Cyclic Meditation

Here’s a technique to rid yourself of stress and enjoy a peaceful mind.

I learnt cyclic meditation in 2005 at Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation campus (Bangalore, India). Here I explain how to do this simple, yet effective, technique for relieving stress.

Meditation demands that a person’s mind be on a single track, on any single chosen task. But this doesn’t come easy to most people. Their minds are on a overdrive and they find their minds drifting. Others find themselves falling into a peaceful slumber. There is nothing inherently wrong in falling asleep, as the idea of meditation is to induce relaxation. But to derive full benefits from meditation, we have to perform the relaxation under the conscious control of mind. Cyclic Meditation seeks to invigorate the mind (and the body) by cyclically stimulating and calming it through yoga asanas interspersed with rhythmic breathing and relaxing in supine poses. This technique is based on a verse found in an ancient text called the Mandukya Upanisad – See References and Credits at the end). Essentially, it says “If the mind is lethargic – wake it up; if it is highly strung and distracted, calm it;, and if it is balanced – allow it to remain that way”.

In our everyday life, we relax our bodies unconsciously by stretching and yawning. Cyclic Meditation similarly relaxes our bodies, but does so through total body awareness and bestows a deep silence of mind, since we perform all movements, including breathing, consciously. I remember while doing Ardha Kati Chakrasana, an extremely simple exercise where we had to simply raise and stretch one arm and bend our bodies along with the extended hand at the waist, I would simply wish to drop dead. It used to be so tiring, yet so relaxing; and in the end we would be much calmer and ready to face the everyday grind. When a person with a hyperactive mind does the asanas, his mind becomes unidirectional and alert. The effect is due to the slow speed of doing the movements. We had to perform every movement very slowly and be fully tuned to the subtle changes occurring in the body as a result of the movement. It used to take an eternity to just to raise the hands; we had to pay attention to the tiniest of sensations occurring in the body, such as the rush of blood from the tips of the fingers towards the heart and the sensation of heaviness in the hands.

The technique also uses chanting the syllable “OM”. This sound is said to correspond to the original vibration that first arose at the time of creation. Of the three sounds in Om (AUM), the ‘A’ sound (”aa”) represents the waking, the “U” sound (”oo”) represents the dream state that lies between the waking and deep sleep states, and “M” sound (”mm”) represents the deep sleep state. Between two successive “OM”s, there is a brief period of silence, which represents the state of perfect bliss when the individual self recognizes its identity with the supreme.

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  1. Good.

  2. Uma. My finger slipped. I wasn’t finished. You are so educated in the matter you posted and I am not. That’s why I shall read it again. Om. (I joke around a lot but not now. The entire Eastern culture has me fascinated.) I know I still won’t fully understand it but I’ll be closer than I was. Thank you….again.

  3. Excellent article!!!!

  4. Ken, since you said you’ll come back, I am posting my reply here. (Most don’t ever revisit. Once a while is pain enough. You may joke as much as you like. Appreciated.)

    I know the article presumes you know what meditation is. And practice is the only true teacher. You may start off reading the following article:

    Hope it helps.

  5. MEDITATION IS simple concentration of minds’ swaying into the universe
    In multitude directions
    And makes one so full of confusion.

    Simply concentrate on one SLOKAS
    Or hymn
    Or statement
    \or Hindu mantra
    Or just a simple sentence
    Like OM, OM, OM
    And or any sentence one wants to coin.

    Keep repeating it till your thoughts are calmed,
    Cooled and collected
    Stray thoughts particularly in grief
    And official tension
    Get collected, concentrated
    Then you know all else is futile
    Life is just a flickering
    Candle flame

  6. An excellent article. Too much to take in all at once, so I will have to come back again and reread.

  7. Dear Uma, This is truly a very enlightening article on yoga. I am so happy to learn about cyclic meditation and even more so that Swami Vivekananda’s teachings are being put into practice to this date and campus’s all around the world are opening to teach yoga. Absolutely brilliant article and higly intellectual. Very well done! I love it 100%

  8. A very interesting and enlightening piece…well-researched and nicely presented.

  9. This is such a good piece packed with greatest information. These medications are good for a thorough relaxation. Thanks and have my liked it.

  10. Uma, you have a five star rating from me for this enlightening piece. Thanks for choosing the right style and appropriate pics to aid our understanding.

  11. Uma:

    This certainly seems to be a well researched article. I always knew there was more to meditation than just deep breathing but I had no idea it could be so involved. Well, I guess there’s no sense in doing something unless you do it right.

  12. this sounds wonderful. I would really enjoy learning how to do all the movements.

  13. Uma, thanks for enlightening by sharing your experience.

  14. An article from the true master(Guruji). Thank u.

  15. With relevant photos, this article is a complete ‘how to do’ about cyclic meditation. Certainly, I will try it…Thanks for sharing..

  16. Very nicely researched and presented. The photos are excellent too.

  17. A very nice and useful article.Thanks.

  18. Uma, this is a wonderful article! It’s well written and informative, and I love the choice of pictures.

  19. Uma, this is a wonderful article! It\’s well written and informative, and I love the choice of pictures.

  20. Hi.
    I have just realized your article.
    This is one my articles published in Healthmad.
    Have a nice time.

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