Yoga for Body & Mind with Jasmine Tarkeshi Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Why Meditate?

20 min - Practice


Meditation is at the heart of every yoga practice. Jasmine shares a talk about the power of meditation and then guides us in a brief compassion meditation to invite in a sense of loving kindness toward all. We explore how we can apply these techniques in our daily lives.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

Sep 19, 2017
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Welcome. Today I'm going to share with you my passion for the meditation practice and share with you some of its benefits and we'll even take a few moments to practice a meditation on compassion together. So why meditate? Why meditate? Meditation is at the heart of every yoga practice and although beneficial on their own, asana, pranayama, mantra, mudra are forms of concentration to be able to still the mind and in the yoga sutras, yoga's main philosophy on yoga, the very definition of yoga itself is the stilling of the fluctuation of thought and it's through that stilling that we get to abide in our own true nature and be present. So if you're like me and probably everyone I know, your mind is completely restless if you've ever paid attention to your thoughts. Our minds are racing from one thing to the next, our to-do lists, our worries. For me, I'll have a thought and then a fantasy is born out of it and I've taken to a whole other world. But we're rarely ever here, rarely ever here in the actual moment. We can worry about things in the past but the present in yoga and really in our lives is all that really matters for us to truly be here with the people we love, with ourselves and really to free ourselves from this mental chatter. That's the cause of so much anxiety in our lives which leads to so many different physical ailments and if we can begin to work with our minds we can really begin to even experience more mental health. We focus so much on our bodies, what we put into our bodies for a healthy body but not so much what are we putting into our minds to care for the health of our mind and since our bodies are under the control of the mind itself, simply by taking care of our mind, our bodies are going to feel a lot better and the interconnectedness. The body affects the mind, the mind affects the body and then we affect the world around us. So we're doing the whole world a lot of good by paying some attention to our mind and to our thoughts. So just taking a little bit of a step out, for sure we're using these concentration tools to steal the thoughts but for me it's been so powerful to simply become an observer that maybe we're not stopping the mind completely but to not be identified with them. We can really identify with our thoughts, we can become our thoughts. Something's triggered and anger is born out of it and before we know it we're swept away and taken out and so the simple stepping back and watching and disentangling our identity from everything we think is so incredibly powerful and so of course you may have heard everything can be in meditation, washing the dishes can be in meditation, walking can be in meditation. For me I've found that without a traditional practice of meditation, of taking time to sit every day because it's the consistency that's most powerful, it's even meant to be more better for you to meditate daily five to ten minutes than let's say 60 minutes once a week but with this consistency of sitting, of watching, observing and being. So we take a few moments to just be not do and to truly be seen, watch what we're thinking and who we are not what we have are all these external identities or even thinking and just a little pause from those thoughts just a tiny pause, the mind is wild and it's turbulent begins to create a little bit of a groove this powerful pause or space it's called where we cease to identify with a thought or get lost in it and then it becomes more regular, more regular to where we have more of these moments of truly being present. So the simple meditation practices are placing your mind on the breath but something to focus on so that it moves away from thinking and just when you notice that you're thinking this is the traditional practice I grew up with is that you label it thinking it's not judging it it's not a good thought it's not a bad thought it's not a racy thought there's so many different types of thoughts just thinking all of it is thinking and you simply come back to your breath to being present on the exhale. Now sometimes that's not enough so maybe we can begin to bring our awareness towards a mantra. A mantra can be anything from a traditional Sanskrit mantra the sound of om which is our universal connection to everything could be om shanti, peace if that's what we want to experience and even until any Sanskrit mantra really has meaning for us saying the word love right what we're choosing to feed ourselves what it is that we desire so the Buddha said you know what we think is what we become so we get to make those choices about what we're thinking and it creates a great positive influence not only in our bodies but by continuing to bring our awareness towards being more loving or perhaps it's free or peaceful the whole world gets to benefit. Meditation is known even I think there was a Stanford study that meditation even increases the gray matter of the brain so it's gone on beyond the traditional spiritual practices in which focus so much on meditation taking time whether it's traditional religions to yoga and its allied practices that meditation is meant to be this link to everything but scientists and the health field are really celebrating the benefits not only to the quality of our lives but to our mental health to the functioning of our body in so many different ways so many more reasons to practice meditation so for today I would like us to start with a simple compassion meditation and again compassion is at the heart of so many different traditions and spiritual paths so for me compassion gives me an opportunity to stop thinking about myself which again can lead to such suffering just that self-focus and allows us to connect to others to step outside of just me and the yoga is meant to then connect us with everyone else so just by taking time to send out let's say through the traditional Buddhist practice of maitri or loving kindness we're able to send our good will and to connect ourselves to others who are around us and in this way instantly be free of our ego so make sure that you're comfortable and seating in a way to where your spine can be really long so a chair