What is the best kind of meditation?
I would not call any method the best, as each person finds different method suitable for them. Let me share what I practice and what works for me.
I follow the meditation technique taught by Paramahansa Yogananda. It’s very simple and scientific. There is a connection between the breath and the state of mind. For example when you are agitated or angry, observe the way you breathe. It’s short and quick, running at the same speed of your mind. Observe the breath when you are falling asleep. It’s slowing down into soft and long breaths. We can use the same principle to our advantage – to use the breath to control our state of mind as well.
Here is the technique
Posture: Sit with your spine straight in a comfortable position. You can either sit in a chair or on the floor which ever is comfortable. Two things, however, are essential: your spine must be straight, and you must be able to relax completely without slouching.
Your eyes should be closed and held steady, looking slightly upwards, as if looking at a point about an arm’s length away and level with the top of your head. It is essential to keep your gaze gently raised to that point throughout your practice. This will magnetize your spiritual eye, and draw the energy to the highest spinal center, the seat of spiritual awakening in the body.
Even Count breathing: While you inhale, inhale deeply and count till 6 or 8 or 10, which ever is comfortable for you. Now hold your breath for the same count. Finally exhale your slowly for the same count. Keep repeating this for as long as you want. This is called even count breathing. This helps to slow down the breathing and regulate the length of the breath.
Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration: Now wait for the next breath to come in of its own accord. When it does, mentally say Hong(rhymes with song). This time, don’t hold the breath, but exhale naturally. As you do, mentally say Sau (rhymes with saw).
Hong-Sau is an ancient Sanskrit mantra. It means “I am He” or “I am Spirit.” Try to feel that your breath itself is silently making the sounds of Hong and Sau. Make no attempt to control your breath. Simply observe it as it flows in and out naturally.
In the beginning you may be mostly aware of the physical manifestation of the breathing process as your diaphragm and chest expand and contract.
As your breath grows calmer, however, try to become aware of its flow in the nostrils, then gradually transfer your awareness higher and higher in the nasal passages.
Keep your gaze steady at the point between the eyebrows throughout your practice. Don’t allow your eyes to follow the movement of the breath. If you find that your mind has wandered, gently bring it back to an awareness of the breath and the mantra.
Sit in the Stillness: Finish your practice of Hong-Sau by inhaling once through the nose, then exhaling three times through the mouth, and then forget the breath.
Concentrate deeply at the point between the eyebrows. Keep your mind focused and your energy internalized. Absorb yourself in the peace generated by your practice. Continue for at least five minutes.