Meditation Basics

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What is meditation?

Despite all its popularity, today very few of us truly know what meditation is. Some regard meditation is the mental concentration on something, others consider that we meditate when we imagine something that gives us peace or satisfaction. All these methods are being with one goal to slow down and, eventually, completely stop the incessant activity of our minds. These exercises are not really meditation – they are substitutes for meditation because it is normally very difficult to stop our minds all-together. In reality, meditation is a state of thoughtless awareness. It is not an act of doing – it is a state of awareness. We either in this state or we are not, regardless of what we are doing in life. Truly, a man can be in meditation while doing his day’s labors as another man can be very far from meditation while sitting in a lotus posture on the top of a mountain.

When we take a look at the various explanations of meditation, another thing we often see is that meditation is defined as taking a moment to sit quietly or to ponder. True meditation, however is much more than this. It is a state of profound, deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent, yet completely alert. This is just the beginning of an inner transformation that takes us to a higher level of awareness. This enables us to fulfill our true human potential. The problem, of course, is how to achieve this state.

Meditation is not…

Concentration
Concentration is an effort to fix the attention on a particular object or idea for a long period of time. The techniques used in visualization are another type of concentration.

Loss of control
Sounds, voices, colors and involuntary movements have nothing to do with meditation or spirituality. These are symptoms of loss of awareness and loss of control over some parts of ourselves.

Exercises
Exercises, such as postures and breathing, do not constitute meditation. They may help establish some balance if under the guidance of a true master (a realized soul). Their practice without a true spiritual goal only leads to an imbalance in the right channel.

Mental effort
Thoughtless awareness is achieved through the raising of the Kundalini. To get rid of blockages that prevent her ascent, we use the hands and introspection but never mental effort (e.g., the continuous repetition of “I must stop thinking”).

Why meditation?

Meditation, Flowers and scented candleMeditation is seen by a number of researchers as potentially one of the most effective forms of stress reduction. [1] While stress reduction techniques have been cultivated and studied in the West for approximately 70 years, the data indicates that they are not consistently effective. [2]

Meditation however, has been developed in Eastern cultures and has a documented history of more than several thousand years. Eastern meditative techniques have been developed, trialed and refined over hundreds of generations with the specific intention of developing a method by which the layperson can regularly attain a state of mental peace and tranquillity, ie. relief from stress. It is a strategy that can easily be adapted to the needs of clinicians and their patients in the West.

A US study for example, showed that a short course of behaviour modification strategies that included meditation led to significantly fewer visits to physicians during the six months that followed. The savings were estimated at over $200 per patient . [3]  A study of insurance statistics showed that the use of medical care was significantly less for meditators compared to nonmeditators. [4]

The growing emphasis on:

  • quality of life outcomes
  • concepts such as psychoneuroimmunology or mind–body medicine  and
  • reducing healthcare costs
  • suggest that stress reduction and improving mental health are becoming increasingly relevant to healthcare.

Some key points about meditation

meditation-effortlessMeditation can be an effective form of stress reduction and has the potential to improve quality of life and decrease healthcare costs.

Meditation is effortless and leads to a state of ‘thoughtless awareness’ in which the excessive stress producing activity of the mind is neutralised without reducing alertness and effectiveness.

Authentic meditation enables one to focus on the present moment rather than dwell on the unchangeable past or undetermined future.

There is little quality evidence comparing one meditation technique with another or meditation with relaxation techniques.

The theoretical explanation for the effects of meditation and relaxation techniques is that the release of catecholamines and other stress hormones are reduced and parasympathetic activity is increased.

Whether meditation involves other unique neurophysiological effects remains to be proven.

[1] Hassed C. Meditation in general practice. Aust Fam Physician 1996; 25(8):1257–1260.
[2] West M (ed). The psychology of meditation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.
[3] Achterberg J. Mind body interventions, meditation. In: Berman B. Alternative medicine, expanding medical horizons. Washington DC: Office of Alternative Medicine, National Institute of Health, 1992.
[4] McSherry. Medical economics. In: Wedding D, ed. Medicine and behaviour. St Louis: Mosby and Co, 1990 : 463 – 484 .

Next: How does meditation work?

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64 comment(s) so far, want to say something now?


  • Sharada Darbha
    Dec 3, 2009
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    Its the only way to be human .
    one has to experience tha taste of the sugar to describe how sweet it is similarly one ha sto experience sahaj to be just human .For there is no other simplest way to understand what we are & what we were missing so far ……..

    Reply

    2

  • anita paquet
    Dec 18, 2009
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    Hi,

    I would like to know what locations in Toronto have free meditation workshops.

