Timeless Mind-Body Practices for Awakening
Yoga Meditations Book and CD Set – $29.95
by Julie Lusk
Finally, a yoga meditations book for awakening joy, peace and inspiration.
Yoga Meditations contains a wide variety of mind-body practices, such as:
- Guided relaxation exercises
- Breathing practices
- Yoga Nidra
- Meditations and guided imagery
- Yoga postures and meditations for each chakra
- Yoga wisdom for contemplation
- FREE CD included in each book.
FREE Wholesome Energizers CD included!
A 50-minute relaxation and imagery CD is included in each book – a $12.95 value – FREE!
Use the Wholesome Energizers CD to release stress, refresh your outlook, and feel calm and balanced.
Feel rested, rejuvenated, and ready for the rest of the day.
Introduction and 3 tracks featuring a relaxation exercise, beautiful guided imagery and h
elpful affirmations to bring your energy back.
This book and CD set is perfect for personal use, teachers, students and helping professionals.
Learn from the masters. Guest Contributors include:
- Lilias Folan
- Nischala Joy Devi
- Sudhir Jonathan Foust
- Christopher Baxter
- Sally Kempton
- Charles McInerney
- Lynne Greene
- Don Tubesing
Review by Kathy Bingham – Los Angeles, California
Yoga meditations is a wonderful book!
I teach yoga and stress management at the college level and I use this book in both classes multiple times during the semester.
The author Julie Lusk takes concepts that we as teachers study for years to understand (like the subtle anatomy or differing forms of meditation) and she explains them in a clear, concise and logical manner without oversimplifying them, but making the ideas accessible to teachers and students alike.
She has invited other respected experts in mind-body techniques to contribute to the many guided exercises offered and the book also serves as a great resource guide.
Table of Contents for Yoga Meditations
Guided Relaxation: Still Yoga
Settling mental activity by actively becoming relaxed and centered is an easy starting point for not only discovering inner peace, it is also the foundation for most mind/body practices. It actively increases our capacity to calm the mind, soothe the emotions and open the heart. Practice the following relaxation exercises until you become comfortable with them. Each uses a different technique and will enable you to experience relaxation on many levels.
- Sinking into Sensation: Here and Now
Physical sensations are the silent language from within ourselves. Softly focusing on what is being felt, sensed, and experienced in each moment leads to an open and ongoing experience of fluid moment-to-moment wakefulness. This essential and simple awareness exercise guides this powerful process. It is both potent, yet easy for the novice, and it can be used daily to deepen and enhance awareness and mindfulness for the seasoned practitioner. (15 minutes or longer)
- Squeeze Stress Away
Progressive muscular relaxation to relax your body, mind, and emotions. (15 minutes)
Note: Recorded on Wholesome Energizers CD by Julie Lusk with music from Tom Laskey. This CD is included free with every Yoga Meditations book or just Get the CD.
- Breathe, Relax, Feel, Watch and Allow Meditation by Sudhir Jonathan Foust Consciously or unconsciously, we are constantly seeking a dynamic balance of free-flowing energy and spacious awareness. The following meditation allows you to be present to the process of life unfolding moment by moment and will guide you into a dynamic state of relaxed awareness. (Time: 15 to 20 minutes)
- Warm Hands – Guided Autogenic Relaxation by Nancy Loving Tubesing and Don Tubesing
Use the power of suggestion to reverse the physical effects of stress. This soothing autogenic routine helps muscles to relax, allowing blood to circulate freely to all parts of the body. It is especially effective for headaches or insomnia. (5-10 minutes)
- Complete Relaxation with Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is the term that means yogic sleep. It refers to the state of complete relaxation in which the body profoundly relaxes, the thinking mind subsides, but awareness remains. When this happens intuitive knowing and deep peace and joy is awakened. (20 to 30 minutes)
- Affirmations for Energy, Strength and Inner Vitality
Affirmations are coupled with the breath to increase your energy, inner strength and vitality. Repeat the following statements to yourself, silently or out loud, and in time with the rhythm of your natural breath. While each phrase appears only twice, be sure to take enough time to connect with each one, particularly the ones that hold the most meaning to you. Time: 15 minutes
Breathing Practices: Your Portable Paradise
Yogis from ancient times were as interested in increasing life energy as we are today. Breathing practices and breath patterns will give us that energy and serve as a bridge reconnecting the life force inherent in the mind and body. Breathwork plays an important role in our ability to practice relaxation, imagery, and meditation and contributes significantly to mind/body health. The following breathing practices come from the yoga tradition. They are as valid today as they were thousands of years ago. Enjoy!
