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How to Meditate in 5 Easy Steps

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Course Overview

Meditation is an inward journey. It’s also a systematic process.

Join Rolf Sovik in this short workshop as he explains and guides you through each step, bringing together the two main themes of meditation: mindfulness, or the ability to observe yourself, and concentration, the ability to rest your mind in its focus. With these meditation essentials, you will have the tools you need to discover your own inner sanctuary.

When meditation is mastered, the mind is unwavering like the flame of a candle in a windless place.

— Bhagavad Gita

In five easy steps, explore and experience how to:

  • Prepare the body and mind for meditation and choose a sitting posture that’s right for you

  • Practice smooth, relaxed breathing, and awareness of the flow of the breath

  • Use a simple mantra as a focus and resting place for the mind

  • Observe yourself and the thoughts that arise as you meditate

Suggested reading: , by Rolf Sovik

Certificate of completion

3 CEU’s Upon Completion

Self Paced Learning

Course Outline

1.5 hrs to complete

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Section 1
  • Meditation is a systematic process that leads you from outside to inside—from the environment around you to the quietness of your own mind. It relaxes the nervous system, calms the senses, and focuses the mind. There are two main themes in meditation: mindfulness, or the ability to observe yourself, and concentration, the ability to rest your mind in its focus. In meditation, body, breath, and mind need to be integrated into one continuous process.
  • At its core, meditation is a blossoming of spirit—an individual reply to a call from within. Unlike the more familiar ways in which we normally think and act, meditation asks us to take a seat and quiet ourselves. Then it whispers to us about how to be creative in life, about what is true and not true, about how to heal and how to mourn, and about the joys that come from simply being, rather than wanting and trying. All this amounts to a welling up of spirit that permeates both heart and mind. We may be especially drawn to meditation during times of need. These are times when life's storyline takes...
Section 2
  • Learning to relax is the first step in meditation. Relaxation practices are systematic, step-by-step methods. They are done lying down, allowing you to relax the body, soften nervous tensions, and quietly calm the mind. Rolf demonstrates how to lie in the relaxation posture called shavasana. While there are different types of relaxation, their common feature is resting, breathing, and relaxing the mind. Rolf suggests limiting relaxation practice to about 10-12 minutes.
  • Rolf first guides you in getting settled in shavasana, with a thin cushion to support your head and neck. To begin the relaxation, you will bring your attention from the outer world to your own body and become aware of the flow of your breath. Your awareness then travels to each area of the body as you relax and soften each area. Finally, you are the quiet observer of your body and breath as your mind rests in the feeling of breathing and you relax your body, breathing, nervous system, senses, and mind.
Section 3
  • Rolf demonstrates four sitting postures for you to choose from so that you can be comfortable and steady in your meditation seat. You can sit on a chair, cross-legged on a cushion or blankets on the floor, on a meditation bench, or on a cushion on the floor with the legs folded and the feet tucked. No matter which posture you choose, it’s important to keep the head, neck, and trunk elevated and erect, and to make sure that your hips are higher than your knees.
  • To begin this guided meditation, sit in the posture that’s most comfortable for you and let your body rest. Rolf invites you to close your eyes and bring your awareness to your body, softening each area of the body while maintaining an erect posture. As your body rests in your meditation seat and becomes still, your mind becomes less inclined to move. This stillness is a comfort and a resting place.
Section 4
  • The next step in meditation is to cultivate smooth, relaxed breathing, which serves as a focus of concentration and relaxes the nervous system and mind. Rolf explains that we can make breathing a voluntary function, although it can also be involuntary (automatic) or be affected by emotion. He also describes the qualities of good breathing and how breathing in a seated posture differs from breathing lying down. He suggests that in your own practice you allocate 7-8 minutes to relaxed breathing.
  • This guided meditation uses relaxed breathing as the focus. You will bring your awareness inward to your body and then to the flow of breathing. As your breath flows deeply and smoothly, you gradually begin to sense that you are not the breather but rather the observer of your body breathing. Your breath begins to flow at the right pace for you. As your body rests in comfortable stillness, your mind, following the breath, relaxes.
Section 5
  • The fourth step in meditation is a refined focus—awareness of the breath touching inside the nose. Every meditative tradition has discovered that feeling the touch of breath in the nostrils is a deeply satisfying focus for the mind. Rolf explains why: The breath is a reliable focus (it’s always flowing), it’s gentle, and it represents the sense of touch, giving the mind a subtle focus to rest in that draws attention away from all the other senses.
  • This guided meditation uses the touch of breath in the nostrils as the focus. After bringing your awareness inward to body and breath, you let the breath relax and flow at its own natural pace. Then you bring your awareness to the sensation of the breath touching inside the nostrils—the exhalation feeling warm and the inhalation cool. You are the quiet observer. You allow thoughts that arise to pass through your mind without giving them energy, and you continue to rest your awareness in the touch of the breath.
Section 6
  • The fifth and last step in meditation is to give the mind a resting place in the mind itself. This resting place is a mantra, or “a sound that protects and guides.” The initial practice using mantra links the mind to the breath with the mantra so’ham (pronounced “so hum”), meaning “I am that pure Self who I am.” Rolf explains how to coordinate the mantra with the breath and then how to gradually bring your awareness from the breath in the nostrils to where the mantra rests in the mind.
  • In this guided meditation, you will add the mantra so’ham to the practice. After bringing your awareness inward to smooth, relaxed breathing and then to the touch of the breath in the nostrils, you will think the sound “so” as you inhale and “ham” as you exhale. Gradually, you will have just the merest awareness of breathing, and you will rest your awareness in the sound of the mantra where it arises in the mind..
Section 7
  • Meditation is thus a process that unfolds in two dimensions. The first is mindfulness, or quietly observing the process of collecting yourself, and the second is concentration—the collecting process itself—in which you withdraw your awareness inward to the breath, breath awareness, and sound of the mantra. The mantra serves as the mind’s support and resting place, called an alambana in Sanskrit. Meditation gives you a resting place that endures—that you can come back to daily.
  • Rolf leads you through a complete meditation practice using the mantra so’ham. This practice includes all the steps of sitting meditation: letting the body become still as you sit in a comfortable, erect posture; bringing your awareness to relaxed, smooth breathing; awareness of the touch of the breath in the nostrils; and joining the mantra so’ham to the flow of the breath until your mind rests in the sound of the mantra in the mind.

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Meet Your Teacher

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Rolf Sovik
President and Spiritual Director of the Himalayan Institute and a clinical psychologist in private practice,... Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, you can include this course in your Yoga Alliance training hours, with each hour equivalent to one continuing education credit.
This course is entirely self- paced, allowing you to learn at your convenience.There are no imposed deadlines or time constraints for Course completion.
No prerequisites are required; this course is open to anyone interested in deepening their knowledge and practice.
No, the course is accessible to all individuals interested in enriching their understanding and practice of yoga.Yoga teaching certification is not a prerequisite.

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