    Anita

    Reply

    admin
    December 18th, 2009

    Hi Anita,

    Please check the following link for meditation classes in Toronto
    http://www.freemeditation.com/meditation-classes/ontario/#Toronto

    All the best

    Reply

    3

  • John
    Dec 29, 2009
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    Look, Meditation is a process by which you can control your nerve system according to you and live long life with out disease and tension free.

    Reply

    4

  • dr.mani verma
    Dec 29, 2009
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    i learned sahaj yoga by one of my very good frn marina.thnx to u marina.this has totally changed my life.
    i m getting more success,peace,love n joy day by day.

    love u shri mataj

    Reply

    5

  • Aniket
    Jan 17, 2010
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    Hi,

    I want to know what location in mumbai near (Thane) have free meditation classes.

    Reply

    soham
    June 14th, 2010

    Centre at Thane is at Bedekar vidaya mandir on Friday 7 pm to 8 pm
    There are many centres at Thane like Sri Maa school, etc

    Do contact me for more information if needed.

    Reply

    r. nair
    February 18th, 2013

    I reside at vasant vihar thane west. could u pls let me know if u have any centres near to my place.

    Reply

    6

  • Nigel Coates
    Jan 27, 2010
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    To me the definition of meditation is similar to ‘Love’. You can try to explain it to someone, but unless they have experienced it – they wont really ‘get it’.
    One of my first teachers set me the challenge to meditate while washing up. I thought he was joking – until i achieved it. It took me a little longer, but it was a pleasure, not a chore :)

    Reply

    Nanda Kumar
    September 21st, 2011

    You are right, its like cool breeze of air touching you smoothly and we feel it but can’t see it explain it.

    Reply

    K C Gupta
    February 14th, 2012

    state of mediatation start with the thoughless wawreness state. One can enjoy this state for couple of min./hrs. It make changes in approch/behaviour of individual one to act with love & compassion.

    Reply

    7
  • comment arrow

    mi comentario se trata de los vídeos y meditacion guiada,que si fueran posible que fueran en español,ya que no domino el idioma ingles.
    Atentamente:Carlos villanueva a.

    Reply

    8

  • srinivasa rao j
    Mar 2, 2010
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    Very nice article i learned some new things from this and requesting you to continue this.
    with nirmal love
    srinivas

    Reply

    9

  • Anitha.D,
    Mar 22, 2010
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    Hi,
    I would like to know if you have any mediation classes in Sydney

    Reply

    10

  • admin
    Mar 23, 2010
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    Hi Anita

    Here is the link.
    http://www.sahajayoga.com.au/sahaja_yoga_meetings/index.shtml

    Hope you will find a center nearby.

    Reply

    11

  • Dawn
    Apr 30, 2010
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    I would like to know if there are any free meditation classes in Calgary, AB or Sahaja Yoga meetings.

    Reply

    admin
    May 2nd, 2010

    Hello Dawn,
    Yes, there is a Sahaja Yoga meetings in Calgary. Here is the link for the info:
    http://www.meditationcanada.ca/

    Best wishes

    Reply

    12

  • Binaural Beats
    Jun 21, 2010
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    This is a very good artical, i think it clears up some common missconceptions about meditation

    Reply

    13

  • MCSE courses UK
    Aug 10, 2010
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    It works to get out of mental stress.

    Reply

    14

  • C L Patel
    Aug 30, 2010
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    True- Meditation is the State of “Thoughtless Awareness” in which we have just to be.

    Reply

    15

  • jyotsna
    Sep 14, 2010
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    HI!……….

    HOW CAN I FEEL THE COOLBREEZ ?

    Reply

    16

  • Carol
    Sep 22, 2010
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    Hi
    I have not meditated for a while but have previously found when I do it feels like I sink into a very deep place. The only problem I have, if indeed it is a problem, is that if I am in room with others something seems to happen and I pick up their thoughts. For example, one time I kept seeing pictures of giant leeks – very odd you might think. But later when we were chatting with our tea I found out that the lady opposite me had leeks for dinner and had been thinking about how she had enjoyed them. As I say I dont know whether that is a problem or not, I am just aware that it always happens, often with more profound messages or memories for others, and the more I do relax the more information comes in.
    :-)

    Reply

    17

  • Anselm
    Sep 28, 2010
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    Hi,
    I am using meditation to reunite mySelf with the Infinite Intelligence within me… because, for a very long time now, I’ve become an elien to this Life-giving Force, and I’ve payed, and continue to pay the price. I need your advice on how to utilise meditation to reconnect with divine habits and forsake impure thoughts! I need your advice on how to utilise meditation to become a channel of Infinite Wisdom, an agent of Peace, and a delegate of Divinity! How can I improve and become a better person, in order to be of greater service to mankind? I want to serve. I want to serve. Can you help me?
    Thanks, Anselm.