- The Complete Breath / Dirgha Breathing
This breathing technique is done with long, slow, deep breaths while focusing on the lower, mid, and upper portions of your chest. This allows for the fullest breathing possible and will improve respiration, circulation, and even digestion. The complete breath will soothe your frazzled nerves, clear your mind, and will replenish your life force. Time: 5 minutes or longer
- Ocean Breath / Ujjayi Breath
The Ujjayi Breath, also called the Ocean Sounding Breath, is a yogic breathing practice that builds on the benefits of Dirgha Breathing, the complete breath. Meditative and calming, it creates concentration while it creates stamina and endurance. It produces a calming and meditative quality. This breath helps relieve sinus problems and can diminish headache pain. Time: 5 minutes or longer
- Alternate Nostril Breathing / Nadi Shodhana – Three Patterns and Five Breathing Ratios
Alternate nostril breathing creates a sense of physical, mental and emotional well-being. This yogic breath is done by alternating nostrils while breathing. Doing so balances right and left-brain integration and promotes mental clarity and whole brain functioning. It can relieve sinus problems and most headaches. It calms emotions and fosters feelings of deep inner contentment and balance. Due to its calming effect, it is ideal as preparation for deep relaxation or meditation. Time: 2 minutes of daily practice. Increase gradually to 10 minutes or longer
- Breath of Fire / Kapalabhati
The Breath of Fire is a powerful breathing technique that emphasizes a pattern of quick exhalations followed by passive inhalations. It cleans and purifies the respiratory system, invigorates the vital organs of digestion, and strengthens the nervous system. Due to the swift and sharp exhalations, a shift in pressure occurs in the cerebral spinal fluid. This causes a massaging effect on the brain, enlivening every cell, and creating an “aura’ of light and vitality around the skull. According to yogis, it has a positive influence on both the third and sixth chakras. Time: 5 minutes or longer
Guided Breathing Meditations
- Wholesome Breathing
Full, deep breathing is practiced to dissolve tension and experience feeling relaxed and calm Time: 10 minutes
** Note: Recorded on Wholesome Relaxation by Julie Lusk with music by Tom Laskey. Get the CD.
- Resting in the Gap
This relaxing breath brings about an inner stillness. This is done by first focusing on the breath, and then by practicing a three-part exhalation, followed by cultivating awareness of the gap between the exhalation and the inhalation. This gap is known as the midpoint or Madhya in Sanskrit (pronounced mud-yha). It serves as a doorway to the expansion of consciousness and the inner space where the connection to the whole can be experienced. Time: 15 to 20 minutes or longer
- Energy Breathing
Energy Breathing will center your mind and expand your awareness by focusing your attention on the breath as it rises and falls within the core of your body. Time: 10 to 15 minutes
** Attention: Recorded on Power of Presence C D by Julie Lusk with music from Tom Laskey. Get the CD.
Guided Imagery: Mental Movies, the Inner Play of the Body, Mind, and Spirit
Guided imagery, also referred to as creative visualization, is intentional daydreaming whose aim is to magnify the positive aspects of the mind/body connection. It elicits genuine relaxation which awakens and activates the natural ability for self-healing to occur. Guided imagery helps one uncover inner truth and direction while stimulating the intuition. Guided imagery helps with changing behaviors and habits. With regular practice, your skill and efficiency will improve and your results will increase.
- Woodland Walk
Guided imagery is used to renew your vitality featuring an enjoyable walk in the woods. Time: 15 minutes
** Note: Recorded on Wholesome Energizers CD by Julie Lusk with music from Tom Laskey. This CD is included free with every Yoga Meditations book or just Get the CD.
