I have written about doing Dhyan as the first step towards self-realization or Moksh. I have put up a small 10min audio on youtube here. However it seems that I will have to write a proper post on it detailing the process. So here goes this technical jargon heavy post.
Dhyan is not ‘meditation’ , it manipulates the movement of pran/vital energy in your body, specifically it manipulates the pran and the apan.
There are 2 steps in Dhyan, first is more of a Pranayam phase and the second is the actual Dhyan. Dhyan is a Sanskrit word so has lots of meanings but at the simplest it means focus.
The physical requirements will be
- A silent dark room, no sound and no light, pitch dark. In modern cities it may not be possible, so manage the best you can with curtains and closing the windows etc. Do not use ear-plugs or eye masks. You should be alone in the room.
- Your asan, this is a four layered mat, have written about it in detail in this post. This asan is the foundation of all your spiritual practice and energy work. As the 4-layered mat may not be available at least use a wool blanket with a piece of silk. It should be about 3ft X 5ft in size. It should be set up facing the east or north east or north.
Your preparation will be to get ready by going to the toilet, having a bath/washing hands, legs, face/sprinkling Ganga-jal on yourself as per what is available. Then wear loose fitting cotton clothes. Men should ideally wear a dhoti and women a sari, but it may be too much. So men can tie a cotton lungi around their waist and women can use a light coloured loose cotton nightie (but then don’t wear this for sleeping!). You should be barelegged, no socks/shoes. Do not eat a heavy meal for about 2hrs before Dhyan else your energies will be engaged in digestion and you will derive limited benefit. A small snack or tea is ok.
- Now sit on your Asan with all your body parts/dress tucked inside the mat.
- Fold your legs in the Padmasan or Siddhasan (or if cannot do either then at least Ardhpadmasan). You need to perfect only one of these yogic postures. You are doing Sadhana/spiritual exercise not physical exercise.
- Your hands should either be in the Gnyan mudra or the Bhairav Mudra.
Bhairav Mudra – right palm on left
- Now first put your hands in Namaskar position and think of your Guru or favourite deity. Request help and guidance.
- Recite Om aloud, three or more times as you feel. The sound should come from your belly and resonate inside your body. Drag the ‘mmm’ part of Om.
- Now stretch your body in the Mahamudra. First stretch out the right leg, fold the left leg inwards, with your left heel touching the joint of your legs and inhale. Bend down in the Mahamudra posture and count to 12. Straighten up and exhale. Then similarly stretch out your left leg, fold in your right leg and inhale, bend down and count to 12, straighten your back and exhale. Repeat this three times for each leg. Remember while doing the Mahamudra, your legs should not stretch outside the mat/asan. Thats why you need a 5ftX3ft asan.
- Now settle back in your chosen yogasan posture and set your hands in your chosen mudra.
- (If you can do the Mool Bandh, start doing it now onwards, it is optional but if you can do it, it would help. I have written a detailed post on all the five Mudra/Bandha mentioned in this post, do read it)
- Your neck should be very slightly lowered. (The young woman in the Padmansan posture above is doing it perfectly, try to copy her neck angle. This is called the Jalandhar Mudra. There are some sites/images where they show the neck literally drooping, that is incorrect.)
- Deep breathe a few times, and relax. Remember when you breathe in and out your abdomen should also move not just your chest.
- Now breathe in, focus your attention on your (greenish colored) Anahnata chakra/energy vertex in the center of your chest, and breathe out in a sharp exhale. This fixes your Dhyan posture in the energy sense.
- (If you know how to do the Khechari mudra, start doing it now onwards. It is optional, but would help if you can do it.)
- Now focus your complete attention on the Third eye chakra, Ajnya chakra, in the center of your eyebrows. You will now be focussing your entire concentration here, do not waver from this point.
- Now breathe in and in your mind recite the sound ‘so’. Breathe out and in your mind recite the sound ‘hum’. This is one set of ‘so-hum‘. This set will be recited in your mind 108 times on 108 breaths.
- (You can also mentally recite one single ‘Om’ as you breathe in and one single ‘Om’ as your breathe out.)
- (Or you can mentally recite ‘ham’ as you breathe out and ‘sa’ as you breathe in.
- (There are just these 3 options Soham, Om or Hamsa, as the Dhyan mantra. These are the safest, mildest and yet the most powerful.) (Do read these posts on Soham for details.)
- To keep count of the mantra, you can use a Jaap-mala of Rudraksh. But better would be to learn to count on your fingers.
- This is how you count on your fingers. Refer to the diagram above. When you do your first ‘so-hum’ set, you will have your left thumb placed on the ‘1’ position and your right thumb placed on the “1-10′ position. When you do your second repetition, your left thumb will move to ‘2’, right thumb will remain steady on ‘1-10’. Thus you will count to 10. When you have to count to 11, your left thumb will touch ‘1’ again and your right thumb will move and touch ’11-20′. So you count the ‘units’ with your left thumb and the ‘tens’ with your right. So when you reach 100, your left thumb will be on ’10’ and the right thumb on ’90-100′. Now shift the right thumb to ‘gnyan mudra’ by touching it to ’70-80′ again. And continue counting 8 more ‘so-hum’ with your left thumb. You will complete 108 with the left thumb also coming into gnyan mudra at ‘8’. Thus you have counted 108 breaths – 108 ‘so-hum’ and your pranayam phase is complete. (Initially you might finish this phase in 20 mins, it will later extend and will keep on extending, till you will sit for hours!)
- After the pranayam phase, you are supposed to do the Yoni mudra. (Do it only if you have been taught by a competent Guru). However just in brief to generate interest, first inhale then shut both your ears tight with both your thumbs tightly, place your little fingers below the lips, ring fingers above the lips, close both nostrils with your middle fingers tightly and press the index fingers to the point slightly above where the inner edge of your eyes meets the nose. You have inhaled and you are retaining breath. Start retaining breath for 12 counts to begin with. You might see darkness, colored clouds, burst of light at your third eye or whatever it is. Observe it maximum to the count of 20 no more. Take away your hands, keep them in their mudra position again, exhale and continue. (Yonimudra is to be done ONLY once a day, no more. If you sit for Dhyan 3 times a day do the Yonimudra only once not thrice. In my opinion, this is the most dangerous mudra in all of Yog, so be very very careful doing it)
- After you finish the pranayam phase (and yonimudra if applicable), you will now continue sitting in this pose and attitude of ‘attentive relaxation’ (no other way to describe it!) for some time till you feel your body getting stiff. During this phase you will not recite any mantra in your mind or think of anything. Try to be blank as possible concentrating at your third eye.
- Then you should perform the Mahamudra again, right leg stretched out first, stretching your back for 12 counts, then with the left leg stretched out. 3 sets.
- After you finish the Mahamudra, again sit in relaxed attention for as long as you can. Do not recite any mantras in your mind and do not think of anything, focus on your third eye.
- When you feel that it is time, you will open your eyes, think of your Guru/favourite deity, feel gratefulness and love for the Parabrahma (your own higher self) and slowly get up. (Release your Khecharimudra and Moolbandh if you have been doing them.)
- Do not eat anything heavy for 30 mins at least after this and do not go to sleep for 30mins after this either.
This was just the bare-bones on how to actually do the Dhyan. There are several points here where you move the energy/pran in specific ways. I have described it a bit in the audio, may write on it in a later post.