    Reply

    18

  • paul benjamin
    Dec 1, 2010
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    i think meditation is the state where one feel God presence within him;the first manifestation of God within us is Absolute silence of all in us ,i mean all ours senses, mental, body;the moment one can know he is meditating is the presence of cool breeze on sahasrara;more one goes deeply in meditation more we feel it on sahasrara;but we meditate to be in harmony withn God within us;ithink it means seing Him,hearing Him, talking with Him in meditation; seing shree Mataji in meditation is not an hallucination,it is just a part of our ascent

    Reply

    19

  • marco
    Dec 17, 2010
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    hello,
    when can we expect to have a sahaja meditation center in south west miami.
    sincerely ,
    marc

    Reply

    20

  • Krishan
    Apr 11, 2011
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    Hi,

    I would like to know what locations in Bangalore have free meditation workshops.

    Krishan giri

    Reply

    21

  • Mithun Gupta
    May 3, 2011
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    Can any one help me with any Meditation center in Delhi

    Reply

    Sunaina
    June 2nd, 2011

    where in delhi? could you please tell your location?

    Reply

    22

  • Sunaina
    Jun 2, 2011
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    Thanks for such a wonderful news letter. it really very helpfull. Very few from us know this fact that Medititation is a Sahaj process. It can happen in a balanced stage we can not attain this stage forcely.

    Reply

    23

  • Ankit
    Jun 18, 2011
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    Its a nice and crisp article and I must say very well composed article. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    24

  • Meditation
    Jul 15, 2011
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    Hi

    First off all I want to say thanks for sharing this meaningful post about meditations. All definitions of meditation is absolutely correct.

    Reply

    25

  • luke
    Aug 22, 2011
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    I havent meditated for about 10 years can someone help me get back into it
    if so I thak you very much

    Reply

    26

  • luke
    Aug 22, 2011
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    is there any meditation classes in tallahassee FL

    Reply

    27

  • Sarah
    Sep 27, 2011
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    I would like to know of any free meditation classes in M iddlesex or London uk?

    Thanks

    Reply

    28

  • Heather T
    Oct 10, 2011
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    Hi there, are there any classes available in London, Ontario, Canada?

    Reply

    29

  • Prof.Vijay Karmarkar
    Oct 28, 2011
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    It is true that Meditation is a State of Mind and it requires lot of practice to be in such meditative state always.
    The main hurdle is our Mind itself.This supreme unit of energy in our brain is so dynamic and fragile that it reaches unknown,unfathomable dimensions in split seconds and comes back to present as quickly. Here it is important to note that certain level of materialistic happiness only will lead to inner happiness. Soul searching will follow only when stomach searching is satisfied.That is when our mind is preoccupied with essential priorities of life,we can not get into meditation.Also when we seek god it is but for some solution to something we named as Problem.Our wonderful computer called mind is always busy in searching,analysing,reasoning,fighting,debating with ourselves splitting into two and struggling to acquire that precious moment of peace throughout life.That is why Meditation is sought after.
    Hope this thought may generate more enquiry into “Sahajayoga” the most scientific way of getting into mediattive state of mind.

    Reply

    31

  • gyan
    Feb 13, 2012
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    Joy or happiness is not in exernal things. It is in our subtle spiritual body which is within our gross physical body. So let us feel our spiritual body.
    To look at ourself again and again is to move to the endless adventure of self-discovery and realisation of happiness.
    If we want to enjoy bliss always, then we should turn inward and look at (feel) ourself. Happiness will come from ourself in abundance.
    Let us start loving ourself.

    Reply

    32

  • Andrea
    Mar 16, 2012
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    This door has been opened to me by Mr. Gregoire de Kalbermatten during his latest book’s ” LEGEND OF DAGAD TRIKON ” presentation , 2 weeks ago , on March 2, in Bratislava. I went there because I read the book and am a big fan of it so I ordered some more books for my friends and expected from that evening not much more but getting the books signed by the author. But I got so much more! I got the self- realization in the most amazing way! Thank you very much, Mother , for giving me my second birth, and sahaja joga!

    Reply

    33

  • Jack Daniels
    Mar 23, 2012
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    Can you recommend a meditation center in New York City. There are many there, however, some are bogus.

