On behalf of all of us, I would like to welcome you to Meditation SLC. It is our hope that you will find these meditation programs to be a fun and relaxing way to learn about meditation, and meet new friends interested in a positive and healthy lifestyle.
In 2003, I was introduced to mantra meditation and Bhakti yoga, and it gradually became the central focus of my life. I moved to Salt Lake City in 2010 to share this practice with all who are interested in making it part of their own personal growth.
I love being outdoors, especially in the mountains. My favorite activities are mountain biking in the summer, and snowboarding in the winter. In the summer I work for a small landscape design company, and in the winter I teach snowboarding at Snowbird.
Our Meditation Practices
A Brief Introduction to the 3 Mantra Meditation Techniques We Use
Our practices come from the Vaisnava tradition of Bhakti yoga. It is a time-tested process that has been applied by serious spiritual seekers following this path of Bhakti for over 500 years. The knowledge and teachings are much older than that, but in the late 1400's a great personality by the name of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu specifically prescribed these processes of mantra meditation for those desiring spiritual advancement in this present age.
In all 3 of the meditation techniques, the mantras, or spiritual sound vibrations, are the focus. The word "mantra" means "mind deliverer", or that which can carry your mind from the agitation of the external world to a place of spiritual peace and tranquility. As you do the meditations allow your mind, and heart, to rest in the sound of the mantras. These meditation practices allow your senses and mind to remain active as you hear, speak, and focus upon the mantras. In this way you engage your senses, using them to aid in the meditation instead of distracting you from it.
This is a breathing (pranayama) exercise using the mantra "Gauranga" (gor-UN-ga). Begin by sitting in a comfortable yet upright position. It is best to close your eyes for this meditation as it helps to bring your attention inward. Once seated, take a few deep breaths allowing your body and mind to begin relaxing. To start the practice inhale slowly, gently, and deeply through the nose. As you exhale you will say the mantra Gauranga out loud so you can hear it, using the full length of the exhale. Inhale again and continue. For this meditation, you pronounce the mantra in 4 syllables (gaur-ra-an-ga). You can do the meditation for as long as you like, but it is nice to do it long enough to feel your mind relaxing into the atmosphere created by the mantra. Gauranga Breathing can be done on your own or with others.
Japa is an individual practice where we chant (say in repetition) a mantra using a "mala", or string of beads. The mantra we use for Japa is the Maha Mantra (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare). A full mala contains 108 beads plus one "head bead". A half-round contains 54 beads plus one head bead. The practice entails saying the Maha Mantra on each of the 54 or 108 beads of the mala. To begin the practice hold the head bead in your fingers and say the mantra "Gauranga". Then, move to the first bead and say the full Maha Mantra on that bead as you roll the bead between your thumb and middle finger. Continue on each bead until your get back to the head bead. When you reach the head bead, you can touch it and say the mantra "haribol". Going around the mala one time is referred to as "one round". If you would like to continue, turn the beads around and go back the way you came from on the mala. The beads are used to count the number of times we say the mantra, and to engage our sense of touch to involve more of our senses in the meditation.
Kirtan is a call and repeat singing/chanting of mantras with musical accompaniment. Unlike other meditation practices where we may need to remove ourselves from the company of others, kirtan is done with other people. This is the primary technique we do at our meditation events. At a kirtan, there is one person who is the "leader". The leader is the one who does the initial singing/chanting of a mantra. When they do this the other participants are engaged by listening. Then, the participants respond, singing the mantra back to the leader while the leader listens. During kirtan participants are easily immersed in the sound of the mantras, and the music which carries them, making it easier for the mind to focus and relax into the practice. Kirtan can be done with any variety of instruments and styles of music.
To learn more about these practices and see how they are they are applied please join us at any of our weekly meditation events.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare:
"Oh Lord, oh energy of the Lord, please engage me in Your eternal loving service."
Hare - The devotional energy of the Supreme.
Krishna - The all-attractive Supreme Personality.
Rama - The giver of inner joy to those who render loving service.
"He whose body is more beautiful than molten gold."
"Sing/chant the Holy Names."
Hari - The thief of everyone's heart.
Bol - To sing, chant, or speak.
Nitai - Eternally happy or blissful.
Gaur - Resembling the color of gold.
Gopala Govinda Rama
Gopala - The supreme protector and the best friend of the cows and all living beings.
Govinda - The giver of spiritual happiness to the cows, the land, and the senses.
Rama - The giver of spiritual happiness to those who render loving service.
Madana Mohana - The one who is so attractive that He attracts even cupid.
*We always end our kirtans with the "Prayer for Protection", also known as the prayer to Lord Nashringadev. Nashringadev is known in the Vedas as an incarnation of God who appeared for the protection of a small child named Prahlad who was unflinchingly devoteed to Him, and in great danger at the hand of his father, Hiranyakashipu. We sing this prayer as a reminder that the Supreme is always ready to give shelter to those who approach Him in their hearts.