Meditation and subsequent trance, also known as samādhi, purely depends upon breathing pattern and the quality of food consumed. Quality of food has direct relevance to the quality of prāṇa that circulates inside our body. Prāṇa plays an important role in energy level of the body. Generally, we derive energy from three sources. One is the sunlight, second is prāṇa and the third is the quality of food we consume. The best way to get sun energy is through the nape of the neck where medulla oblongata is situated. If we expose nape of the neck to the morning sun, medulla oblongata automatically draws energy from sun light. We can also visualize that energy is being drawn by medulla oblongata and enters our entire body. Three to five minutes is sufficient for this practice.

We inhale prāṇa along with our regular breath. The best way to draw maximum prāṇa is to practice abdominal breathing. This way of breathing contracts and expands diaphragm (a muscular partition separating the abdominal and thoracic cavities; functions in respiration) which in turn contracts and expands lungs. Over a period of time, one should change his breathing this way, which can be done in less than a week’s time. When the lungs are filled with prāṇa, outermost blood vessels of the lungs draw more prāṇa and circulate to the entire body. There is difference between prāṇa and air. Air enters in and out of the lungs only, whereas prāṇa prevails throughout the body in five different qualities.

With regard to food, Ayurveda suggests that one should drink a full glass of normal water (neither hot nor cold) on getting up in the morning in empty stomach. Green vegetables, yoghurt, milk and milk related products and fruits should form the major portion of our dishes. Ayurveda advocates that one should not have fried food, too much of coffee and tea and aerated drinks. Consumption of salt and sugar should be drastically reduced. We should also ensure flexibility in our bodies. A few stretching exercises are more than sufficient to cake of this issue. If flexibility is not ensured, it could cause blockages in energy movement. Similarly, Ayurveda suggests that one should walk 100 steps after food and any overdoing is not permitted.

Breathing rate vs heart rate:

There are two types of breathing. One is diaphragm breathing, which is also known as abdominal breathing. In this type of breathing, breathing is deep and slow. Another is thoracic breathing, where breathing is not related to diaphragm and breathing here is shallow and fast. One should follow only diaphragm breathing.

Inhalation should be done slowly, steadily and deeply. Exhalation should also be slow and complete. Pace of breathing is directly related to heart and mind. If breathing is slow and deep, it marginally reduces number of heart beats per minute. Similarly, if the breathing is slow and deep, it purifies the mind from innumerable thought processes. When mind is more or less cleansed, the brain also takes rest from its hectic activity. If the brain takes rest, the body also takes rest and net result is lesser consumption of oxygen. Over a period of time, one should be able to reduce the number of breathing cycles to 5 or 4 per minute. There is no need to hold the air (no kumbhaka).

Sitting posture:

Ideal posture would be to sit in half lotus position (ardhapadmāsana). If this is not possible, one can sit on a chair or couch, etc. In the meditation that we are going to discuss here, it would be ideal to sit very close to a wall or some rest leaving at least one foot gap between the spine and the wall. One should never rest his back on anything while meditating, as they will cause obstruction in the movement of prāṇa in the spine. Spine should be kept erect and head should be tilted slightly backwards. Position of the head varies from person to person and the correct position can be ascertained by slightly moving the head forwards and backwards. If one does not feel any pressure in the neck area, it means that the position of the head is right. Another important point to remember is to leave some gap in armpits. Upper arms should not be kept close to the thoracic sides. It would be ideal to keep elbows 3” to 4” away from outer side of thoracic region. If one is sitting on a chair, feet should be placed flat on the ground.

Concentration on mantra:

It is always ideal to go with only one mantra. Multiple mantras will never help. There are two ways of meditating on a mantra. One should never meditate on more than one mantra. The first option is to align the mantra with one’s breath and this has already been discussed in the article Aligning Breath With Mantra.

The alternate way is to concentrate on the forehead area (ājñācakra). Visualize a mantra at ājñācakra (mantra and devata are same). Focus at ājñācakra during inhalation and exhalation. This focus will be easier when the mantra is fully aligned with one’s breath. Visualize, that during inhalation inhaled air, filled with mantra enters ājñācakra and during exhalation, visualize that mantra goes out from ājñācakra along with breath and the cycle is repeated. After a few minutes, one will lose his concentration on the mantra. The recitation of mantra will stop on its own. At this stage, breathing will slowdown further. Any voluntary movements in the body will stop on their own. But it is essential that one takes the most comfortable sitting posture that perfectly suits him. It is not the posture that is important, but sitting in the same posture without any movement, at least for about an hour is essential. This duration can be increased gradually from ten minutes to an hour.

There are two purposes for fixing our attention on a mantra. When one’s attention is fixed on a mantra, his mind does not waver. Mind should never be made idle, as an idle mind either attempts to dwell in the past actions or thinks about some possible future actions. When attention is fixed on ājñācakra, the psychic chakra for the mind, potency of the mantra begins to pervade the mind and makes all out attempts to make the mind free of through processes. This way, not only the mantra becomes effective, but in the process, mind is also cleansed.

The practice:

Sit erect in order to keep the spine straight. Take the most comfortable position. Do a few rounds of abdominal breathing without mantra, concentrating only on the breath. While doing this, any stiffness in the body will be removed. Close the eyes, focus both the eye balls on ājñācakra and try to look down, as if one is residing at ājñācakra. This look should be from within. {This part is difficult to explain, at the same time, this is very important. Let us assume that one hammers one inch nail from ājñācakra. Let us also assume that the tip of the nail has eyes. These eyes (tip of the nail) look down (say throat) from the central point of the forehead (where pineal gland is placed). This is how the look within should be.} It will take a few minutes to settle down on this. Once concentration is fixed on the throat area by looking within, vibrations can be felt around ājñācakra and above. These vibrations will be highly soothing and relaxing, leading to intermittent and inexplicable happiness. If one continues to remain in this state, he can enter into the state of trance or samādhi,  losing his consciousness. During this state, breathing rate drastically comes down along with the heart rate. Mantra recitation will stop on its own, because his mind becomes inactive. Only his involuntary system functions.


Samādhi is the state of intent and absolute abstraction. Broadly, samādhi can be classified into sabīja samādhi and nirbīja samādhi. Bīja means seed and these types of samādhi-s refer to the state of trance with seed and trance without seed. In the case of former, seed is still there to grow. It is the preliminary stage of samādhi and in the case of nirbīja samādhi, there is no seed and there is nothing to grow beyond this. This is the stage when Divine Grace is showered on the yogi. When one comes out of this meditation, he could feel sleepy and when normal breathing is restored, activities in the body are restored. During nirbīja samādhi, one may appear as if he is dead, as his breathing, pulse rate and heart rate would have completely slowed down.


Divine Grace is the only essential factor in getting liberated. Divine Grace can be attained only during samādhi. When one enters the final stage known as nirbīja samādhi, Divine Grace will continued to be showered on him. Though he remains one amongst us, his commune with Brahman is established firmly. Either he becomes a Guru and shows ways of attaining liberation from his own experience or he stays away from the mundane world, enters the state of jīvanmukta, awaiting his death. When he enters the state of nirbīja samādhi, he becomes a jīvanmukta and the only difference between the two is that the former ensures that few others also attain liberation and in the case of the latter, he leads an isolated life. Beyond this, there is no difference between the two.