    Reply

    34

  • Ashish Sood
    Mar 28, 2012
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    video not playing

    Reply

    35

  • Seren
    Apr 9, 2012
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    Haribol and Namaste :-) I am new to Meditation and have done much reading over the last two days. It appears as though ‘some’ people that i have either met or from the statements i have read over the internet, that they see only their own type of meditation as the ‘ony’ way!! An they ridicule other types of meditation !! This seems bizarre when they have not sought to acquire answers through practice of the meditation that they do not do!! Trying to put me off Sahaja Med only wants me to practice to estabish ‘any’ benefits! Surely one of the reasons we shoud meditaten is to show compassion, facilitate awareness, endorse peace, love and harmony etc etc?? lol :-) Peace to all , Seren x

    Reply

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  • Seren
    Apr 9, 2012
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    I would love to meet people around Surrey , UK to meditate together! Seems as though the med centres are quite some distance from me! :-( Perhaps I should becme a med instructor and start my own class?? hehe Seren x

    Reply

    Lianne
    May 1st, 2012

    I would come, I new to meditating I used to meditate years ago but I wasn’t actually aware that I was meditating!…..I think there is a centre in south Croydon…google it..xxx

    Reply

    37

  • prabhakar
    Apr 18, 2012
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    Kindly suggest me the free mediation centers in Kalyan (E).

    Reply

    38

  • prastuti
    May 8, 2012
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    very apptly written ……….i hav strated practising it ……:)

    Reply

    39

  • AboutMeditation
    May 23, 2012
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    Thank you for this fantastic outline of meditation for beginners.

    Reply

    40

  • bem jime
    Sep 9, 2012
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    Need to improve for smooth living.

    Reply

    41

  • A.P.Saldanha
    Sep 13, 2012
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    Hi
    I want to know ..meditation centers in Thane city pls.

    Thanks

    Reply

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  • comment arrow

    Meditation is as powerful as anyone thought it would be. It leads to a deeper level of relaxation. Is is totally free and you should start meditating now to feel the benefits.

    Reply

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  • emil
    Oct 17, 2012
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    it seems that makes me more humble

    Reply

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  • jarnail singh
    Oct 24, 2012
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    Meditation leads to thoughtless awareness state of mind that is essence of self realization. A few moments of meditation takes me deep in my self . Wandering clouds of doubt and fear begins to fade and give way to calm, cool and serene environs within. Find and realize divinity within is aim of each soul. A few moments of thoughtless awareness refreshes body, mind and energize to take stride ahead.

    Reply

    45

  • hemant
    Nov 1, 2012
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    fBrothers and sisters,true love is inside us.It’s the only truth we find when we meditate honestly.Pleasurable rays is discovering whole body and this makes me addict towards meditation.I feel very calm,silence even in opposite surrounding situtations.This technique made me change from evil to human..I love god which is inside us and want to meet him curiously a

    Reply

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  • Ranjana
    Nov 2, 2012
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    Thankyou.It made me thoughtless.

    Reply

    m.vijay kumar
    November 15th, 2012

    meditation is one of the very good mid relef ness.

    Reply

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  • t
    Nov 30, 2012
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    my sister reports loss of control-unable to move or have complete control of the body; and colored lights .should this concern her?

    Reply

    48

  • Krishna Prasad Bhusal
    Jan 2, 2013
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    I would be grateful if you could tell me if there is any free meditation center in Kathmandu, Nepal?

    Reply

    49

  • Shane Sommerville
    Jan 30, 2013
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    Hey looking to get into meditation, Dont know where to start was wondering if there was any free meditaion gathering in Fort St John,B.C

    Reply

    50

  • r. nair
    Feb 18, 2013
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    would like to know the centres near vasant vihar thane west

    Reply

    51

  • kajol
    Feb 26, 2013
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    it is awesom and has motivated me to concentrate in my studies

    Reply

    52

  • K R Ganesh babu
    Mar 30, 2013
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    Kindly explain what is Kundalini?

    Reply

    53

  • Luca Samson
    May 1, 2013
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    That was a really great read and flowed very nicely.

    I too am a meditator fanatic and I also love yoga. Basically anything that encompasses health and a simple living is my style.

    I remember when I started meditating over 5 years ago now and those first few weeks were the hardest. It was so difficult to just sit down for 30 mins and not think about anything, I kept on procrastinating but I eventually forced myself.

    After a few weeks, everything changed. It suddenly clicked and I began noticing the benefits of my meditation and it all became so easy. If you are a beginning meditator, never give up. It only gets easier and better.

    Looking forward to some more posts :)

    Reply

    Milan C
    August 1st, 2014

    Sir, I can say that I am passing through at this moment the same thing you wrote.

    It is so hard to focus on no thinking for even 15 minutes. However I am trying it for 2 weeks already every day and I managed to make it to 40 minutes of meditating. I know that I just need to be persistent and not give up.