- Your Garden
Using guided imagery and affirmations; a garden scene is created for cultivating qualities to reclaim health, inner vitality and energy. Time: 15 minutes
** Note: Recorded on Wholesome Energizers Card+CD by Julie Lusk with music from Tom Laskey. This CD is included free with every Yoga Meditations book or just Get the CD.
- Magical Sea
Enjoy an inspiring walk along the water’s edge that brings about new insights. Time: 12 minutes.
** Note: Recorded on Wholesome Relaxation Card+CD by Julie Lusk with music by Tom Laskey. Get the CD.
- The Fireplace
Experience the comfort of being in a cozy room and sitting by a fire. Time: 12 minutes
- Taking Flight
Experience the joy of flying like a bird and feeling gratitude for the air and wind. Time: 12 minutes.
- The Convertible Ride
Experience the joy of going for a ride in a convertible car and enjoy the sunlight along with all other scenery. Time: 10 minutes
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
Enjoy an uplifting adventure on a hot air balloon ride to gain a new perspective, and to feel open, free and spacious. Time: 12 minutes
Healing Guided Imagery
Healing imagery is a powerful way to increase your sense of well-being. Studies have shown that it reduces stress levels and will likely improve your health. Your mind will clear, your emotions will settle, your body will relax, and your heart and spirit will open. Guided imagery is widely used in hospitals, wellness centers, religious settings and mental health clinics.
- Brain Refresher by Lilias Folan
Refresh your brain with the sound of N. This method can also be used with the bija and vowel sounds that are found on the chakra chart. Simply direct the appropriate sound to the area of the body associated with each chakra. Time: 5 minutes or longer
- Cultivate the Positive: Pratipaksha Bhavana
This is a meditation practice that teaches us to exchange negative thoughts and feelings for positive ones. This nurtures our capacity to react constructively and mindfully in a levelheaded and calm manner to people and situations, and less likely to react automatically and negatively. Time: 10 minutes or longer
** Attention: Recorded on Power of Presence CD by Julie Lusk with Tom Laskey’s music. Get the CD.
- Prana Hands / Prana Dharana
Prana Dharana can be found in the Upanishads, teachings spanning back 5000 years. It is the technique of projecting the life force (prana) into specific parts of the body in order to restore health. These ancient sages claimed it would conquer all illnesses and fatigue. Prana Hands is an example of Prana Dharana. For Prana Hands to be most effective, it must be done extremely slowly, almost as if you are moving in a dream. Time: 15 minutes or longer
- The Pond of Love
Enjoy sitting beside a pond that radiates love. Endless variations can result by substituting different characteristics and virtues radiating from the pond. For instance, the pond may be full of peace, understanding or forgiveness. You may also let the participants choose the characteristics on their own by leaving it open-ended. Be creative. Time: 10 to 12 minutes plus the time it takes to relax.
Attention: The Pond of Love is from 30 Scripts for Relaxation, Imagery and Inner Healing, Volume Two and is recorded on Refreshing Journeys by Julie Lusk
- Liquid Blue Healing by Lynne Greene
Feel stress, tension aches and pain drain away with the help of a healing blue liquid. Time: 10 minutes
- Cruising . . . Magical Motorcycle Rider
This healing imagery is focused on releasing mental tension as well as physical pain. Troubles are left behind during an exhilarating motorcycle ride. Time: 15 minutes
- Intuition Time
Age-old intuitive understanding and insights are revealed through modern day technology – the telephone. Have some paper and a pen handy to record what is revealed. Time: 8 minutes
Heart Opening Guided Imagery Meditations
The following mind/body practices will show you the way of safely and sweetly opening your heart.
- Light a Candle
Light a candle as a help to remember special people and circumstances.
