Meditation and Pain Management: Five Yoga Exercises

Our brain circuit is a very complex subject involving a great deal of biological, cognitive and social functioning. Brain produces different chemicals that causes the feelings of pleasure and pain. When certain part of the brain is “turned on” or “turned off” , we fell pleasure or pain.  We feel pleasure when we we enjoy something like eating good food or being in love.  Our brain has its own reward system. When we do certain things, the brain rewards us by making us feel good. Reward is a great way to encourage us to do something repetitively. Similarly, there is a pain circuit in the brain. When certain things happen in our body or mind, the brain punishes us by developing bad feelings, so that we should not repeat that next time. Yoga and meditation helps people consciously control the perception of pain and pleasure.  The new understanding and perceptions relieves pain.  During pain the blood vessels serve as a radiator to cool the brain, overheating can cause neuron death.

Five Yoga Exercises Pain Management:

#1: Observe your normal breathing patterns

Try to observe your normal breathing patterns.  Do not try to control, remove or diminish your negative sensations or the private events of your life.  Try to accept the unpleasant sensations or thoughts while still persisting with your chosen tasks.

#2: Breathing Exercises:

You can breathe into the area around the pain sensation or around the belly. Yoga literature proposed several breathing techniques to overcome pain. The easiest one is;  place one hand on the chest and another on the belly.  Take a slow and deep breath, take as much air as possible. You can press the belly a little bit, with one hand. After holding the breath for a few seconds, exhale slowly.

#3: Present Moment Awareness

Present moment awareness is the most efficient and the most ancient meditation technique for pain management. Yoga literature is flooded with present moment awareness meditation techniques for pain management.  You can just bring your awareness to the activities you are doing.  Khechari mudra is a great way for pain management.  If  the khechari mudra is perfect, one can withdraw the mind from the body.

#4: Yoga Nidra for Pain Management

Yoga nidra is a very ancient meditation technique for pain management. In modern literature there are various forms of muscle relaxation techniques. This technique involves slowly tensing, briefly holding, and then releasing each muscle group in a systematic fashion. It starts  with the muscles in the toes and moving upward. During this exercise, the person should notice the differences between tension and relaxation.

#5: Meditation and Visualization for Pain management

Visualization involves imagining a scene in which you feel at peace, free to let go of all tension and anxiety. You may meditate with eyes open or closed.  Select a simple geometrical shape or symbols, with  some specific color. Think of something which may be symbolically meaningful for you in some way.  For example, you can select some green circles. You can chant any mantra of your choice during visualization meditation.

Meditation and prayers are the great ways to overcome pain. Acceptance is very important in pain management. Mentally, you may say, “It is unpleasant but I can accept it”. Pain is always unpleasant but mediation changes the nature of pain before it is perceived.

Sources:

1. “Meditation: Insights and Inspirations”  By Amit Ray

2. “Handbook of Pain Management: A Clinical Companion to Textbook of Pain”  By Ronald Melzack

Mantra Chanting in Daily Life:

Mantra chanting is an ancient way for getting success, healing and prosperity in life. There are many mantras. However some of the most useful mantras are discussed here.

Mantra chanting is easily practiced anywhere, as when repeated mentally, no one can see what we are doing. It is one method for regaining and maintaining peace during stressful times. When we are feeling stress, a few moments of mantra meditation can clear away the dust obstructing the view of a good resolution. And, upon lying down for sleep, mantra repetition can calm the mind, letting the body relax.
A mantra is a syllable or group of syllables – sound vibrations – that clear the mind of debris; much as sound vibrations clean jewelry. When first practicing, the mantra can be spoken, and as we concentrate we can begin mental repetition.
Swami Prabhupada writes in the Srimad Bhagavatam: “Unless one follows the disciplic succession, the mantra one receives will be chanted for no purpose. Nowadays there are so many useless gurus who manufacture their mantras as a process for material advancement, not for spiritual advancement. Still, the mantra cannot be successful if it is manufactured. Mantras and the process of devotional service have special power..”
As with all types of meditation practices the practice itself is not the goal; the goal is a calm mind and relaxed body, so that harmonious thoughts more easily come to mind followed by their product of kind and caring actions.
When our mind is calm and clear we make the best decisions for all concerned. Peace and harmony in our own life influences others’ feelings of peace and harmony. Our positive and kind words and actions bless ourselves, because we feel good in the process of positive thought and action, and the recipients of our goodness benefit by our actions and examples.

