Today I am introducing what may be the most effective concentration/meditation technique that I have encountered in my training and practice. It frequently helps to remove the attachments and fluctuations from my mind so that I can focus on my breath and generate positive energy.
The technique is called Hong Sau – a name that originates from the Sanskrit word Hamsa which means Holy Gander (that migrates back to its spiritual home). Its concept is symbolic. Geese migrate or wander; yet no matter how far they fly from home, they always return. Like the gander, we strive to migrate back to our higher self or spiritual nest so that we may experience joy and contentment. In order to progress we must adapt to our environments. Although the goose lives on water, its feathers are not wetted by it. Similarly a practitioner of Hong Sau learns to live in his/her physical world, without grasping for things, physically, mentally or emotionally.
Use of Hong Sau technique for concentration & meditation:
Hong Sau is explained in ancient yoga scriptures as the sound of the subtle breath itself. The entry of prana (energy) into the body (during an inhalation) creates the sound “hong.” While the ejection of prana out of the body (during exhalation) generates the sound “sau.” Each word is said to have a meditative effect on the mind when connected to the breath.
How to Practice Hong Sau Kriya:
Hong Sau is a silent meditation technique or action (Kriya). Generally, it can be practiced at anytime, anywhere. However, like other breathing or meditation methods, it is most effective if practiced at a consistent time in a seated, upright position. I find it provides the most benefit when performed after my pranayama (breathing) routine. If you would like more guidance on developing a full breathing/meditation practice, click here.
Hong Sau Kriya
Begin in a comfortable seated position, with your hands resting in your lap, palms facing upwards.
Closing your eyes, gaze gently at the area between your eyebrows.
Allow yourself to focus on the breath:
- With each inhalation, silently chant the word Hong (pronounced like the city Hong Kong).
- As you exhale, silently chant the sound Sau (pronounced like the word saw).
When the breath stops, the silent mantra should cease. Likewise, when the breath flows, the mantric sound flows.
After 2-3 minutes, permit the mantric vibration to recede and sit quietly.
Remaining still immediately afterwards will give the mind time and space to receive any new thoughts. This may only occur during your next few breaths (or sometimes just for the length of time between breaths). During this brief period, a solution to a problem may arise. Or, you might feel a great burden lift and a new sense of clarity emerge. I have also experienced a general attitude change – one that is more enthusiastic or accepting. Not everyday will produce the same result. Be patient and kind, realizing that the practice is slowly unfolding you.
Essentially, it is the ritual’s intention to empty your mind of its gripping and distractions so that you may migrate back to your original home – a place of stillness, peace and contentment.