- Meditation on the Universal Light by Nischala Joy Devi
This meditation is a wonderful meditation that combines a few techniques. An added bonus allows the benefits of your practice to spread out into the world, a great practice to incorporate into all the meditations you do. Time: 20 minutes
- Awakening Compassion with Tonglen: The Meditation of Giving and Receiving
Tonglen is a an advanced and powerful meditation practice from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that is done to awaken and expand compassion in oneself and toward others. In this practice of giving and receiving, as it is translated in English, we inhale as we visualize taking on the pain and suffering of others; as we exhale, we see ourselves giving others all our happiness, well being, and positive resources. Time: 15 minutes or more when practiced as a formal meditation practice
- Gratitude and Abundance
This two-part guided meditation generates gratitude. Gratitude is a doorway for discovering abundance everywhere–in the mundane, the mysterious, the miserable, and the miraculous. Abundance stretches far beyond financial and material wealth into the realm of appreciation for everything from the small to the significant. When gratitude and abundance are paired, a new, expansive perspective is discovered. Time: 15 minutes or more when practiced as a formal meditation practice.
- Joy, Joy, Joy
Feeling joyful is always welcome and there is always room for more. This meditation will connect you with the inner joy that is yours. Depending upon your needs, other qualities can be substituted for joy. Contentment, courage, and peace are examples. Time: 10 to 15 minutes
- Meta Meditation on Loving-Kindness
Blessings of loving-kindness, peace, and protection are the subjects of this ancient meditation. Time: 10 minutes or longer
Chakras: Centers of Subtle Energy
Each one of us has seven subtle energy centers that influence our health and well being involving every system of the body. The energy of the chakras is often described as the most important indicator of a person’s well being. They guide the developmental stages of our body, mind, and emotions, and awaken our evolutionary potential as spiritual beings. They are said to house the guiding intelligence of the universal energy of life. Yogis refer to this life force as prana, the Chinese masters call it chi, and the Japanese practitioners name it ki. Many medical, mental health, spiritual and mind-body professionals and practitioners now seek to understand and apply the ancient knowledge of the chakras within their field of expertise.
The guided meditations and affirmations presented in Yoga Meditations incorporate the locations, colors, lessons and sounds associated with balancing the chakras are provided in a safe and balanced manner.
- Energy Flow
Energy flows like a river in this guided imagery exercise. Sitting in a meditation posture is more effective than lying down for working with the chakras because the physical alignment encourages and amplifies the flow of energy. Time: 12-15 minutes
- The Chakra Rainbow
Balancing and aligning the chakras with the colors and meanings associated with them is the purpose of this guided imagery exercise. Be sure to review the chakra description and chart at the beginning of this chapter for further information. Time: 12 to 15 minutes
- Chakra Affirmations
Affirmations are brief, constructive statements said in the present tense and repeated often to improve mental attitudes and to assist in making positive changes. These affirmations are based upon chakras, the seven subtle energy centers of the body. Time: 10 minutes
Note: Recorded on Wholesome Relaxation CD by Julie Lusk with music from Tom Laskey.
The following chakra meditations feature the name and location of each chakra, its color, and the basic rights and the lessons associated with it. To bring better balance to the chakra, the color is imagined, affirmations regarding the chakra’s lesson are said, and the healing sounds associated with the chakra are sung.
- Root Chakra / Muladhara
The first chakra is the root chakra and it is located deep inside at the base of the spine. It is related to the fundamental awareness associated with safety, security and survival. Feeling safe, being physically healthy, having a good body image, being able to live in the here and now, and having the ability to be still are signs of a balanced root chakra. Its color is predominantly red and its sounds are Lam (pronounced Lum) and O (like in toe). Time: 15 minutes
- Sacral Chakra / Svadhisthana
The second chakra is the sacral chakra and it is located deep within the lower abdomen and pelvis. It is associated with being able to feel, want and create in relation to your personal and physical needs. With a balanced sacral chakra, you are emotionally intelligent, able to nurture your self and others, and have healthy boundaries. You are able to move gracefully, enjoy sensual satisfaction, and empowered to experience an array of emotions ranging from pain to pleasure. Its color is predominantly orange and its sounds are Vam (pronounced Vum) and O (as is two). Time: 15 minutes
