Meditation Methods and Spiritual Practices · Spiritual Practice Methods

AH-CHANTING: Heart Chakra Vitalization and Meditation Method

AH - Sufi Heart with Wings

AH-Chanting is a Sufi meditation method that can facilitate energetic renewal and uplift. By placing the sound “AH” at the heart chakra (felt within the mid-sternum and mid-shoulder blade spaces), vital energy (prana; chi) is stimulated through concentrated vibration, to circulate more freely and dynamically. This simple, enjoyable method contributes to emotional cleansing and helps inspire a vital awakening of one’s “compassionate heart.” (Sustaining the AH sound also assists in dispersing accumulated tension between the shoulder blades – a common modern affliction!)


  • Relax in a comfortable seated posture on a mat or in a chair. Close your eyes for easier concentration. Begin by localizing your awareness within the heart chakra. Feel the space.
  • Inhale slowly and comfortably deeply, feeling as if you are drawing breath-energy directly into the heart chakra. (If you visualize easily, see a cleansing-healing white mist entering and pervading your lungs.) Then, begin to produce the expansive sound “Ahhhhhhhhh,” at a low to medium pitch, evenly sustaining the sound for a comfortable duration. AH is felt to emanate and expansively radiate from within the heart chakra. (This emanation can be visualized as golden light.)
  • While replenishing your breath, continue to hear and feel the AH-sound. Then again, exhale sounding “Ahhhhhhhh,” steadily without strain. Enjoy several consecutive rounds maintaining your internally localized feeling focus. 5-10 rounds is sufficient as a lead-in to meditation practice, where additional methods might then be employed. However, if one will sustain this simple application alone, allowing fuller engagement and progressive opening, it can be a profound meditation in itself.

Maintenance Method: Periodically throughout the day center your awareness within the heart chakra, and endeavor to greet life from here. Also, when you have a quiet moment breathe rhythmically and gently a few times, as though directly in and out through this vital center as a cleansing action. This will help keep your heart chakra free of energetic congestion, dispersing inhibition and fear while instilling a sense of calm empowerment. With continued application of the AH-sound and heart chakra breathing, you will more easily enjoy and express the inherent unconditionally loving, expansive qualities of this “door of the heart.”

Meditation Methods and Spiritual Practices · Spiritual Practice Methods

Meditation as Spiritual Practice

Lia meditating - mt tamThe primary objective of meditation practice is the cultivation of clarified awareness. The process of meditation practice can be symbolized by a shaken jar of sediment-infused cloudy water (busy-mindedness), which is allowed to remain still for a period to reveal the inherent clarity of the water (permanent spiritual essence).

Meditation practice is the opportunity we ‘gift’ ourselves by focusing internally, to directly know the joyous fullness of timeless-being, above mind involvement. “Tranquil Sitting” is the Taoist term for meditation practice, which isn’t “passive sitting” but calm, alert presentness.

To Begin: Sit comfortably with spine and head vertically aligned (lightly lifted). Breathe slowly and comfortably deeply a few times to induce relaxation down through your body. When you feel physically settled, close your eyes gently. Be still, feeling poised and stable in your posture, whether in a chair or on a mat.

  1. Lift your awareness and direct a steady flow of attention to the internal space between your eyebrows and slightly above (soften your brow).
  2. Observe your breathing cycles without regulating them, feeling as if your breath is flowing in and out through the internal space between your eyebrows. Continue watching attentively, centering on inhalations, exhalations and pauses as they naturally arise.
  3. To assist your ability to remain focused on your breath, a one syllable word can be mentally intoned each time the exhalation issues. (As your breath flows out mentally sound “peace,” for instance.) Choose a pleasant word which carries uplift or represents spiritual meaning to you.

Further: Keep your practice simple, using this formula each time you sit. (Some like to begin their sessions with a prayer or spiritual invocation.) During practice, renew your focus when necessary to remain intentional. Begin with short periods while gaining proficiency in remaining attentive and physically comfortable in stillness.

While wholly engaged in the meditation process there comes a point where we spontaneously transcend our immediate focus. In this instant, we ideally shift in orientation from mind and sensory involvement first and foremost, to: unconditioned Seer (our innate spiritual Self, from which our individuality, mind and body derive).

Schedule time for yourself each new day for meditation. Quiet early morning time is suggested, though any opportunity for alone quiet time is useful for intentional inward turning and exploration. Meditating in the same space can be helpful toward consistency of success. Some like to sit before an alter with a photo or likeness of a spiritual mentor or meaningful items which inspire intentionality of purpose and convey uplift or remind us of our deeper, changeless nature.

I plan to share other meditation methods, but this simple procedure can facilitate a heightened, broadened perspective in consciousness.    

OM    Shanti   Peace

Spiritual Practice Methods

Alternate Nostril Breathing – Meditation Preparation Method

One of the most valuable yogic breath regulation methods is known as “Nadi Suddhi.” Nadis are subtle energy channels. Suddhi means purification. As a preparatory lead-in for meditation, this technique is very effective. By alternating the flow of air from one nostril to the other in rhythmic cadence (blocking one side then the other), a harmonized circulation of life-force (prana; qi) is induced through the three principal pranic channels: ida (cooling, yin, on the left side of the spine), pingala (heating, yang, on the right side) and sushumna (neutral, in the central spine). The medical symbol “caduceus,” is a representation of this spinal energy system: a staff bordered by serpents. Where the serpents (ida; pingla) intersect along the staff (sushumna), life-force distribution centers called “chakras,” are formed.

Approximately every two hours the airflow through one of the nostrils becomes dominant. This is a continuing, alternating pattern between the left and right nostrils when we are reasonably healthy. Nostril dominance indicates the currently prevailing life-force flow through either ida or pingala: when the ida channel is more functional, airflow through the left nostril is fullest and when the pingala channel is more energetically active, it is reflected in right nostril dominance. Erectile tissues within the nasal passages swell and shrink in a shifting pattern between left and right nostrils, partially obstructing the air flow on one side while opening the other. During the brief changeover period when airflow through both nostrils is even, life force circulates more dominantly through the central channel (sushumna), which is indicative of energetic balance and ideal for entering meditation practice. It is interesting that these three channels are influential in brain hemisphere function: an ida dominant flow corresponds to right brain function while a pingala dominant flow corresponds to left brain function. When sushumna is energetically dominant, brain hemisphere function tends to be equal and harmoniously unified.

If you have not been aware of the ongoing process of alternating nostril dominance, you might tune in periodically during the day. You will likely notice some characteristics that correspond to air flow dominance. Example: When air passes more dominantly through your right nostril, you will tend to have a genuine appetite and digestion will be efficient. You will most likely be action oriented. When air flows more evidently through your left nostril, you may be more emotionally centered, reflective, or inclined to rest.


Sit comfortably balanced with spine and head vertically aligned.  Breathe comfortably deeply a few times to induce relaxation.

Using your finger, gently block the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril slowly, evenly and completely.  Then, inhale through your left nostril slowly, evenly and comfortably deeply.  Pause for a few seconds then block your left nostril and repeat the process through your right nostril.  This constitutes one round.  Continue in a relaxed manner until you have completed 10 to 20 rounds or until you experience a shift toward greater tranquility and centeredness.  Following the exercise, flow into meditation as inclined.

Optional Mental Application:

While inhaling through your left nostril, visualize and feel the flow of life-force descending the left spinal channel (ida), then pause at the base of your spine. Exhale through your right nostril while visualizing and feeling the ascension of life-force through the right spinal channel (pingala). Then reverse the procedure.