Mindfulness, meditation and Raja Yoga

What is it?

Mindfulness meditation – and Raja Yoga – deal with the sense of self. (Hardcore Raja Yogis will add the line “…and the sense of Self” to this!)

The sense of self – at the most physical level – is that part of us which mediates between logic and emotions.  When it works well, the sense of self sees both sides and take care of all our needs in the things it does. Mindfulness meditation at Yogafurie in Bristol – and Raja Yoga – study how to be in that space, all the time: how to move forward in the best interests of all.

What are the benefits?

The self – where we find the intuitive response that’s just right – can be a fleeting experience. To stay in that space requires concentration, and Raja Yoga at Yogafurie in Bristol specifically includes practices to build concentration ability. When we concentrate, we get engrossed – like when reading a good book, we easily forget what the time is.

This is important for Raja Yoga practice. When we become engrossed in our own ability to use intuition, we get entirely absorbed in it – like getting absorbed in a book. Then we don’t feel separate from what we’re doing. Me and the things I do are one and the same thing, and that’s Yoga (or Union) by anyone’s definition. In fact, it’s the supreme “Royal” (or Raja) Yoga spoken of in many of Yoga’s most significant texts, the most notable of which (in the West) is The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali.

Steadiness is really important. A person needs to be physically steady and in good health if they want to focus on making life less tricky. This can imply lifestyle changes. Some people have long term health issues. That shouldn’t be a barrier to progress – again, it’ll impact and be impacted by lifestyle. Actively-managed steadiness of body implies and is supported by a growing steadiness of mind.

Can anyone do it?

Yes. There are no entry requirements! Meditation and mindfulness need a bit of patience, but they also develop patience. So, you’re pretty much ready to start any time you decide you want to.

Why is it for me?

Our senses are limited. Dogs can hear much better, owls can see much better, etc etc. But we act as if ours are correct. For instance, something tastes good so we eat lots of it even if it has no nutrition at all. Or something looks good, but turns out to be toxic when we get involved. Mindfulness and meditation practices at Yogafurie in Bristol lead to a place where thoughts, feelings, desires and aversions become ways to inform and enable effective choices, rather than being the primary drivers.

Physical Yoga (for instance Hot Yoga) is an excellent way to explore and develop concentration and purpose. A Yogafurie Hot Yoga class typically settles your breath to settle your mind and emotions. Then the teacher calls lots of attention to physical sensation, making physical senses available for rational assessment against a backdrop of quiet emotions. This sets the entire scene for detailed mindfulness practice, and the meditation that comes from it. In many ways, a modern physical class like this is today’s entry point to the deeper practices of Raja Yoga. However, if you’re already getting enough exercise and just need something to help you relax, meditative practice (like our Nidra class – see the timetable for scheduling of Yoga Nidra at Yogafurie in Bristol) could be just what you’re looking for.