- Solar Plexus Chakra / Manipura
The third chakra is the solar plexus chakra and it is located between the naval and the heart. It is associated with accepting yourself, having good self-esteem and being personally powerful in the external world. Feeling self-confident, taking right action, being self-responsible, disciplined and having a sense of belonging are signs of a balanced third chakra. Its color is predominantly yellow and its sounds are Ram (pronounced Rum with a rolling r) and A (like in awe). Time: 15 minutes
- Heart Chakra / Anahata
The fourth chakra is called the heart chakra and it is related to the lungs, heart and arms. Although the physical heart is on the left side of the torso, the energy heart is in the center of the chest. It is associated with being able to love and be loved, as well as being compassionate toward oneself and others. Forgiveness is the key to healing and balancing the fourth chakra and results in being non-judgmental, feeling content, trusting, loving, and having a peaceful heart. Its color is predominantly green and its sounds are Yam (pronounced Yum) and A (like in play). Time: 15 minutes
- Throat Chakra / Vissudha
The fifth chakra is the throat chakra and it is located in the area of throat, mouth, ears as well as the hands. It is associated with being willing to choose a self-expressive and creative life. Having a full, resonant voice, being able to communicate clearly, being able to listen to others, being truthful and choosing to align with the divine will are signs of a balanced throat chakra. Its color is predominantly blue and its sounds are Ham (pronounced Hum) and E (like in speak). Time: 15 minutes
- Third Eye Chakra / Ajna
The the sixth chakra is the third eye chakra and it is located in the center of the forehead. It is associated with being insightful and intuitive. Being self-reflective, imaginative, as well as having a good memory, good dream recall, having a guiding vision for life, being able to recognize wisdom in any situation, and being observant to subtle signs that can guide, are indicators of a balanced sixth chakra. Its color is predominantly indigo and its sounds are Om and M. Time: 15 minutes
- Crown Chakra / Sahasrara
The the seventh chakra is the crown chakra and it is located at the top and slightly above the head in the area of the fontanel, the baby soft spot. It is associated with awakening cosmic consciousness, wisdom and spirituality through prayer, meditation and devotion. A balanced crown chakra is associated with having a crystal clear mind, cultivating awareness without thoughts, and being connected to unlimited individual spiritual experience. Likewise, it is being able to question, assimilate and analyze information, and to be totally present in the here and now. Its color can be either predominantly violet or white and its sound is NG (as in wing). Ultimately it is beyond sound. Time: 15 minutes
** Note: The Real Relaxation: Yoga Nidra CD by Julie Lusk includes a Chakra Mantra Meditation that uses all the chakra bija sounds. Get the CD.
Hatha Yoga Postures to Awaken the Chakras
The practice of hatha yoga is well known for improving flexibility and strength, and for having a positive impact on the body-mind. As important and powerful as this is, the essential benefits extend far deeper into our essence as human beings through the influence the postures have on the chakras: physically, psycho-energetically and spiritually.
From the earliest beginnings of the tradition, certain postures have been recognized as being particularly powerful and effective for opening, aligning and balancing the chakras individually and as a whole. Many of these postures are listed on the chakra chart. Please consult a qualified yoga teacher or refer to instructional materials on hatha yoga for further information and instructions for the postures.
To help get you started, one posture is described. Kneel on the floor with your shins and the tops of your feet on the floor. Lower your hips to your heels. For greater comfort, place a pillow over your calves and a small rolled towel under your ankles as needed.
Paradise Present: Yoga Meditation Practices
Meditation is practiced for all sorts of purposes ranging from its ability to lower blood pressure to reaching enlightenment. Meditation is the general term used to refer to both the practice of meditation techniques and refers to the various states achieved through meditation, both mental and non-mental.
Namaste’ is a sign of respect and means “I honor the divine light that shines in me and I honor the divine light that shines in you,” or “the spirit in me honors the spirit in you”. The practice is to bring the palms and fingers together in front of your heart in the prayer position while giving a nod of your head to the person being acknowledged. This hand gesture is also called Namaskar or Anjali Mudra.
