Flexibility in Your Practice Sequence
- by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
Adapt your practices
to your own predispositions, needs,
and comfortable capacity.
Students of Yoga Meditation have different inclinations towards the practice stages of preparation, hatha yoga or stretches, relaxation, breathing, and meditation. Some may like to spend a long time with the body, while others prefer breathing exercises, and still others seek the stillness of meditation. Each of these stages work together, one leading into the next. There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all formula in Yoga Meditation. It is best to spend the amount of time with each stage that is just right for you.
Best time for practice
Meditation can be done at any time of night or day, but traditionally, the "best" times, when the circumstances are most conducive to Yoga Meditation, are early mornings or late evenings, when the environment begins to "quiet down" and you are not likely to be interrupted by others.
How long to practice
At first, try to select one or two brief periods (5-15) minutes when you can meditate without inconveniencing others, being disturbed, ignoring you duties or feeling rushed or preoccupied by other tasks. Developing regularity is of greatest importance. The length of the practice naturally expands over time.
Matching your own schedule
If you rise a little earlier in the morning or meditate just prior to bed at night, you may find it most easily matches your routine. Some people seem to be naturally more fresh and alert in the morning, or in the evening. That may be your own best time to meditate. However, your schedule and your personal responsibilities may also have a great impact on when you meditate.
If you want Self-realization sooner
Just as one eats morning, noon, afternoon and night, so also it is best to meditate four times a day if one wants to realize truth quickly. When one meditates one will develop divine virtues, and a spiritual path is constructed in the mind. If one does not practice regularly and becomes lax, the spiritual path will be washed away by a flood of impure thoughts. Regularity in meditation is extremely important.