Tips to Improve Concentration During Meditation

By Meditationhow to, improve concentration, meditation, Meditation in Rishikesh

Firstly, the practice of asanas is a vital tip to improve concentration during meditation. In fact in the early days, āsanas were assumed precisely to aid the yogi in his practice of meditation. This is why āsanas were not meant to be stressful or strain the body. Rather, it is meant as a tool for the yogi so that she/he could meditate in a comfortable seated posture.

Patañjali mentions that “sthirasukham āsanam.” (Posture is that which is firm and pleasant) Āsanas were not really the end goal in and of themselves. Rather, they were a means for the yogi to achieve a meditative state. Today, due to mechanisation, the average person is not nearly as flexible or strong as before. The practice of āsanas prepares the muscles, enhances our physical strength and increases our stamina. We need this strength to sit with our spine erect during meditation. If not, the body might untowardly become the object of focus.

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Secondly, prayer before meditation helps to calm the mind and remove the ego that “I am the doer.” It allows for feelings of surrender, and therefore, composure. This is why one of the niyamas, is Īśvarapranidhāna (Contemplation on the Supreme being).

I have also experienced that whenever I force myself to meditate or forcibly cancel out distractions, they continue to haunt me even more. So I try to assume the role of a watchman, observing thoughts as they come and go. Whenever I am kind to myself, I find that meditation seems more natural and less of a mundane practice.

It also depends on the time of the day. The best time for me to meditate is when everyone else is asleep. The mind is 100-percent sure that I would not need to respond to anyone in the house. I have also experienced a heightened level of tranquillity when I tried to meditate in the British countryside.  However, of course, the goal is to achieve that meditative state of mind throughout the day, no matter the circumstance.

A tip that works for me is linking soham (masculine) /sāham (feminine) recitation along with the breath. So while inhaling, I mentally recite “So/Sā” and while exhaling, mentally reciting “ham.” Inhaling and exhaling slowly and deliberately, until the breathing and the awareness grow into an unnoticed process.

However, when the mind is especially haywire, I find even that quite challenging. So Mantra meditation is helpful. Certain mantras like the Gayatri mantra are especially potent as they produce vibrations that calm the mind and turn it inward.