Dr. Amit Negi De-mystifies the Process
By Maggie Balbaa
We hear many people talk about meditation and its effect on emotional and physical health. But what exactly happens to us when we meditate? Cairo West Magazine met up with yoga expert and naturopath, Dr. Amit Negi for more insight.
CWM: What is meditation?
AN: Meditation is a process of purifying the mind and making it focused, inward, and tranquil. Through the method of meditation, the mind will help you to fathom the deeper levels of your being and lead you to the highest state of realization. Meditation is when the mind is cleared of everything except the object of meditation. It becomes the only thing that shines in the mind. While meditating, the mind becomes devoid of all thoughts, even the ones of yourself. That state is called Samadhi in Indian, which means absorption. A person attains this state when he forgets himself while meditating.
Meditation has a lot of benefits psychologically and physically. It helps greatly in reducing stress and fighting depression. It also helps in the case of physical problems or illnesses; after all, a relaxed, healthy mind results in a relaxed, healthy body, and vice versa. Meditation also allows you to detox your body, mind and soul.
What can help set the mood for meditation?
Set a place at home for meditation. It is best to have a special room for meditation, but if this is impossible, as it is for most of us, try to separate off a portion of a room, reserving it solely for your practice if you can. Maintain it as a space to be used only for meditation, clean and tidy, free from distracting vibrations and associations. You can also add up some scented candles and crystals to this area to enrich the meditation experience and the positive energy of the place.
Adjust your sitting position so you are seated in a comfortable steady posture, with spine and neck straight but not tensed. A comfortable cross-legged posture provides a firm base for the body. You can also use Yoga Asana such as padmasana, the classic lotus posture or siddhasana, the half-lotus position, or any simple cross-legged position.
Sitting on a cushion will help the thighs relax and bring the knees closer to the ground. In these sitting positions, a triangular path is created for the flow of energy, containing it rather than allowing it to disperse in all directions. Metabolism and breathing slow down as concentration deepens. Elderly or less able people may wish to sit on a comfortable chair. Lying down is not recommended because you relax completely and may find it almost impossible to ward off sleep. The mild muscular contraction necessary to hold the back upright in a sitting position keeps you alert. Try to relax the rest of the body as much as possible, especially the muscles of the face, neck and shoulders. The chest should be open, with the rib cage lifted to encourage abdominal breathing. Initially, you may find it difficult to keep the back straight for more than a few minutes. The practice of asanas (yoga postures) for as little as thirty minutes a day will strengthen your back, making it easy for you to sit comfortably over a long period of time.
Should you avoid meditating if you feel stressed or upset, or can it help you get a better perspective on things?
Meditation can help in taming those feelings. As I said before, it is a great stress relief emotional detox tool.