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Books > Yoga > Meditation > Moving Inward (The Journey to Meditation)
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Moving Inward (The Journey to Meditation)
Moving Inward (The Journey to Meditation)
Description

About the Book

 

What is meditation? What is to be gained from it? And what is the connection between meditation, asana postures, and other yogic practices? These are complex questions and surprisingly difficult ones to answer. But author Rolf Sovik, Psy.D., has done a superb job of communicating both the practical aspects and the philosophical foundations of that powerful shift in consciousness we call meditation.

 

Taken as a whole, the book guides you, with patience and understanding, through the various stages of the inward journey. You will learn how to:

Establish a steady posture that leads to a feeling of stillness

Develop deep, diaphragmatic breathing

Relax systematically

Establish breath awareness in the nostrils

Use a mantra to refine your inner focus

 

Whether you're a novice or an advanced student, you will appreciate Sovik's rich and often startling insights into the mystery of meditation. And you'll walk away with a clearer understanding of why you should undertake this journey.

 

"Moving Inward is a clear, seamless entry into the eight classical limbs of yoga... New and understandable insights on breathing, relaxation, and meditation ... Excellent and informative ... Highly recommended for students and teachers alike." -Lilias Folan, author Lilias! Yoga Gets Better With Age.

 

About the Author

 

"Rolf Sovik, one of America's few true authorities on the subject, has created a remarkable resource. Beginners, as well as experienced meditators, will be illumined by Moving Inward its wisdom, clarity, precision, and scope. Reading Moving Inward I experienced doing just that - moving inward and being reminded of the joy and peace that await a still mind." -Rod Stryker, founder of Pure Yoga

 

Preface

 

Over thirty years have passed since I sat across a low table from the person who inspired me to meditate. The room was small-a makeshift space, created for a brief interview with the accomplished yogi and visiting teacher Swami Rama. During our few minutes together, he seemed to assess me. Then quietly and with a deep voice he asked, "Do you meditate?"

 

As he spoke, I remember feeling that his voice had emerged from a remarkably calm place. Nonetheless, a rush of thoughts went through my mind in response to his question. I had made a number of experiments with meditation. I had sat quietly with a group of friends, trying to be as present and mindful as possible. I had also read many well-known books and essays on meditation. But the truth was that I did not meditate regularly and I was not certain how to meditate. Further, I knew I was sitting in the presence of someone who did.

 

I answered, "Not really."

With the same deep and quiet tone he replied, ''You should learn to meditate. I will teach you." In that moment I gratefully accepted his offer.

 

At that time I was twenty-five years old and earning a very modest living playing the cello in Minneapolis. I created a small meditation space in my apartment and began attending weekly classes with one of Swami Rama's principal students who directed a local center called simply the Meditation Center. As a musician, the concept of daily practice was well engrained in my mind, and soon I was meditating morning and evening.

 

Some months later, in the summer of 1973, Swami Rama returned for another series of lectures. The setting was idyllic-a grassy hill overlooking a small lake in the farmlands of southern Minnesota. There, a lecture tent had been set up to provide shelter, and students pitched smaller tents around it for sleeping. A soft breeze blew through the tents and overhead, a broad sky domed the land.

 

Twice a day Swami Rama sat on a small platform, lecturing and answering questions. As he spoke, a sense of timelessness pervaded the gathering. His aim, he said, was not simply to inform. "Lectures give indirect knowledge. This is useful, but does not lead far. Direct knowledge of inner life is superior. It comes from the experience gathered in meditation, and it is the highest knowledge."

 

He emphasized that meditation is not a process of fantasizing. "Imagination is the opposite of direct experience," he stressed. "Meditation is a systematic method. When this is understood, meditation becomes reliable and leads to deeper experience." He then proceeded to explain how to meditate and which were the most important features of the meditative method.

 

His talks, full of the good-humored stories and personal anecdotes that often dotted his lectures, were confidence building. During that summer I received a personal mantra to use in meditation and became even more convinced of the importance of meditating regularly. As I did, the inner and outer terrain of my life gradually changed, and within a few years I became a resident at the Meditation Center, where I deepened my practice, helped with administrative matters, and learned to teach. It was the beginning of a new vocation.

 

Over the next two decades until Swami Rama's death in 1996, I was fortunate to maintain periodic contact with him. For his part, he more than fulfilled his early promise to me. He provided meditation instruction and, at crucial moments, lent advice on other matters as well. He encouraged me to return to graduate school for doctoral studies in psychology. He opened doors for trips to India, Nepal, and Tibet opportunities to learn more about the meditative tradition. With his support, I began teaching within the Himalayan Institute, the organization he founded in 1971. And in his final years, he unfailingly visited the Institute's center in Buffalo, New York, where my wife and I settled in 1991.

