The meditation technique of Paramhansa Yogananda is the one that I found to be the most effective for bringing me to a deep feeling of peace and calm focus. Yogananda is author of the best-selling spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi.
The name of this technique is Hong-Sau. “Hong” rhymes with “song” and “sau” is pronounced “saw.” Hong-Sau is a mantra used to quiet the mind and spiritualize the individual efforts of the meditator. Most meditation techniques from India use a mantra to help the meditator spiritually on a vibrational level, as well as to help the mind focus its attention on something so it is not to left to wander.
To begin meditation, first sit with your spine straight and away from the back of the chair, eyes closed, and slightly tilt your hips forward so that your knees are slightly lower than your hips. (If your legs are longer, you may need to place a pillow or folded blanket on the chair to have this alignment.) Bring your hands to rest on the juncture between the hips and thighs, so that your shoulders are brought back, taking the tension off of the shoulders and neck. Most importantly, find a position where you can relax comfortably.
Now relax the body by tensing all the muscles and taking a double inhale breath and then relax all the muscles on a double exhale breath. Repeat this as many times as you need to, focusing especially on the tension in your shoulders and neck or wherever you carry tension most often. Tense these parts of your body until you feel a vibration of energy, and then completely relax them. (To see more about the tension and relaxation exercises you may be interested in Paramhansa Yogananda’s Energization Exercises.)
Begin your meditation by focusing your attention at the point between the eyebrows. You may first want to find this point by holding your arm out in front of you with your hand in the “thumbs up” position. Now raise your thumb until it is about level with the top of your head. Notice the position of your eyes here and try to re-position them in this way when closed.
Now, with a sense of deep calm, begin to watch the flow of your breath—without controlling it. Watch it enter and exit your body. Practice this for a few breaths, until you see that you are not controlling the flow of respiration. Then begin to add the mantra: as you inhale, mentally chant the word, “Hong,” and as you exhale, mentally chant the word, “Sau.”
Remember to simply watch the breath, chanting the words slightly after your respiration if you need help simply observing the flow. If you find that you need additional help with concentration on the breath, you may add the movement of your right index finger: with the inhalation, curl your finger inward, and with the exhalation, let your finger go straight. But don’t become tense as you try to concentrate, just keep a sense of relaxed focus.
You may begin practicing the Hong-Sau technique for 10 minutes, and gradually increase the amount of time each day. The longer your practice, the better, as you will find with more time you are able to go more deeply into relaxation.
And remember, you may practice this meditation technique anytime, anywhere– while standing in line, while riding in a car, or as you lay in bed at night to help you fall asleep. The purpose of it is to help you find an inner sense of peace and calmness in your meditation, that you can bring with you into the rest of your day. This practice can be applied to all different types of life situations, like having more patience and self-control.
Then just remember to keep practicing, making it a part of your daily routine. The more you practice, the better!
Hear a personal story of how meditation has helped in daily life:
“I’ve never been, just, so happy on the inside. Meditating daily has made me find what it was I was really searching for.”