In this lesson we have devoted a lot of our attention to the subject of meditation and meditational asanas. We have emphasized how important it is to be able to sit in one position without movement and without the distraction of the physical body. The first aim of medita-tional practice is to forget the body. However, the following practice, kaya sthairyam, seems to contradict this basic rule. During this technique one tries to be aware of the body to the exclusion of everything else. That is, instead of forgetting the body, one must try to accentuate awareness of the body. At first this may seem a little paradoxical. However, it is based on a good understanding of the workings of the mind.
The mind is like a little child. If you order a child to do something, he will quite often do the opposite. There appears to be a rebelliousness, a need to defy. The mind acts in the same way. If you force the mind to forget the body and be aware of another subject, it seems to suddenly develop a fascination for the body. The more you try to forget the body, the more difficult it becomes. Knowing this tendency of the mind, this practice adopts a contrary approach. That is, it almost forces the mind to be aware of the body for a long period of time. The mind, as usual, rebels. The mind automatically tries to think of something else and it forgets the body. And this is exactly the aim of meditational practices. After practising kaya sthairyam intensely for even a few minutes you will find that the awareness spontaneously directs itself inwards. One will automatically start to introspect.
Kaya sthairyam is an excellent technique for preparing your body and mind for other meditative practices. As such, it should be practised whenever possible prior to other meditational techniques.
The Sanskrit word kaya means ‘body’; the word sthairyam means ‘steadiness’. Therefore, this practice induces steadiness of the body.