Developing a Home Practice

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Posted on April 24, 2018

Developing a Home Practice

 
You might find yourself with a little time to yourself today. Here is an offering that may support a home meditation practice.
 
A meditation to start with is a nine-cycle breathing meditation. Sometimes simply sitting in stillness seems unobtainable. If we sit with a focus, it develops our concentration skills. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, concentration is referred to as dharana. The essential idea in the concept of dharana is holding the concentration or focus of attention in one direction.
 
“Dharana is the condition in which the mind focuses and concentrates exclusively on one point. this point can be anything at all, but it is always just a single object. Dharana is only one step away from dhyana, contemplation or meditation.”
– T.K.V Desikachar
 
Nine-cycle breathing meditation
 
To begin this breathing meditation, focus on inhaling through your left nostril and exhaling through your right nostril for three breaths. Then inhale through your right nostril and exhale through your left nostril for three breaths. Finally, inhale and exhale through both nostrils for three breaths, completing the cycle of nine, before starting over.
 
If you like, you can give physical support to this by placing a thumb and finger on either side of your nose, alternately blocking each nostril as you inhale and exhale. However, this is only an option, not a necessity. The point of this exercise is not so much to breathe through only one nostril, but to practise focusing your attention on each nostril individually.
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