When mantra does not work?

A mantra must be received from your Inner Guru. Mantras received from any other type of external gurus, like unrealized head of some spiritual organizations generally does not work. Generally mantra which includes the name of a dead person “incarnations,” does not work. Mantra with too many words does not work.

Real Mantras:

The yoga cum meditation cum spiritual business is flourishing these days. Modern-day “incarnations,”, “messiahs,” with all varieties of mantras, are a dime a dozen, as eager customers flock to the feet of self-styled saviors. The Mundaka Upanisad states that “In order to learn the transcendental science, one must approach the bona fide spiritual master in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Truth.”

The Power of Mantra Meditation

The Vedas, scriptures containing the timeless spiritual knowledge of ancient India, state that an awakening process is desperately needed because everyone in this material world is in a sleeping, dreamlike condition. We have forgotten our original, spiritual identity, accepting instead a temporary material body composed of physical elements as our real self. The Vedas compare the material body to the subtle forms we experience in dreams. While sleeping, we forget our normal waking identity and may find ourselves enjoying or suffering in different types of bodies. But when we hear the ringing of the alarm clock, we awaken and return to normal consciousness. We remember who we are and what we should be doing. Similarly, by hearing the powerful transcendental sound vibrations of mantra, we can gradually wake up to our original self, the soul, which is characterized by eternality and is full of knowledge and ever-increasing pleasure.

The sages of ancient India therefore tell us that the goal of human life should not be to try to enjoy our temporary dreamlike situation in the material world. Rather, we are advised to awaken to our original, spiritual nature and ultimately return to our true home in the spiritual world, where we may enjoy an eternal relationship with the Supreme God.

The transcendental potency necessary for developing complete psychological and spiritual fulfillment is already present within everyone. It must, however, be uncovered by a genuine spiritual process.

How to Chant

There are two basic types of chanting. Personal meditation, where one just remember the power of the word, is called mental japa. When one chants in responsive fashion with others, this is called kirtana. Kirtana is usually accompanied by musical instruments and clapping. Both forms of chanting are recommended and beneficial.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for chanting. The most wonderful thing about mantra meditation is that one may chant anywhere — at home, at work, driving in the car, or riding on the bus or subway. And one may chant at any time.

The OM Chant
If there is no religious preference than the sound vibration ‘OM’ is a universally recognized mantra.

If using ‘OM’ draw the sound out like this – oooooommmmmmmmmmm – emphasis being on the last part. To use in conjunction with breathing take an in breath, and then on the out breath repeat ‘OM’ remembering to draw out the ending.

Therefore chanting OM (AUM) will bring us to a state of purity in body mind and soul.

Sri Amit Ray in the Book Om Chanting and Meditation beautifully explained the details of Om meditation and AUM chanting.

AUM

The Purity Chant

The Om is composed of three letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.
All Buddhas are cases of beings who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving the impure states arid their being transformed into the pure.

The path is indicated by the next four syllables. Mani, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method-the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love. Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties, of cyclic existence and of solitary peace. Similarly, just as a jewel fulfils the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfils the wishes of sentient beings.

The two syllables, padme, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom. Just as a lotus grows forth from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud, so wisdom is capable of putting you in a situation of non-contradiction whereas there would be contradiction if you did not have wisdom. There is wisdom realizing impermanence, wisdom realizing that persons are empty, of being self-sufficient or substantially existent, wisdom that realizes the emptiness of duality-that is to say, of difference of entity between subject an object-and wisdom that realizes the emptiness of inherent existence. Though there are many different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom realizing emptiness.

Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable hum, which indicates indivisibility. According to the sutra system, this indivisibility of method and wisdom refers to wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom. In the mantra, it refers to one consciousness in which there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one un-differentiable entity. In terms of the seed syllables of the five Conqueror Buddhas, hum is the seed syllable of Akshobhya – the immovable, the unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything.

Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. It is said that you should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within. We have within us the seed of purity, the essence of a One, that is to be transformed and fully developed into Buddhahood.

om mani padme hum

The Gayatri Mantra

The meaning of the Gayatri mantra is as follows

We contemplate the glory of Light illuminating the three worlds: gross, subtle, and causal.
I am that vivifying power, love, radiant illumination, and divine grace of universal intelligence.
We pray for the divine light to illumine our minds.

Om: The primeval sound
Bhur: the physical world
Bhuvah: the mental world
Suvah: the celestial, spiritual world
Thath: That; God; transcendental Paramatma
Savithur: the Sun, Creator, Preserver
Varenyam: most adorable, enchanting
Bhargo: luster, effulgence
Devasya: resplendent,supreme Lord
Dheemahi: we meditate upon
Dhiyo: the intellect,understanding
Yo: May this light
Nah: our
Prachodayath: enlighten,guide,inspire

Om Bhur Buvaha Suvaha
Thath Savithur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayath

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra Chant:

Anybody can recite this mantra and attain good health, release from mental bondage from ideologies and other problems.

OM TRYAMBAKAM YAJAMAHE

SUGANDHIM PUSHTHI VARDHANAM

URVARUKAMIVA BANDHANAT

MRYTYOR MUKSHEEYA MAMRITAT ||

Tryambaka is the name of Lord Shiva as the father of the three worlds – bhu, bhuva and svarga lokas.

Meaning: We remember the Three-Eyed Lord Shiva who is naturally fragrant, immensely merciful and who is the Protector of the devotees. Remembering the name may we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality just as the ripe cucumber easily separates itself from the binding stalk i.e. “By your Grace, Let me be in the state of salvation (Moksha) and be saved from the clutches of death and sorrowness”. Remembering Lord Ganesha and then Brahmrishi Vasishta who has given us this mahamantra.
It brings health, wealth, peace, prosperity, satisfaction and long life. It is a Moksha-Mantra too.

The Hare Krishna Mantra

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama Rama, Hare Hare
The HU Chant

Chanting HU (pronounced “hue”) aloud or to yourself can open your heart to God’s love and transform your life. This daily practice can help you experience more love, joy and spiritual freedom. You can also try chanting this inwardly when faced with challenging situations. HU is a ancient name for God and is a very uplifting chant when singing it with a group of people.

HU (hue)

Mantra for success, mantra for healing and mantra for peace is the ancient way for happy life.

Mantra for success

There are many simple mantras that can make you successful.  For getting success in life your attitude to life and mantra chanting should go hand in hand.  Good karma is like the seed for the crops, and the mantra is like the water and soil. The mantra helps the good karma, if it’s there, to ripen quickly.  Mantras are affirmations of positive thoughts.

The mantra for success are as follows:

1. Discover what you owe to others?

Choose someone you know who is successful, then first consider what you have received from them, second what you have given to them and thirdly what trouble you have caused them. This may lead to discovering you owe others more than you thought.

2. Pay closer attention to life’s pleasures.

Appreciate what is around you.  We missed  so much, by the rush and busyness we submit ourselves to at work.

3. Observe your tongue.

You don’t need to control your tongue but don’t forget to observe it.

4. Get plenty of sleep, exercise, smile and laugh.

All these are necessary to enhance your mood both long and  short term.

5.  Enhance Your Self-Esteem

Six pillars that comprise self-esteem are:

  • Living consciously: The ability to be active rather than passive, to be in the moment, and to have a commitment for growth.
  • Self-acceptance: The ability to be on one’s side, to accept all feelings, thoughts and acts and to be compassionate with oneself.
  • Self-responsibility: To take responsibility for the achievement of desires, one’s behavior with others, and for one’s happiness.
  • Self-assertive: To know that we have the right to be who we are and that we do not have to live up to others’ expectations.
  • Purposeful living: To use our internal power for the attainment of our goals, including happiness, by taking responsibility for it, identifying the actions necessary to achieve it, monitoring our behavior to check if it is in alignment and so on.
  • Personal integrity: When our behavior is congruent with our professed values, and ideals and practice match.