 

This tells the bare story. As it unfolded, meditation acquired more than theoretical or technical meaning for me. It brought my own habit patterns, emotions, drives, and spiritual aspirations into sharp relief and offered itself as the tool for sifting them-a work still in progress.

 

For his part, Swami Rama regularly reminded students of the Buddha's words: light thine own lamp. He placed responsibility for following the meditative path squarely on the shoulders of each student. In doing that, he also made sure that the preliminary means of practice were available to all.

 

That is what this book is really about. It is an extension of the training that I have been fortunate to receive over the past years. It fleshes out the details of practice and illustrates how meditation can become a daily habit. It resolves conceptual problems that might otherwise hinder progress. And it is meant to anchor meditation at the heart of yoga, where it really has been all along.

 

Meditation leads to the simple pleasure of knowing one's self.

One young student, pondering this in ancient times, replied honestly to his teacher, "I do not think I know myself." He continued, "My ignorance is such that I cannot even say that I do not know myself." This was an admission that lies close to the truth for most of us. It echoes the doubts that raced through my own mind many years ago, when Swami Rama asked me whether I meditated. For the most part, the remedy for such doubt does not lie in collecting more information about ourselves or in more contemplation. Self- knowledge is acquired through an altogether different way of knowing, one in which the mind is engaged in being. This is meditation the path we are about to explore.

 

Contents

 

Acknowledgments

IX

Preface

XI

The Spirit of Meditation

3

Cultivating a Steady Posture

19

Finding a Good Sitting Pose

21

Refining Your Posture

31

Calming the Senses

40

The Root Lock

46

Diaphragmatic Breathing

53

Elements of Breathing

55

Breathing with Confidence

63

Drawing the Diaphragm

75

Six Methods for Training the Breath

83

Systematic Relaxation

93

The Art of Relaxing

95

Sleeping on the Run

102

Balancing Your Energies

108

Breath Awareness

117

Mindful Breathing

119

Techniques for Breath Awareness

125

Breathing Through Emotions

133

Nadi Shodhanam: Alternate Nostril Breathing

140

Meditation and Mantra

153

Meet Your Self: The Mind in Meditation

155

A Complete Meditation Practice

170

String of Pearls: Using a Mala

176

Motivation for Meditation

183

The Study of the Self: Svadhyaya

191

Recommended for Further Study

198

About the Author

199

 

Moving Inward (The Journey to Meditation)

Item Code:
NAG433
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2013
ISBN:
9780893892470
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
220 (58 B/W Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book 315 gms
Price:
$28.00
Discounted:
$21.00   Shipping Free
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$7.00 (25%)
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About the Book

 

What is meditation? What is to be gained from it? And what is the connection between meditation, asana postures, and other yogic practices? These are complex questions and surprisingly difficult ones to answer. But author Rolf Sovik, Psy.D., has done a superb job of communicating both the practical aspects and the philosophical foundations of that powerful shift in consciousness we call meditation.

 

Taken as a whole, the book guides you, with patience and understanding, through the various stages of the inward journey. You will learn how to:

Establish a steady posture that leads to a feeling of stillness

Develop deep, diaphragmatic breathing

Relax systematically

Establish breath awareness in the nostrils

Use a mantra to refine your inner focus

 

Whether you're a novice or an advanced student, you will appreciate Sovik's rich and often startling insights into the mystery of meditation. And you'll walk away with a clearer understanding of why you should undertake this journey.

 

"Moving Inward is a clear, seamless entry into the eight classical limbs of yoga... New and understandable insights on breathing, relaxation, and meditation ... Excellent and informative ... Highly recommended for students and teachers alike." -Lilias Folan, author Lilias! Yoga Gets Better With Age.

 

About the Author

 

"Rolf Sovik, one of America's few true authorities on the subject, has created a remarkable resource. Beginners, as well as experienced meditators, will be illumined by Moving Inward its wisdom, clarity, precision, and scope. Reading Moving Inward I experienced doing just that - moving inward and being reminded of the joy and peace that await a still mind." -Rod Stryker, founder of Pure Yoga

 

Preface

 

Over thirty years have passed since I sat across a low table from the person who inspired me to meditate. The room was small-a makeshift space, created for a brief interview with the accomplished yogi and visiting teacher Swami Rama. During our few minutes together, he seemed to assess me. Then quietly and with a deep voice he asked, "Do you meditate?"

 

As he spoke, I remember feeling that his voice had emerged from a remarkably calm place. Nonetheless, a rush of thoughts went through my mind in response to his question. I had made a number of experiments with meditation. I had sat quietly with a group of friends, trying to be as present and mindful as possible. I had also read many well-known books and essays on meditation. But the truth was that I did not meditate regularly and I was not certain how to meditate. Further, I knew I was sitting in the presence of someone who did.

