Yogmata Keiko Aikawa is a world-renowned meditation master that is sharing her love and knowledge of meditation with everyday people. She encourages people across the world to incorporate yoga and meditation into their daily spiritual practices because it provides a safe space for individuals to look inward and connect with themselves. She believes yoga and meditation are spiritual practices that anyone can benefit from, no matter their religious background. It is universal.
Aikawa is the first non-Indian woman to realize the ultimate state of Samadhi, so you can say she is a bit of a guru. Samadhi is “a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation. In Hindu yoga, this is regarded as the final stage, at which union with the divine is reached (before or at death).” While most people will never be able to achieve that kind of success, yoga and meditation still present numerous benefits to those who practice it regularly.
The practice of yoga has become increasingly popular because it creates a space where one can free their mind and return to their most natural state. It can help lower one’s stress, develop feelings of gratitude, and increase your connection with nature. The biggest benefit, though, Aikawa says, is that it can give us a break from technology and our “unnatural” environments. This might mean taking a break from your laptop and smartphone to get out of the house and go on a hike. It could even just be taking five minutes a day to sit without any technological distractions.
“We have to temporarily switch off our senses and body in order to restore our naturalness, to awaken our true functioning. If we are constantly dependent and swayed by all kinds of unnatural things and technology…it dulls the natural functioning of the body and mind,” Aikawa wrote in an interview with Skylight.
“You should make time to actively step away from the machine and away from technology. This will create a situation where you don’t do anything. That’s what meditation is all about. Sit down without doing anything, without looking at anything, or listening to your work, or doing physical work, or moving somewhere else, or playing a sport. And you are in the present. This is how you go back to the natural state of doing nothing and not working. This is meditation. You force the mind and body to turn off the working switch and be at peace,” she continued.
Breaking away from technology gives one the ability to focus on their spiritual side without any distractions. It is not always easy to achieve a perfect state of meditation, but it is something that anyone can learn with practice and time. Meditation is about living in the present, letting go of the past, and not worrying about the future. It is a state of inner peace that allows us to find forgiveness and achieve clarity. It might sound complicated, but Aikawa says guided meditations are a great place to start.
“There are many ways to meditate, but if possible, the Himalayan Siddha meditation is the best way to practice as it guides you to the essence. The mind has been working constantly for hundreds of thousands of years, accumulating memories, and it wants to fulfill its wishes… These methods are taught to students at different levels – beginning, intermediate, and advanced – and they can be practiced in sequence according to the needs of the students.”
Not everyone has access to a spiritual teacher, though. That does not matter, says Aikawa, as long as you get started trying out something. Yoga and meditation are beneficial for all people for a lot of different reasons. Yoga works to improve your spiritual wellness by reducing emotional and physical strains on your mind and body. It can even boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and reduce depression, fatigue, and anxiety.
“Yoga and meditation are essentially about encountering God and encountering the truth. It organizes the body, controls the action, and regulates the breath so that you can regulate your inner self and even regain your naturalness. It dissolves the negative energy within, recharges energy further, and creates the energy to become more creative. It makes the world creative and filled with the energy of peace while destroying warring minds. The body and mind become rested, balanced, and at peace, while desires fall away, and we become better and more authentic people who respect each other. That’s why yoga and meditation are good for us.”
Aikawa says that meditation is how we can “clean up and restore” our true selves. These are healthy spiritual practices that you can use to look inward and uplift yourself. By practicing yoga and meditation regularly, you provide yourself a safe place to dive deep into the things that hold you back. Many people spend too much time doing things that drain them, but these spiritual practices can help reestablish, or even discover, the person you are. It is easy to fit into most daily spiritual routines, and the benefits are astonishing.