Meditation yields so many benefits once you make a true practice of it. However, it involves releasing the mental chatter and being still, two very difficult things for Vatas to do. Even Pittas and Kaphas have trouble sitting still at certain times.
So what do you do if you’ve tried to meditate and find it difficult?
In truth, meditation is beneficial even when you don’t think it is. The effort itself is a worthy pursuit, and eventually it becomes easier. By witnessing your inner world and bringing awareness to your thoughts, no matter how random or continuous, you are expanding your consciousness. So don’t fret at what may feel like wasted effort. The Chopra Center teaches that you may experience any of four things during meditation, and all of them are worthwhile. You will either:
- Repeat the Mantra
- Fall Asleep
- Wander Through Your Thoughts
- Or “Fall in the Gap”
Here are some meditation tools that can help the busy-brained Vata.
YantraA Yantra is a visual pattern used to alter your mind state and benefit your consciousness. These repetitive tapestries have been used for centuries as a visual means of tapping into higher consciousness. The most famous of these is the Sri Yantra, which is meant to be a visual representation of the universal sound “Aum.” There are different patterns each producing their own desired effect. Particularly used in the wisdom traditions of the East, these patterns are easily accessible to those who don’t find simply closing their eyes effective.
In order to use a Yantra for meditation you just stare blankly at the Bindu, or dot in the middle, and relax your vision. As your mind and eyes relax in this staring action, your consciousness becomes bathed in the stimulation of shifting patterns and shapes. The geometric shapes in a Yantra are intended to convey certain beneficial messages to your brain. By staring blankly into the pattern, your mind relaxes and silent peace can be achieved. As a Vata, you probably daydream or even zone out during certain times of the day. Try staring at a Yantra and let your naturally wandering mind bring you back home to your inner stillness.
Meditative Music or SoundsThere is an array of meditative music and nature sounds that can be found on the market these days. Often used as a sleep aid, these sounds can help calm the Vata mind. Specifically nature sounds are effective in helping you find your center. If you’re someone who has a hard time sitting still, try filling the silence with beautiful relaxing sounds. Several different sounds can be used to aid in meditation such as chimes, chants, instrumentals, and nature. Explore these options and find one that works best for you. Any sound that puts you in a relaxed mood is good. The main goal is to center yourself by getting your wandering mind to relax.
ColoringYes, you read that right, coloring! Just as this activity may have calmed you as a child, it can still help you as an adult. Coloring is especially helpful when you can pair it with some of these other suggestions. For example, you could color a Yantra, or even better, color a Yantra while listening to a nature soundtrack. You can color pictures that have some significance to you, but choose images that elicit calm and peace. In general, the more detailed the picture the better. This allows your mind to get lost in what you’re doing. You may also benefit by choosing Vata-pacifying pastels or earth tones.
Spend Silent Time in NatureIn general, you should spend as much time in nature as possible. So many benefits come from making a regular practice of being out in the natural world. When it comes to meditation, there’s really no better place. Even if you struggle with closing your eyes and stilling your thoughts with a mantra, you can use some quiet time in nature to help bring yourself to a place of peace.
Find a favorite spot, maybe near water or in an open field, or even in dense forest. If you sit still and observe, you may not need to close your eyes at all. Just be silent and experience your surroundings. This has a very calming therapeutic effect on the mind and spirit. Appreciating the beauty of creation is in effect its own form of meditation. For those whose minds typically run wild, being IN the wild as a silent observer can counteract this tendency.
ChantingChanting has been used since ancient times as a means of tuning into our higher selves. For some, the overactive Vata mind that keeps one from reaching their inner stillness can be quieted with sound. Similar to how you use a mantra in silence, you can chant a mantra or primordial sound out loud. By repeating the chant numerous times, you will eventually zone out. The repetition, much like routine within your lifestyle, can be very effective in balancing Vata. Once you become aware that you’re zoning out, that’s a good time to stop and sit in silence, allowing your mind to be washed in the calm.
Explore a variety of chants to find the best ones for you. Some people choose Sanskrit terms, while others use affirmations, or simply words that they wish to encourage in their consciousness. Whatever your choice, keep it light; there’s no need to place too much thought into it. Remember the chant is not the focus, so much as the place of stillness that you’re trying to reach.
With enough practice and experimentation, you too can become a powerful meditator and bring balance into your life. Don’t fight your Vata tendencies, rather use them to your advantage. Meditation is an act of letting go. Try these techniques to keep yourself from engaging those wandering thoughts and you may be amazed at the ease with which you will begin to center and find your inner stillness.