 

I answered, "Not really."

With the same deep and quiet tone he replied, ''You should learn to meditate. I will teach you." In that moment I gratefully accepted his offer.

 

At that time I was twenty-five years old and earning a very modest living playing the cello in Minneapolis. I created a small meditation space in my apartment and began attending weekly classes with one of Swami Rama's principal students who directed a local center called simply the Meditation Center. As a musician, the concept of daily practice was well engrained in my mind, and soon I was meditating morning and evening.

 

Some months later, in the summer of 1973, Swami Rama returned for another series of lectures. The setting was idyllic-a grassy hill overlooking a small lake in the farmlands of southern Minnesota. There, a lecture tent had been set up to provide shelter, and students pitched smaller tents around it for sleeping. A soft breeze blew through the tents and overhead, a broad sky domed the land.

 

Twice a day Swami Rama sat on a small platform, lecturing and answering questions. As he spoke, a sense of timelessness pervaded the gathering. His aim, he said, was not simply to inform. "Lectures give indirect knowledge. This is useful, but does not lead far. Direct knowledge of inner life is superior. It comes from the experience gathered in meditation, and it is the highest knowledge."

 

He emphasized that meditation is not a process of fantasizing. "Imagination is the opposite of direct experience," he stressed. "Meditation is a systematic method. When this is understood, meditation becomes reliable and leads to deeper experience." He then proceeded to explain how to meditate and which were the most important features of the meditative method.

 

His talks, full of the good-humored stories and personal anecdotes that often dotted his lectures, were confidence building. During that summer I received a personal mantra to use in meditation and became even more convinced of the importance of meditating regularly. As I did, the inner and outer terrain of my life gradually changed, and within a few years I became a resident at the Meditation Center, where I deepened my practice, helped with administrative matters, and learned to teach. It was the beginning of a new vocation.

 

Over the next two decades until Swami Rama's death in 1996, I was fortunate to maintain periodic contact with him. For his part, he more than fulfilled his early promise to me. He provided meditation instruction and, at crucial moments, lent advice on other matters as well. He encouraged me to return to graduate school for doctoral studies in psychology. He opened doors for trips to India, Nepal, and Tibet opportunities to learn more about the meditative tradition. With his support, I began teaching within the Himalayan Institute, the organization he founded in 1971. And in his final years, he unfailingly visited the Institute's center in Buffalo, New York, where my wife and I settled in 1991.

 

This tells the bare story. As it unfolded, meditation acquired more than theoretical or technical meaning for me. It brought my own habit patterns, emotions, drives, and spiritual aspirations into sharp relief and offered itself as the tool for sifting them-a work still in progress.

 

For his part, Swami Rama regularly reminded students of the Buddha's words: light thine own lamp. He placed responsibility for following the meditative path squarely on the shoulders of each student. In doing that, he also made sure that the preliminary means of practice were available to all.

 

That is what this book is really about. It is an extension of the training that I have been fortunate to receive over the past years. It fleshes out the details of practice and illustrates how meditation can become a daily habit. It resolves conceptual problems that might otherwise hinder progress. And it is meant to anchor meditation at the heart of yoga, where it really has been all along.

 

Meditation leads to the simple pleasure of knowing one's self.

One young student, pondering this in ancient times, replied honestly to his teacher, "I do not think I know myself." He continued, "My ignorance is such that I cannot even say that I do not know myself." This was an admission that lies close to the truth for most of us. It echoes the doubts that raced through my own mind many years ago, when Swami Rama asked me whether I meditated. For the most part, the remedy for such doubt does not lie in collecting more information about ourselves or in more contemplation. Self- knowledge is acquired through an altogether different way of knowing, one in which the mind is engaged in being. This is meditation the path we are about to explore.

 

Contents

 

Acknowledgments

IX

Preface

XI

The Spirit of Meditation

3

Cultivating a Steady Posture

19

Finding a Good Sitting Pose

21

Refining Your Posture

31

Calming the Senses

40

The Root Lock

46

Diaphragmatic Breathing

53

Elements of Breathing

55

Breathing with Confidence

63

Drawing the Diaphragm

75

Six Methods for Training the Breath

83

Systematic Relaxation

93

The Art of Relaxing

95

Sleeping on the Run

102

Balancing Your Energies

108

Breath Awareness

117

Mindful Breathing

119

Techniques for Breath Awareness

125

Breathing Through Emotions

133

Nadi Shodhanam: Alternate Nostril Breathing

140

Meditation and Mantra

153

Meet Your Self: The Mind in Meditation

155

A Complete Meditation Practice

170

String of Pearls: Using a Mala

176

Motivation for Meditation

183

The Study of the Self: Svadhyaya

191

Recommended for Further Study

198

About the Author

199

 

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