Mula Bandha in Meditation: When you sit in the Asana for doing Japa, contract the anus. This is termed Mula Bandha in Hatha Yogic practice. This helps concentration. This practice prevents the Apanavayu from moving downwards.
Kumbhaka in Meditation: Retain the breath as long as you can comfortably do so. This is Kumbhaka. This will considerably steady the mind and help concentration. You will feel intense spiritual bliss.
Yogic Diet: Take Mitahara, Sattvic diet. Overloading the stomach with rice, vegetable, dhal and bread brings sleep and interferes with Sadhana. A glutton or a sensualist, a dullard or a lazy man cannot practise meditation. A diet of milk renders the body very, very light. You can sit in one Asana for hours together with ease and comfort. If you feel weak, you can take for a day or two a little rice and milk or barley and milk or any light diet. Those who are in the field of service and who do platform lectures and other intense spiritual propaganda activities need solid, substantial food.
You will find very often these terms in the Gita: Ananya Chetah-no thinking of another; Matchitta, Nitya Yukta, Manmanah; Ekagram Manah and Sarva-Bhava. These terms denote that you will have to give your full mind, entire cent per cent, to God. Then only you will have Self-realisation. Even if one ray of mind runs outside, it is impossible to attain God-consciousness.
Be silent. Know thyself. Know That. Melt the mind in That. Truth is quite pure and simple.
Asanas for Meditation
Sit in Padma, Siddha, Svastika or Sukha Asana for half an hour to start with. Then increase the period to three hours. In one year you can have Asana-Siddhi. Any easy, comfortable posture is Asana.
This is the lotus-pose. Place the right foot on the left thigh, the left foot on the right thigh. Put the hands on the thighs near the knee-joints. Keep the head, neck and the trunk in one straight line. Close the eyes and concentrate on the Trikuti, the space between the two eyebrows. This is called lotus-pose or Kamalasana. This is very good for meditation. This Asana is beneficial for householders.
This is the perfect pose. This is a beautiful Asana for meditation. Place one heel at the anus or Guda, the terminal opening of the alimentary canal or digestive tube through which the excreta or faecal matter is thrown out. Keep the other heel at the foot of the generative organ and the hands on the knees. Close the eyes. Concentrate on the Trikuti or on the tip of the nose. Keep the head, neck and trunk in one straight line. Keep the hands as in Padmasana near the knee joints. This Asana is beneficial for Brahmacharins and Sannyasins.
Svastika is sitting at ease with the body erect. Place the right foot near the thigh and bring the left foot and push it between the right thigh and calf muscles. Now you will find the two feet between the thigh and calf muscles. This is Svastikasana.
Any easy comfortable posture for Japa and meditation is Sukhasana. The important point is that the head and the trunk should be straight. Here is a special variety of Sukhasana which is very comfortable for old people.
Take a cloth 5 cubits long and fold it lengthwise. Raise the knees to the chest level. Keep one end of it near the left knee. Take the other end, going to the back by the left side and right knee come to the left knee and make a knot there. Keep the hands between the knees. As the legs, hands, back-bone are all supported, one can sit in this Asana for a long time.
Benefits of Asanas
Asana removes many diseases such as piles, dyspepsia, constipation, and checks excessive Rajas. The body gets genuine rest from the posture. If you are established in Asana, if you are firm in your seat, then you can take up easily exercises in Pranayama. This is the third Anga or part of Ashtanga Yoga or Raja Yoga of Patanjali.
First, there is self-restraint or practice of Ahimsa, Satyam, Brahmacharya, etc. Second, there are religious canons or observances, such as Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, etc. Next comes Asana. When the Asana becomes steady, you will not feel the body. When you have obtained mastery in Asana, qualities of the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold will not trouble you then. You must sit in the Asana on an empty stomach. You can take a small cup of milk, tea or coffee before doing Asana.
Asana steadies the body. Bandhas and Mudras make the body firm. Pranayama makes the body light. Nadi Suddhi produces steadiness of the mind. Having acquired these qualifications you will have to fix the mind on Brahman. Then only meditation will go on steadily with ease and happiness. For meditation, concentration and Japa, Padmasana or Siddhasana is prescribed. For general health and keeping up of Brahmacharya, Sirshasana, Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Pachimottanasana are good.