RadiYoga Mini Series- Meditation on the Senses (#11 – 17)

RadiYoga Mini Series- Meditation on the Senses (#11 – 17)

Introduction to Senses

This is a great time to meditate on the senses, as to more fully experience the changing of the seasons. For the next 5 episodes, we will focus on each of the 5 senses: Smell, Sight, Taste, Sound, and Touch

Warm up Meditation – Find a comfortable seat in a quiet place. Take deep, full breaths as you:

  1. Rub palms together briskly to create heat from friction, then pause and notice the internal feeling of your hands – heat, pulsating, etc.
  2. Rub palms in a similar manner, then place palms over the eyes. Feel the darkness of your sight, both with your eyes closed and open (while covered my hands). Drop your hands away, and experience the return of vision and light.
  3. Rub palms again, this time placing them over your ears. Take deep, ocean-sounding breaths, then continue as you take your hands away from your ears.

Notice the difference in your thoughts or focus as you accomplish this warm up. Centering in on simple factors of your experience to examine them (not judge them) is the first step of meditation!

 

Sense of Smell

Collect one or more objects that has a specific and simple scent. (Some examples: a citrus fruit, candle, spices, etc.) Alternatively, we can do this on a subtle level by recalling a scent in your imagination.

A. Take a deep full breath, either inhaling the aroma of your object or imagining doing so. What is the impression that the scent creates within your body and mind?

B. Smell and Taste are very interrelated – do you experience an aspect of taste upon smelling your object?

C. Think of an unpleasant smell (or go ahead and smell one if its available). Notice the aversion towards the smell and how your body may automatically withdraw from the experience (Example: how you may automatically hold or slow the breath while walking by livestock cages or when going into a Port-a-Potty.

 

Sense of Taste

We can categorize tastes into six categories: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent (Spicy), Bitter, Astringent (drying). Putrid is the seventh category, applied to anything that is inedible or poisonous, and has an objectively disgusting taste.

Identify a favorite food from each of these categories. Are there also foods that you have aversions to within each of these categories? Notice your biases and how they may affect your response to meditating on a specific taste.

In Ayurvedic medicine and yogic practice, these taste categories are used to indicate qualities of the ingredients. The more flavor profiles an herb has, the more potent a medicine is considered. For instance, garlic, which has five flavor profiles, is used for many different Ayurvedic cures!

 

Sense of Sight

Warm up Exercises

A. Rub hands together creating heat through friction. Place your hands over the eyes, release.

B. Blink the eyes at a faster pace than usual, then relax.

C. Squeeze eyelids tightly closed

D. Looking up and down, side to side – to stretch the ocular muscles.

E. Look all around in a circle, as if looking at the number of a clock.

Meditation:

Find an object to use as your focal point. While maintaining a strong gaze on your object, relax the rest of your field of vision. After a few minutes of holding this gentle focus while breathing deeply, close your eyes and notice the visual imprint left on the ocular nerve. Think about  how watching and observing in your everyday life becomes naturally meditative.

 

Sense of Touch

Touch is an important way we explore the world as we develop from babies. Hands are generally a big part of this process. We use the term “sense of touch” to refer to the body sensation as it comes into contact with other things, but we also want to think about the internal experience. Proprioception is the ability to feel the orientation of your body parts to one another without external information (like a mirror) and is a very important aspect of any yoga or physical discipline.

A. Rub your hands together. Notice how the friction increases and creates heat between your hands.

B. Place over cheeks and experience the warmth transferring to your face.

C. Give yourself a little massage by rubbing your face and temples with your fingertips in a pitter-patter action. Move this all around, making your way to the back of you neck.

D. Release the movement, letting your hands fall to your lap, palms facing up. Take a quiet moment to experience the areas of your body that are in contact with the floor, chair, and other parts of the body. What is the quality of feeling where you are simply in contact with the air?

E. This can be practiced in a seated position or standing: Sit/Stand up straight and tall. Slowly begin to transfer weight into one side of your body for a small balance. Notice any differences between sides as you move.

F. Rub hands to create heat and place over your eyes. Take a few breaths to synthesize the findings of your practice above, then continue with the rest of your day!

 

Sense of Sound

 

Sound is the most subtle of our senses. As it is a vibration energy, your entire body, not just your ears and brain, can sense aspects of sound.

A. Rub hands together briskly, this time taking note of the sound that actions makes.

B. Place hands over ears and experiement with partially and completely uncovering your ear while listening to the change in sound that creates. Can you hear your stomach? Can you hear your heartbeat.

C. Listen to the sounds on the recording above and notice how the different qualities of sound may have different effects on you.

 

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