Modern life is a challenge. Meditation could help.
A simple form of Yoga is available in Hinckley and Leicester, which is often presented as a system of Meditation.
This Yoga awakens and encourages a subtle inner energy, more accurately an inner consciousness. For most people, the energy has been dormant since they were born. In some people, the energy is already awakened but it has not become strong or very active and so it does not create clear sensations in the central nervous system.
[ Jacob's Ladder by William Blake. There is also a larger version of the image. ]
Meditation is not an activity to be performed. Rather, it is a state, which most people can achieve. For some time you become relaxed and alert but without any thoughts, or with very few.
True Meditation is natural and the body, brain and nervous system are designed for it to occur. Living processes all have a mechanism. A structure exists and a process of change is associated with it. William Blake wrote: "Man is born like a garden ready planted and sown."
So, there is no need to stand on your head, or to live in a cave, or to pay money to any so-called expert or Guru. You did not pay anything to become a human being. The amoeba did not have a bank account and fish became reptiles without establishing a business plan.
Our teaching is adjusted to the needs of the individuals in a group and is not a rigid programme or a procedure which could be learnt from a written page. It depends on the characteristics of the individuals and their experiences. The emphasis is on using practical techniques and providing a clear understanding of various subtle processes.
What is Yoga?
Yoga has changed a lot over thousands of years. Most people in the West understand the term Yoga to denote a set of postures and body movements, practised on the floor, in loose clothing. Also there are some related techniques and lifestyle approaches, such as breathing exercises, recommendations for diet, and philosophical understandings, etc.
In the distant past, many fewer physical exercises were used and they were only a small part of the broad discipline of Yoga. These exercises were not regarded as the central feature and they were not known simply as Yoga. That is a modern development.
The British Wheel of Yoga
This is a long established organisation for Yoga teachers, committed to promoting a greater understanding of Yoga and its safe practice through experience, education, study and training. The FAQs on its website cover many points. Here are a few [ June 2017 ]:
"At its simplest, yoga is an efficient, safe and controlled method of exercise... As physical well-being and bodily awareness improve, students develop deeper breathing and an ability to relax more easily. Many also experience an increase in energy levels, greater mental clarity and a general feeling of calmness and control... Yoga gives us the space to take the awareness inwards bringing the body, mind and spirit into harmony... BWY teachers do underpin yoga practice with philosophy... The term 'Hatha Yoga' covers all types of physical yoga. Placing an emphasis on postures with breathing and relaxation, it's suitable for all ages and levels of ability, making it ideal for beginners. Classes that are described as 'Hatha' tend to involve slow-paced stretching with some simple breathing exercises and meditation."
There is a reference above to a harmony of body, mind and spirit but these are all parts of the individual. The British Wheel of Yoga is not emphasising the scope to achieve any connection to something external, whether you regard that something as mankind, or as nature, or as God.
Our own focus is more spiritual and not much interested in physical exercises. If we do adopt any posture or movement, it will be something straightforward, which we can do while sitting on a chair. We do wish to develop internal harmony. We also seek to develop external connections and there is an inbuilt mechanism for achieving that. It works easily for most people. Our inner being is strengthened and our experience of life should improve.
"At the stage of human awareness, our attention is outside, outside in various things. Now where should our attention go? To evolve for what? To achieve what? Firstly, our attention has to go towards our spirit, towards spiritual understanding. This is one thing that has to happen to human beings, to begin with. Otherwise our attention is outside. We are worried about money, worried about power, worried about this, worried about that, in competition and all the things that are going on.
But if your attention is turned, somehow, towards your spirit, then what happens to you is that you become the power of the spirit. And the power of the spirit is the highest power that you could think of. First of all, spirit is the one that loves, loves without asking for anything, without expecting anything, just loves. It's an unconditional type of a personality, which just emits love...
Even in political endeavours or your economic endeavours, in any endeavour, what happens is that your attention is outside. So you go into competition, you go into this thing. You go on becoming very competent and then suddenly find another problem coming up. There are so many struggles when your attention is outside because in attention outside there is no purity."
[ From a speech by our teacher, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, March 1998. Image of Shri Mataji. ]