Daily Positive Affirmations for Abundance

1. All the things I want and need come to me.

2. I always receive more than what I need.

3. I have a bank account with more than enough.

4. I am an abundant person.

5. I create abundance in all that I say and do.

6. I accept abundance.

7. I welcome, and am open to receive all abundance that comes.

8. I draw abundance to myself today and every day.

9. I am successful.

10. Everything I do turns into success.

11. I am filled with success.

12. Success comes effortlessly to my direction.

13. My success is contagious, other people like it, seek it and respect it.

14. I attract positive-minded people to me; I draw all things positive to myself.

15. I am very fortunate to work at what I love to do.

16. I make powerful and enjoyable business relationships and many of my business contacts are now my friends.

Positive affirmations is having enormous power. A good list of positive affirmations are available here.

Common mantra for success:

Har, Har, Har… mantra

Har, Har, Har, Har, Gobinday for a Shield of Good Luck and Prosperity

Har Har Har Har Gobinday

Har Har Har Har Mukunday

Har Har Har Har Udaaray

Har Har Har Har Apaaray

Har Har Har Har Hariang

Har Har Har Har Kariang

Har Har Har Har Nirmaanay

Har Har Har Har Akaamay

25th Pauri for Prosperity

Bahota karam likhiaa na jaa-ay.

Vadaa dataa til na tamaay.

Kaytay mange jodh apaar.

Kaythaa ganat nahee veechaar.

Kaytay khap tuteh vikar.

Kaytay lai lai mukar paa-eh.

Kaytay moorakh khaahee khaa-eh.

Kaytiaa dookh bhookh sad maar.

Ay-eh bhe daat tayree daataar

Band khaalasee bhanai hoe.

Hor aakh na sakai koe.

Jay ko khaa-ik akhaan paae.

Oh jaanai jaytee-aa muh khaa-ay.

Aapay jaanay aapay day-eh.

Aakheh se bhe kay-ee kay-eh.

Jis no bakhsay siphat saalaah.

Naanak paatishaahee paatishaah.

Mantra Chanting in Daily Life

Different parts of our brain are responsible for moving different body parts. The left side of the brain controls the movements of the right side of the body, and the right side of the brain controls the movements of the left side of the body. Mantra chanting is a way to develop a balance in our brain and body.

Say Om (Aum) chanting is a powerful way to reduce stress and strain in daily life.  Our skeletal and autonomic nervous systems is having close relation to Mantra and Om chanting.

Mantra Chanting and our Chakras are closely related:

1. Muladhara: Earth element. It is centred at the lower base of the spine. Associated with the rectum, prostate, cervix and gonads. The main function of this energy centre is physical survival and groundedness.

Ungroundedness is its dysfunction.. The Bija mantra is Lam and the associated colour is red.

2. Svadhisthana: Water element. It is centred round the lower belly. Associated Adrenal glands. The main function of this centre is self-esteem, creativity(including rproduction) and personal secuality. It´s dysfunction manifests as ovr-attachment and low self-seteem. Can involve problems to do with fertility and premature ejaculation. The Bija mantra is Vam and the associated colour orange.

3. Manipura: Fire element. It is centred in the solar plexus and is associated with the digestive system including the pancreas. It has to do with the marriage of the male and female energies. Its functions are to do with personal power, and include the qualities of pride, confidence and achievement. The Bija mantra is Lam and the colour is yellow.

4. Anahata: Air element. Associated with the cardio-vascular system and the thymus gland(related to immunity). It is the bridge beween the lower three bodily and ´tribal´-related chakras and the upper three transpersonal ones. The main function is personal love of a higher nature than sex and it is the seat of love as an emotion and compassion. The Bij mantra is YAM. Anahat bridges the lower Self and the higher Self. The colour is green.

5. Vishudhi: Eather element. This chakra is associated with the respiratory system and metabolism, and thus involves the thyroid and parathyroid glands. Its main functions are the expression of emotion and will-power, but all forms of communication are connected to this chakra, with the associated qualities of clarity and sharing. The Bij manta is HAM, the colour is blue.

6. Third Eye: Consciousness is the element. It is centred behind the eyebrows and is associated with the ANS(Autonomic Nervous System, dealing with processed such as digestion wich are usually beyond volunty control) and the pituitary gland (the conductor of our hormanal system, which is the carrier of longer-lasting intructions to our body and emotions than the fast-acting nervous system). This is wehre gross and subtle, matter and mind meet and merge. It works closely with the seventh chakra to keep logic and intuition balanced. The mantra is SO (on the in-breath) and HAM(on th out-breath), the clour is indigo.