The Art of Visualization in Meditation Practice

In Yogic circles, Yantra meditation is a well known technique for using visualization of a geometric painting or diagram. Yantra is a Sanskrit word, which means: "instrument." The Yantra is an instrument (tool), which is used for restraining the wandering mind (monkey mind). The Sri Yantra is just one example of a visualization tool for capturing the attention of the mind. Experienced Yoga teachers 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. Recently a publication by the Association for Psychological Science, said there is reason to believe that meditation will actually improve the ability of the mind to retain visual memories for extended periods of time. If true, this might explain the power of visualization to achieve results through meditation.

Under ordinary circumstances, visual images start to fade within seconds, but there have been reports of Buddhist Monks having enhanced imagery skills. 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 visually rotate a 3-D object and in the ability to recall the object visually. Although there were apparently 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.

Based on metaphysical beliefs made popular 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 being able to use the power of the imagination to create mental images and positive affirmations. This technique has been used successfully for everything from relieving pain to attracting wealth, but it requires ridding the mind of the negative thoughts and worry that undermine success and contribute to health problems and underachievement.

It has been said that, as many as 90% of the complaints that 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.

Especially for the visually-oriented practitioner, creating a picture in the mind may be easier than repeating a mantra or phrase. Fortunately, this can be done simply to sitting quietly and gazing at a Yantra, imagining a peaceful place, or by listening to one of the many guided meditations that takes 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.

© Copyright 2011 - Aura Wellness Center - Publications Division

Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, has written many books on the subject of Yoga. He is a co-owner and the Director of Yoga Teacher Training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga Teacher since 1995. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/

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