So...on a beautiful day back in mid-August, zarfmouse and I visited Kundalini House on their Open Day and I did something I've never done before...I began a 40 day intentional meditation, called a "40 day Sadhana". The intention behind this particular meditation was "self acceptance". And, it could not have come into my life at a better time. Every day, for 40 consecutive days, upon waking and before doing anything else (besides, maybe going to the bathroom), I meditated for a minimum of 5 minutes, usually around 11 minutes...
I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a yoga or meditation master. In fact, I'm still really quite a novice. But, I thought I'd share some thoughts, opinions and revelations I've had along my ongoing journey...
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Initially, I envisioned the experience upon starting a 40-day meditation practice to be somewhat similar to a major detox (like the master cleanse). Only, this time with the process being intentionally focused on the mental, emotional and spiritual, rather than on the physical.
And, it turned out to be (almost exactly, in fact), like a major detox. The first few days were uncomfortable, I felt kind of achy and sore, I kind of felt like I was doing it all "wrong", I was distracted and frustrated with tons of random thoughts...and some of those mornings, laying there in bed between sleep and awake, I just felt like rolling over, back towards sleep, with the prevailing thought: "Morning already? Arg, I don't wanna. Maybe later..."
But...I always managed to get myself out of bed and do it, because I knew, somewhere deep down, if not now, then 40 days from now, my mind and body would thank me for it.
And, just like the detox process, day by day, it started to get easier.
I think the two things that helped me most were 1) having a meditation buddy, zarfmouse (who also has some excellent thoughts on meditation) and 2) I didn't keep track of how many days had passed/how many were left to go. It was a much more enjoyable experience for me and I seemed to learn much more about my own self discipline when I stopped counting. (And, it was also *really helpful* to have someone there in the morning to nudge me out of bed when I just felt like sleeping in...)
Sidenote: hssst , I give you *lots* of credit for jumping in solo and taking this on! You rock! ***enthusiastically cheerleading for you from across the ocean***
SO! Anyway...from what we were told, 40 Day Intentional Sadhanas are pretty specific in terms of meditation time (time of day - for this one it is best to do sometime between 4am - 7am, and continue at the same time every morning...but is also ok to do whenever you wake up), length of meditation (3 - 22 minutes), eyes open vs. closed (open), breathing tecniques (in through the nose, out thorugh the mouth, then in through the mouth, out through the nose), asanas (sitting positions), mudras (hand positions) and mantras (vocal chants). I know, I know, this all may seem a *little* bit overwhelming at first (it did to me, anyway), but after a few days it all, somehow, becomes completely second nature.
I've searched the web for instructions on the particular Sadhana I did (Self Acceptance), and found very little in the way of descriptive stuffs and photos (probably because it has another official name I'm not aware of...) So! I scanned in the instructional sheet we were given at Kundalini House and made a little step by step photo log of each of the different positions and...well, steps. (be sure to read the captions on each of the photos!)
There are two mantras used in this meditation: The Adi Mantra: "Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo" to be repeated 3 times aloud prior to the meditation (and continued in your mind silently during the meditation to keep focus, if you wish) and "Sat Nam" to be spoken (chanted) aloud at the conclusion of your meditation. Here's link to an mp3 of the Adi Mantra if you want to hear how it goes...but, honestly, don't worry too much about getting the pitch or timing exactly right. (I was usually off key when I did it!)
The goal is really just to vocalize it in your own way and use it as a means to focus.
And, I couldn't find a sound file of the "Sat Nam" chant, but here is a description it.
Here's another good description of the two mantras.
I've also found the Kundalini Yoga website to be an excellent source for further (and more descriptive) information.
I hope your experience is as relaxing, revealing, and enlightening as mine was! (I'm already eager to start another one!)
Much love, light and happiness sent your way.