Meditation involves concentration and relaxation – both of which are enhanced by yoga. Just as there are many styles of yoga, so too are there a variety of ways to meditate. The first stage of meditation is to find a focal point or method of focusing in order to free oneself from distractions. Some methods of focusing include:
- Sound: Repeating a mantra, phrase or other sound.
- Visualizing: Picturing an object with eyes closed, such as a lotus flower or the energy points in the body (chakras).
- Gazing: Looking at an actual object with eyes open. Candles, flowers or pictures are common objects used in gazing.
- Breathing: Observing the breath and what it feels like – the sensations – as it travels in and out of the body.
Research has confirmed that physiological and psychological changes take place in the body during meditation. For example, studies show that people who are meditating perspire less, have a slower rate of respiration and demonstrate lower blood pressure than normal.