- Journey to the Core by Christopher Baxter
This practice accomplishes a few interconnected goals. First it helps to structurally open and expand the respiratory activity of the torso, belly and back – giving us an open door into the core. Next, the use of sound facilitates the release of habitual emotional tension in those areas as the sounding gives the nervous system a message that ” all is well, it’s safe to let go, and I can relax now”. This helps us move into a felt, sensory awareness of our core. An inner knowing, or mindfulness, arises. Finally, when we rest in this core of awareness, rooted in our body, we have no doubt as to whom we are. We directly perceive our Self as the reality of this moment. Time: 12 – 15 minutes
- Gazing/ Trātaka
Trātaka is great for focusing an overly active mind. The wandering mind is quickly settled by gazing steadily at an object. The eyes alternate between focusing outwardly with the eyes open and then inwardly with the eyes closed. According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the purpose of gazing is to arouse the internal vision and to make the vision steady by stopping the eye movements. Doing so unites and integrates the brain and the eyes. Time: 10 to 20 minutes
- My Thoughts are Made of Consciousness: Working with the Mind: The Energy behind Thinking by Sally Kempton
This practice can be a meditation in itself, yet it is most transformative when we use it along with our other meditation practice as a way of dealing with distracting or intrusive thoughts and mental static. Its power lies in the fact that it allows us to integrate our thoughts into our meditation, rather than looking at thoughts as obstructions or becoming distracted by them. Time: 10 to 20 minutes
- The Inner Eye of Awareness
This meditation opens the door to your inner awareness and to a place of deep inner stillness by focusing your awareness upon the inner pulsation that is seen behind the closed eyes. Yogis have used this practice for thousands of years. This practice can be a meditation in itself, yet it is most transformative when we use it along with our other meditation practice as a way of dealing with distracting or intrusive thoughts and mental static.Time: 10 to 20 minutes
- Om Mantra or Chant
Om is a powerful sound vibration, considered as sacred, that has been meditated on silently or chanted aloud for well over 5000 years. It is said to be a universal mantra and serves as the root sound for Amen and Shalom. In fact, yogi’s claim it is the root sound for all other sounds. Om represents the four states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, sleeping, and transcendental, as well as the past, present and future. The Sanskrit symbol for Om is comprised of three separate Sanskrit letters and it looks like . Time: 8 to 10 minutes to learn and the practice length is variable
- Om Meditation
Om can effectively be used as a mantra for meditation. Choose a mantra and practice it regularly. Notice the effects it has for you. After a while use a different one and feel what is unique to that mantra. From this process of experimentation and discovery, select one that resonates for you. Time: Variable
- Om Mantra
The repetition of a mantra is called japa and it can be done out loud, whispered, or silently. There are thousands of mantras from which to choose. Mantras can be a sound, word or phrase and can be in any language, although in yoga, they are commonly done in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. Each mantra has its own signature vibration to discover. Several examples are given in the guided Om Meditation that precedes. Time: Variable
Mindfulness is the essential practice of being present in the moment. Once learned, it can be done in any situation and at any time. In the beginning, it is best learned through a regular daily practice. Start with 5 to ten minutes once or twice daily as a formal sitting practice, and gradually increase over time. Establishing a formal practice makes it easier to remember to practice mindfulness at other times.
- Walking Meditation by Charles MacInerney
Walking Meditation is easy to practice, and enhances physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It is a wonderful initiation for beginners into the art of meditation and seasoned meditators appreciate all the advantages of the practice, as well as the opportunity for a moving meditation. It is especially effective for those who find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time. Time: 15 to 60 minutes
Timeless Treasures: Reflecting and Contemplating on the Wisdom of Yoga
The meditations and reflections that follow answer the age-old questions concerning who am I, what is my true nature, what is my purpose, how do I handle obstacles and suffering, and what gifts come from living within the path of yoga. The insights that follow are from the perspective of yoga’s wisdom teachings that originated over 5000 years ago in India. Originally, these teachings were revealed to yogis in meditation when their hearts and souls became unified with and established in the oneness of the universal intelligence. Their students then memorized and orally passed this wisdom down from generation to generation until they were written down in Sanskrit.
The lessons that follow come from English translations of the Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. As in the traditional way, it is recommended that the following teachings be listened to and reflected on as they are read out loud. Likewise, reading and contemplating upon each of them will be helpful as well, perhaps meditate on a new one each day. Most of all, the Upanishads teach over and over again that true understanding comes from the experience of living and breathing these lessons on a daily basis. So please, take the teachings from these writings into your life by finding your own personal way of doing so.