to help focus.
Want more on Meditation?
Check our Meditation Board on Pinterest!
Please comment and let me know what you thought of this meditation exercise! If you meditate, how long do you typically meditate for and how frequently? Do you have another meditation technique or guided meditation you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!
Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Do you incorporate diaphragmatic breathing like this, or other Pranayama into your Asana practice? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!
27 thoughts on “Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Intro – Meditation”
I find I do much better with a guided meditation, then on my own. I love the term “monkey brain” ha that’s for sure what if feels like in there sometimes. I always feel great after even a short meditation and am going to try to add it into my daily routine.
We cover guided meditations on our next upper limbs day 🙂 I added the link, feel free to check them out
I’ve been trying to be better about meditating in my everyday life but am not quite there yet. I definitely do better with guided meditations and have been able to make it almost 10 minutes (even though my mind still wanders a lot and I keep having to bring myself back). So far trying to meditate on my own has not been as successful. I either forget I’m supposed to be meditating, or fall asleep 😆
Hehe! I meditate in the morning for that exact reason. I suggested a guided meditation for sleeping in our next upper limbs day covering guided meditations.. check it out! Seriously make sure you’re in bed before you try 🙂
Guided meditation is hard for me to get into, I like the idea of just counting or using a mantra like you suggest here. I’ll use this at the beginning of my yoga practice each day and see where it takes me!
Super interesting! You’re a natural <3
I’ve also had more success with guided meditation compared to on my own. My mind is always so busy it’s hard to quiet it without some guidance. My best meditation experience was in my college Hatha yoga class, when the teacher began the ending portion of the class with the guided meditation I could actually feel myself go to another place. When she would say her final words it would snap me back to reality and I felt completely rejuvenated! Such a great place I’d love to get to again !
It sounds like you are talking about Pratyahara, the first level of meditation! Here’s the guided meditations I’ve recommended so far