On the Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is a powerful mental and nervine tonic. The holy vibrations penetrate all the cells of the body and cure the diseases of the body. The powerful, soothing waves that arise during meditation exercise a benign influence on the mind, nerves, organs and cells of the body. The divine energy freely flows like the flow of oil from one vessel to the other, from the feet of the all-pervading Lord, to the different parts of the body of the aspirant. Through regular practice of meditation build around yourself a strong fortress of protection against the evil forces of the ignorant world and robe yourself with a magnetic aura. ~ Swami Sivananda

Swami Vishnu-devananda meditating.

Early Morning Yogi

The yogic texts and advanced yogic students all tell us that the best time to practice yoga is in the early morning hours – Brahmamuhurta, the hours between 4 and 6 am. The reason for this is that the air and thought world are very still allowing your mind to concentrate much better.

I usually do this not only because it’s better, but also from necessity – trying to finish yoga before taking the kids to school. It has helped a lot over the years to have a regular practice, the most important aspect of a personal yoga program if you want to get good results. Practicing in the early morning rather than later in the day seems to provide a better burst of energy throughout the whole day as well.

This morning I decided to take you with me on my early morning yoga practice.

I got started a bit later than usual this morning for various reasons and the sun was already starting to come up. I used a flash on this picture of the flowers along the patio next to where I did my morning meditation.

If you can do yoga outside it can help your practice a lot. The air is supercharged with prana, thick and full of life. I also like the layering of birdsong as the different species wake up to announce their arrival in the new day.

Here are the same flowers just before starting my asanas. In the center you can see a small bush of round yellow flowers. These marigolds came up spontaneously this year from either a sprout or seed when I planted the flowers around them 2 or 3 years ago, or from some a seed in some bird droppings. Anyway, I never planted the marigolds.

This is a close-up of one of the flowers. The bush is now in its second bloom.

This is special because as it turns out, yellow marigolds were the favorite flower of one of our gurus, Swami Vishnu-devananda:

In this picture he is doing a puja. I really like the picture because his face is beautiful, full of love and devotion. He looks like an angel. In fact, his name can be defined as angel (deva) of Lord Vishnu. Ananda means bliss. He is the “blissful angel of Lord Vishnu”. It is an inspiring picture. Notice the flowers.

Back to the early morning yoga …

Here is the sun now coming up behind some clouds as I was about to start asanas,

and the sky overhead as I lay in savasana.

It was shaping up to be a beautiful day in Austin.

10 minutes later it POURED rain.

I finished my yoga asanas and pranayama here in a different but still inspiring location.

Pictured left to right on the top row are Sankaracharya, Swami Sivananda, and Swami Vishnu-devananda.

Such is the life of an early morning yogi.