The Art of Visualization in Meditation Practice - Yoga Practice Blog

The Art of Visualization in Meditation Practice

 about visualization in meditation practiceBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP and Faye Martins

What is visualization in meditation practice? Yantra meditation practice is a well-known technique for visualizing a geometric painting or diagram in Yoga training. Yantra is a Sanskrit word that means: “instrument.”  The yantra is used to restrain the wandering mind (monkey mind). A yantra is a geometric design used as a meditation and visualization tool.


What is a Yantra?

The word yantra comes from the Sanskrit root yam, which means “to control or restrain.” Yantras can be made of copper, silver, or gold and are inscribed with sacred Sanskrit mantras. Yantras have been used for centuries to focus the mind during meditation. The geometric patterns of yantras are believed to help the meditator focus on the mantra and connect with the divine energy of the universe. Today, yantras are still used by many people as a way to focus the mind and deepen their meditation practice.

Value of Yantras

The Sri Yantra is just one example of a visualization tool for capturing the mind’s attention.  Graduates of Yoga teacher training should know the value of yantras and mandalas as valuable tools for meditation. For centuries the spiritual practice of meditation has been used to create inner peace and connect to a higher power.


Visual Memories

A publication by the Association for Psychological Science said there is reason to believe that meditation will improve the ability of the mind to retain visual memories for extended periods. If true, this might explain the power of visualization to achieve results through meditation. Under ordinary circumstances, visual images fade within seconds, but there have been reports of Buddhist Monks having enhanced imagery skills.

Ability to Recall

When three groups of Monks were observed during two different types of meditation and non-meditation, one group showed impressive improvement in the mental capacity to rotate a 3-D object visually and in the ability to recall the object visually. Although there were no long-lasting improvements in overall memory, the study did show that it is possible to access higher levels of visuospatial memory during some types of visual meditation.


Power of Imagination

Based on metaphysical beliefs made famous in books and movies – such as “The Secret” and “Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization” – the power to attract whatever one wants in life lies in using the power of the imagination to create mental images and positive affirmations. This technique has been used successfully, from relieving pain to attracting wealth. Still, it requires ridding the mind of the negative thoughts and worries that undermine success and contribute to health problems and underachievement. When it comes to improving our focus and concentration in meditation, visualization can be a powerful tool.

Guided Visualization in Meditation Practice

By picturing ourselves in a peaceful, relaxing setting – whether it’s a tranquil mountain lake or a beautiful garden – we can help to still the mind and bring about a calmer state of being. In addition to aiding in the development of focus, concentration and relaxation, visualization can also be used as a means of manifesting our desires. When we visualize something we want to experience in our lives – whether it’s success in our career, improved health or more loving relationships – we are putting into motion the Universe’s natural law of attraction. As we hold onto the vision of what we want with faith and gratitude, the Universe will conspire to help us make it a reality.


Creative Visualization

It has been said that as many as 90% of the complaints warrant a doctor’s visit could be partially alleviated by creative visualization. All actions – negative and positive – are processed by the mind, and pleasant thoughts relax the body by causing the brain to release endorphins or natural tranquilizers. It takes practice, but learning to meditate is one of the oldest ways to change one’s brain and, consequently, one’s life.

Journey of Visualization

Especially for the visually-oriented practitioner, creating a picture in mind may be easier than repeating a mantra or phrase. Fortunately, this can be done simply by sitting quietly and gazing at a yantra, imagining a peaceful place, or listening to one of the many guided meditations that take the listener on a quiet journey of visualization. Regardless of the modality, the art of visualizing results in meditation increases human potential and well-being.


What About Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra can be practiced during visualization in meditation practice. When we meditate, we are training our minds to focus and bring our attention to a single point. This could be our breath, a mantra, or a visual image. Over time, with regular practice, our ability to focus and concentrate improves. The same is true for visualization. When we focus on a visual image, we train our minds to concentrate. And like meditation, the more we practice visualization, the better we get at it.

A Series of Visualizations

Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation that uses visualizations to relax the body and mind.  These could include picturing yourself in a peaceful setting, such as a meadow or beach, or imagining your body filled with light. While Yoga Nidra can be used as a standalone relaxation technique, it can also be integrated into your meditation practice. For example, if you are having trouble concentrating during meditation, you could use Yoga Nidra to help you relax and visualize your desired outcome.

Using Sleep as a Tool

The act of visualization in meditation during sleep can be a powerful tool to promote peace and relaxation. When we focus our attention on a certain image or scene, it can help to still the mind and body and allow us to drift off into a restful sleep. There are many different ways to visualize during meditation. You can imagine yourself in a peaceful setting, such as a beach or forest.

Optional Techniques

Alternatively, you can focus on a particular object, such as a candle flame or crystal. Whatever image you choose, make sure it is something that makes you feel calm and relaxed. If you find it difficult to visualize during meditation, try listening to guided visualization exercises or audio recordings. These can be helpful in providing you with ideas and images to focus on.


Causing Positive Change

When we focus on the positive aspects of our lives through visualization in meditation, we open our minds to new possibilities and opportunities. Firstly, our brainwaves change, and we become more receptive to change. Secondly, a visualization is a powerful tool that can help us to manifest our desires. Finally, it allows us to see ourselves achieving our goals, and it gives us the motivation to take the necessary steps to make them a reality.

Training the Mind

We meditate on positive visualizations while we program our minds for success. We are planting the seeds of change, and with consistent practice, we will reap the rewards. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, start by visualizing it in meditation. See yourself as the person you want to be, and watch as your life transforms.


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