Are you curious to explore the fascinating style of Vedic meditation? If you’ve been feeling called to learn more about this mantra-based meditation, this is for you. Read on as we explore the history, how-tos, and why people love this captivating practice!
With so many different styles of meditation out there, it’s only natural to want to experiment with different meditation techniques before you find which one works for you.
As a certified yoga teacher, I have studied various ways people meditate, and this is a huge area of interest and passion for me.
Why is Vedic meditation so special, you ask?! Well, keep reading to learn all about this ancient meditation that can be easily incorporated into our busy modern lives and the mantras behind it.
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What is Vedic meditation?
Vedic meditation is known to be a simple and natural technique. This ancient mantra meditation is similar to transcendental meditation. The latter is basically considered one of the branded forms of it. Vedic meditation is done by repeating a mantra mentally, in your mind, or out loud. The mantra serves as a vessel for the mind to travel to a quieter place within.
Experienced meditators report that what’s special about this type of meditation is that it’s effortless yet offers a deep and profound experience in a short amount of time.
For most other meditation techniques, like many Buddhist styles of meditation, you need a quiet place. To meditate using this technique, this is not the case. You can do it anywhere, as long as you can sit still and keep your eyes closed. People even do Vedic meditation on public transport, for example.
Interestingly, the mantra being meditated on has no meaning. It works because of its vibrational sound quality. The sound of the mantra enters the mind and cuts through its superficial layers to reach deeper levels of our being.
Because Vedic meditators get a personalized mantra to meditate on from their meditation teacher, they are naturally drawn to the sound of it. It resonates with them based on its personalized nature. All other thoughts and worries disappear when people are absorbed in the mantra.
As the students progress, they feel peace, bliss, and pure consciousness.
The history of this ancient form of meditation
Vedic meditation is one of the first meditation techniques ever developed. It is one of the most ancient techniques of meditation that originated from 5,000-year-old ancient texts known as the Vedas. Ayurvedic medicine, Indian philosophy, and yoga all come from the Vedas. I loved studying the Vedas in yoga teacher training.
The philosophy of Vedic meditation teaches you that all you need to be happy is already within you.
According to the Vedas, being happy is your natural state, the most natural of all. It is your birthright.
10 Vedic meditation benefits
Practicing Vedic meditation offers numerous benefits if you commit to it as a regular practice.
10 benefits of Vedic meditation are:
- Activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Releases stress chemicals accumulated in your nervous system.
- Helps you gain deep rest & sleep better.
- Serves as a go-to remedy for anxiety.
- Sharpens your thinking & focus.
- Boosts your creativity.
- Helps you create space from your emotions so they do not rule your everyday life.
- Increases your energy levels.
- Helps you feel more content about life in general.
- Stimulates more compassion.
Vedic mantras come from Sanskrit. They are known as bija mantras, which means “seed”. Bija mantras, or the words within them, create certain vibrations in our body when they are produced. When we meditate on these words, the bija mantras activate the chakras.
Sanskrit is an extremely powerful language because it’s a vibrational language.
The most famous Vedic mantra
The most famous bija mantra is Aum or Om, the primordial sound representing the birth of everything. If you want to feel the vibration that bija mantras can create, try singing Om (Aum) for a few minutes. It is powerful whether sung alone or in a yoga class.
How you can learn Vedic meditation
Your trained Vedic meditation teacher will give you your vedic meditation mantras in a whisper. You’ll then repeat this mantra in silence for 20 minutes.
You should repeat the mantra 2 times a day, 20 minutes each. And that’s it. This is to be your daily practice. Pretty easy, right?
You will get a mantra based on certain factors such as your lifestyle, location, age, and energetic balance.
Just like there are doshas or psychophysiological types in Ayurveda, there are also different types of meditators. Your teacher knows what mantra will suit you best.
This is why it’s not advisable to pick a mantra on your own from a book, a video channel, or an online gathering. Traditionally, initiation into this type of meditation is exclusively done in person.
One important thing beginner Vedic meditators should note is that a Vedic mantra is given in secrecy, and you should not disclose it to anybody.
The 5 steps to meditate in the Vedic tradition
1. Pick a mantra that resonates with your thoughts
For practicing mantra meditation on your own, try some of the most famous bija mantras: OM, SO HUM, OM MANI PADME HUM. Alternatively, you can pick a word that has a meaning in your native language. For example, ’peace’, or ‘love’.
2. Find a quiet space all to yourself where you can be in a state of calm
Although this type of meditation can also be done in a crowded or noisy place, it’s best to find a quiet space if you're new to meditation.
Have a meditation cushion or a corner in a room ready. This space can serve as an anchor for your practice.
3. Take your meditative seat
To reap the full benefits of this meditation, you’ll want to be seated upright, ideally in a crossed-leg position, with your energy centers (chakras) aligned.
Your spine should be straight, with your arms falling down on your thighs. I imagine you’ve seen or tried this common meditation position before.
After taking a couple of breaths, take the time to feel and connect with your body. Scan your body from head to toe, toe to head. Do this for a couple of minutes before moving on to the mantra.
4. Begin repeating the mantra out loud
Notice what it feels like to say it, what physical sensations are in your throat or any other body part.
When you notice that your attention has drifted away from your meditation mantra, return to it.
Allow any thoughts to be, and just come back. This is the basis of any meditation practice: the act of coming back.
After a while, begin saying the mantra quietly and then repeat it mentally. You can repeat it faster or slower, whatever works for you.
5. End your Vedic practice
When your practice ends, let go of the mantra and bring your awareness back to your body.
Feel your body. Feel the space around the body, the front, the back, the left, and the right side. Notice how you feel, how you are. How is your body now? How is your mind? And how does your breath feel? When it’s time, end your practice with a few deep breaths.
Be patient with your Vedic meditation practice
If you are a beginner, the seated meditation position may be a bit challenging for you. In time, you’ll get used to it. Trust me.
When I was in my Vipassana silent meditation retreat, I spent the first 3 days in aching pain because I wasn’t used to meditating 10 hours a day sitting cross-legged with my spine erect. I was in agonizing pain!
But on the fourth day, something almost magical happened, the pain was gone. My body had gotten used to the new posture, and I could hold the position much easier.
So be patient with yourself.
Takeaway on Vedic meditation
If you still don’t have a set meditation or mindfulness practice or you wish to enliven your current one, this meditation technique might be the answer.
I hope you’ve gathered that learning Vedic meditation is easy and effortless. And with the many health benefits of Vedic meditation, like lower stress levels, higher mood, and more energy, there’s no reason not to try it. Enjoy!
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