is totally great to sit on if sitting cross-legged is uncomfortable you can also sit on your shins but you do want the spine to be really long posture is everything in meditation because you realize if we slump it affects our mood so this is a workout in itself just sitting up tall so many of the asanas are meant to prepare the body even to be able to sit so the shoulders draw back chest is lifted your spine is long the sit bones connect to the earth or the feet so if you're sitting in a chair you do want to make sure that your feet are flat on the ground and from there there's a connection upwards so this is joining heaven and earth within the human being as we become this great conduit so we're not forgetting about the earth not forgetting about this great vastness but connecting them through our meditation and simply bringing our mind into our body and that's meant to be the definition of heaven and earth bringing awareness and consciousness to everything that we do so mood draws are very effective tools or sacred hand gestures I love how it has the word mood in it because they are great mood shifters they can symbolize different spiritual qualities that we wish to awaken like courage compassion mindfulness peace freedom enlightenment so there's so many different ones one that I really love is the lotus mood drum so you take your thumbs together and your pinky fingers together but then trail the outline of your hands so that they touch the outer edge of the hands and then the wrists come together and then all the rest of the fingers open up wide yeah and then your elbows can rest by your sides so that the chest and the heart can lift so we have this nice strong back body and then the soft vulnerability of your heart and your face so it's always balanced between these two qualities and the lotus symbolizing being rooted in the mud in the world and yet our hearts can be free our minds can be free our spirits can be free one of the greatest gifts that meditation has given me to be in the midst of I used to always think I'll be free if I was freed from this situation or that one if this would change or that would change but to be in the midst of everything and to experience freedom from my own afflictions attachments and thoughts has been yoga's truest gift so that's what the lotus symbolizes and then you can start it by taking a few breaths right here even as we breathe it's to come into the fragrance of the moment the heart is even symbolized as a great flower the great fragrance that lingers you can even look down on it as a visual aid that says through this concentration leads to meditation the culmination is that samadhi or union and after a few breaths the breath in itself and connects us to others our planet the universe you can begin to first bring your awareness towards somebody in your life that you love this can be easy to wish that person well next you start with somebody in your community somebody you don't know that well there's a little further removed you can begin to think about someone perhaps a celebrity or somebody that's even further removed that you don't know that you don't see and then the final person becomes you know those people that really have us practice our yoga the people that challenge us these ones seem very very challenging to wish people who have perhaps even harmed us to wish them well but it becomes one of the most liberative practices that we're not bound with resentment through the power of forgiveness so this is just traditional practice which can really still the mind create the space of our open heart so the traditional mantra says may so-and-so you can put in the name into the blank experience health happiness and freedom may they be freed from all afflictions may they be safe and then you can insert the next name may so-and-so be happy be free you can wish them whatever it is that you want experiencing great power of our heart compassion connecting us to others that we fill ourself with a state of loving kindness we wish others to be free from suffering and as a Dalai Lama says if you want to be happy practice compassion if you want others to be happy practice compassion take one more breath in every exhale sending out its powerful blessings never underestimate the power of your thoughts you can even release your hands down onto your knees you can rest in the effects of your meditation and simply come back to your breath this nurturing attention in this practice minds can focus so much more becomes a powerful tool if it's not our mind that's our enemy but the thinking that gets in the way and begin to feel the incredible power of our mind to create the world we want to live in and if you feel your posture shifting you can sit up a little bit taller and even if there's slight discomfort you begin to disassociate from I am the discomfort there is discomfort stay here for a few more moments especially when we feel like we want to run away we stay with it just a couple more breaths take one deep breath in and exhale everything out thank you so much for joining me in this practice I hope you'll explore your meditation practice with all of its vast gifts not only for yourself but its power to benefit everyone in your life thank you for joining me and I'll see you soon


Curtis Hamilton
Just completed the 21 Day Meditation Challenge. For some reason I still
feel I need guidance as I continue my meditation practice. Enjoyed this video. Now getting ready to find my next one to meditate with, Do you have any meditation video on this site?
1 person likes this.
Hi Curtis ! How wonderful that you have devoted yourself to this practice and are continuing to dive into meditation. This is the only meditation video I have thus far on Yoga Anytime. Thank you for joining me and I hope the asana classes I offer can help to supplement your meditations. Love, Jasmine
Kate M
Very sweet. And I am using my new Halfmoon sit set today for the first time - what a difference it makes to sitting when you have found a good seat! I love the loving kindness meditation practice. So helpful!
Peter Ferber
Gosh, I feel like there aspects of yoga I am doing for the first time with this lily-pad mudra, and I keep returning to it.  It is scholarly and cuts to the Chase of all that matters.  I perceive the lilly-pad mudra as increasing the acuity of my hearing and increasing my peripheral vision.  Thank you, Jasmine, for the clear and hogh-minded meditation, that accentuates and amplifies the mudra practice, filling it out and giving my mind beautiful objects of meditation. 

Top marks. ~ Peter Ferber ❤️

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