Sahaja Yoga part I: How to slow the restless mind
I have been practicing meditation and yoga for a while now but I have never taken any classes on meditating. A few weeks ago, I saw an event on Facebook. ‘Sahaja Meditation Course Open Class’, it said, and my attention was immediately drawn to it. I told myself ‘Vera, you have to, just GO’. And so I took my new red meditation pillow I got from my mom, faced the cool, rainy Monday evening air and made my way to the course. I did not half know what to expect, but in the end, I liked it! The introduction course thought us a little about Sahaja meditation and it sounded interesting to me. Besides, it was for free. So why not give it a shot?
Sahaja Say What?
So to begin with you might ask yourself: ‘What actually is Sahaja yoga meditation, and what makes it different from other forms of meditation?’. Well, let me explain what I learned so far during this course.
Sahaja is about the Kundalini, this is maternal, nurturing and grounding energy that is present in every one of us. The Kundalini helps us to gain self-realization and experience the purest form of ourselves. It is said to give joy, calmness, decrease anxiety and cure mental and physical illnesses. In most of us, the Kundalini is dormant and must be awakened first. This can be done by practicing Sahaja meditation.
Sahaja meditation practices are based on the principle of three main energy channels in the body. The left one (see figure 1) represents the channel of emotions, desire, introspection, and the past. On the contrary, the right channel represents the future, the physical body, action, and extraversion. If both channels are evened out, our energy is centered in the middle channel and we are balanced and grounded. In daily life, however, we tend to swing from left to right and back. Some parts of our channels get blocked and we experience stress, burn-outs, anxiety, and depression (in the worst cases). Now, I will tell you some further details on the channels so you can see which one is most dominant in your daily life.
The left channel Being left channeled
As mentioned above, the left channel represents emotions and the past. People who tend to be more left channeled are more introverted and more aware of their feelings. It is easy for them to take a look at what is happening inside them and they find it easier to have empathy towards others. They have a strong orientation towards the subtle beauty in daily life and are trained to see the whole bigger picture. Also, they have a strong memory.
Downsides of being left-channeled can be dwelling on the past, melancholy, and sadness. Exaggerated romantic behavior can be practiced resulting from a too strong form of desire. Hypersensitivity, a feeling of weakness and insecurity can eventually lead to a passive state of mind and depression. But don’t be afraid, this are the worst case scenarios! In regular daily life, characteristics of being left-channeled will have a smaller effect on the mind and body.
The Right Channel Being right-channelled
The right channel represents the future. People that have a dominant right channel tend to be good planners and have everything under control. They have discipline and good organization skills. They have confidence in their actions and can put dreams into plans. They also focus more on logic instead of on emotions or intuition. Downsides are aggressiveness, anger and having a superior ego. The need for control can lead to being a control-freak, overexcitement, and nervousness. Stress and worrying too much about the future can cause mental rigidity. Most people experience stress as the major negative aspect of the right channel. Thus, to get a more relaxing lifestyle, balancing your energy channels can actually help you out!
But what about me? Which channel am I?
So now that you know a little about the Sahaja principles and the three channels, you might wonder ‘Which channel AM I?’. Well, to start with, you are none of them and both of them at the same time. During the day, we swing from left to right. We plan and think of the future when at work, but we have learned from the past. We follow our intuiting and nourish ourselves when we need to. This is totally normal. However, when you pay a little more attention, you might find that one of the two channels is actually dominant in your life. You might feel sad about the past and overthinking your mistakes during the night, or you might feel overexcitement and responsibility for everything happening around you. It might be a little difficult to find this out, but I by paying attention for a week you can learn more about yourself than you might expect.
So, let’s not jump into it too fast and take a little break here. First, I invite you to pay a little more attention to what is happening within you, how you feel and where your attention is during the day. In the next blog, I will tell you a little more about how to balance your energy channels with meditations and share some simple home-exercises. And don’t worry, you don’t need to be a meditation king/queen. You don’t have to have a relaxed mind to start practicing meditation. You will see that even 5 minutes will do and that even YOUR crazy, active brain will succeed. Good luck!