yoga teacher trainingBy Faye Martins

What are the advantages of guided meditation? Usually, the mind is an obstacle to meditation. There are various techniques to render it speechless or methods of observing the constant stream of noise it likes to generate. Sometimes the mind seems like an entity all to itself, an enemy that dwells within one’s own skin.

However, let us not forget that the true purpose of the mind is to serve its master, the true self. The mind is a tool that can be used to achieve many tasks. The mind may even be used as a pathway for meditation. One of the many meditation methods is called guided meditation.  Guided meditation sessions often take place at the end of a Yoga class.

The power of the human imagination is vast and harnessing this powerful force is what makes guided meditation so effective. The individual envisions predefined scenarios as instructed and these mental images produce a deeply meditative state. Since the eyes are closed, the prescribed visualizations must either be recalled from memory or heard either through an instructor or a recording; reading is not an option.

One may record themselves beforehand and listen to the recording or they may ask a friend to recite it for them since some people find the sound of their own voice distracting during guided meditation. Whatever method works best for an individual is the best path for them.

It has been stated that the non-conscious mind cannot distinguish between fact, or fiction; everything it is presented with is accepted as fact. This is why we are afraid during a scary movie or why we cry at the end of a tear-jerker. The conscious mind knows that a movie is not real, but to the non-conscious mind it is. For that level of the mind, it did happen. The same can be said for our imaginings.  The things we dream up in the realms of the mind often have a physiological impact on our systems. When we worry our the heart rate goes up, the palms start to sweat, and the breathing grows shallow, fast, or both.

This powerful aspect of the mind is typically used passively and never intentionally, which is a great waste of potential. With guided meditation, the non-conscious mind becomes a great tool for profound inner transformation.

Before entering the guided meditation, comfort should be considered. Wear loose fitting clothing and get the body into a position that will remain comfortable for the long haul. Get settled in the chosen position and then wait a minute or two. If further shifting around is needed, do so now. Once the body is taken care of, the meditation can begin.

There are a variety of different guided techniques out there to choose from and each has its own benefits. Pure light guided meditation involves vividly imagining light surrounding and being absorbed into the body; this is cleansing and purifying as it dissolves all impurities and emotional hurts found within. Another example of a guided session is imagining becoming one with a tree, right down to the roughness of the bark and the feel of the earth around the roots of the tree. This is a grounding meditation.

There are a myriad of guided meditation scenarios to choose from, each yielding different effects. The key is to choose what you as an individual are drawn to based on your own unique needs.  If you decide you want a live guide, you can always attend a Yoga session, which has a meditation session as part of the class.

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