    It feels so good when you hear that someone had the same problems you do, it’s like relief.

    Reply

    54

  • Stephen.
    May 17, 2013
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    Would being in a hypnotic state be the same as to meditate.

    Reply

    55

  • saraswati
    May 29, 2013
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    To me meditation means love. Now I have learned loving should be with the love feelings in everything we encounter.. Now I don’t bother yesterday…it is gone.. Tomorrow why should I dream of tomorrow’s duties.. Today is important.. Doing what I should do for today. I am living in today…Thanks with love to free meditation…..

    Reply

    56

  • Lesya
    Jun 5, 2013
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    I had a meditation experience in sahaja-yoga. For me it’s another dimention.
    Sorry for my English.
    Lesya

    Reply

    57

  • MENOU THOMAS
    Jul 18, 2013
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    BONNE MEDITATION A TOUS

    Reply

    58

  • ashoka
    Aug 27, 2013
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    what is stress? is this disease, why it occurs? how to come to know am in stress

    Reply

    Erwan
    February 11th, 2014

    Dear Ashoka,

    Stress is synonym of anxiety, doubtfulness and fear. The inability to remain calm in all situation. You know that you are in stress when all your attention is focused on the problem coming to your mind and you start being involved in it and therefore attached to solving the issue or knowing the end result (of an exam for example).

    There could be many reasons to it, exams, big decisions to take, complicated relationship within your family or with friends. It is not a disease it is an emotional behavior that can be controlled through meditation on a long term basis.

    Reply

    59

  • Lokesh
    Nov 22, 2013
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    Is there any meditation classes at Jodhpur Rajasthan…. Please tell me

    Reply

    Erwan
    February 11th, 2014

    Hi Lokesh,

    Please find below a link with all the classes in Rajasthan including Jodhpur:
    http://www.sahajayoga.org.in/meditation-centers?tid=36#block-block-17

    Reply

    60

  • M.THAMILSELVI
    Jan 8, 2014
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    Dear Mam/Sir,

    I am residing at lakshimipuram near kolathur at chennai-99. Can you share with me the nearest meditation centre. I am very much intrested to join.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Thamilselvi.

    Reply

    Erwan
    March 20th, 2014

    Dear Thamilselvi,

    here is below a link with all classes in Tanil Nadu:
    http://www.sahajayoga.org.in/meditation-centers?tid=37#block-block-17

    All the best.
    Erwan

    Reply

    62

  • vinay Kashyap
    Mar 10, 2014
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    Is there any meditation centre in chhattisgarh (raipur/durg/bilaspur).

    Reply

    Erwan Lesigne
    March 17th, 2014

    Dear Vinay,

    here is a link below that provides you with addresses in chhattisgarh area:
    http://www.sahajayoga.org.in/meditation-centers?tid=17#block-block-17

    Warm regards,
    Erwan

    Reply

    64

  • sanjay
    Mar 13, 2014
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    I would like to know what locations in pune have free meditation workshops.

    Reply

    Erwan Lesigne
    March 17th, 2014

    Dear Sanjay,

    find below a link that provides you with many addresses in Maharashtra including Pune:
    http://www.sahajayoga.org.in/meditation-centers?tid=28#block-block-17

    Let us know if you encounter any issue or else about meditation,

    Warm regards,
    Erwan

    Reply

    65

  • RINKU
    Mar 14, 2014
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    sugest me any free meditation shop/centre in Bhopal India…………

    Reply

    Erwan Lesigne
    March 17th, 2014

    Dear Rinku,

    here is a link below that provides you with addresses in Madhya Pradesh area:
    http://www.sahajayoga.org.in/meditation-centers?tid=27#block-block-17

    Let us know if you encounter any issue or else about meditation,

    Warm regards,
    Erwan

    Reply

    66

  • nikul patel
    May 18, 2014
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    How to remove a tress I own mind…
    Yoga is useful a meditation..

    Reply

    Erwan
    May 19th, 2014

    Dear Nikul,

    it is extremly simple to release your mind from stress, please try out the link below:
    http://www.freemeditation.com/online-meditation/self-realization-workshop-kundalini-awakening/

    Thank you,
    Erwan

    Reply

    68

  • Ren
    Jul 10, 2014
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    Hi

    sugest me any free meditation centre in Kochi/Thodupuzha, Kerala …………

    Reply

    Erwan
    July 11th, 2014

    Dear Ren,

    here below is a link where you can find all addresses in Kerala:
    http://www.sahajayoga.org.in/meditation-centers?tid=26#block-block-17

    Hoping that you find one close to your place,

    kind regards,
    Erwan

    Reply

    70

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