Updated: May 20, 2020
Beginning any practice starts with having the tools to support the practice. Meditation is not different in that regard. One of the first things required to establishing a good meditation practice is having a dedicated place to meditate. This special meditation spot can be designated by acquiring a special piece of cloth called an asana. An asana is typically a square piece of wool that often has a decorative band of silk around the edges.
The asana is helpful for many reasons. It helps to align the practice with dedication. It assists in recognizing the meaning of the practice by giving a special place for meditation to be performed. A honored place to connect with the highest part of the self in order to freely expand the minds potential. This helps to set the intention for honoring a sacred practice of connection. In the beginning this can help build excitement for doing the practice and with continued use build a fondness in routine to help establish continued practice.
As a meditation practice develops the mind becomes accustom to becoming silence and calm as it returns to the asana. It is believed that with regular use this particular piece of cloth will help to retain the spiritual energy generated within the meditation practice.
Typically the asanas are treated with great respect as receptacles for the energy within the practice being cultivated and are not washed unless heavily soiled. As such, asanas are not shared as the specific energy of each individual is held within the special meditation mat from that particular persons' practice. No other activity is done while on the meditation mat. It is used singularly for meditation. This protects the integrity of the practice.
It is recommended to have a specific place to practice meditation in order to create consistency along with a designated time of day. Consistency helps to build a meditation practice and encourages a greater depth within the practice. Typically practice begins with bowing to the mat before taking a seat in an act of inner reverence to the divine principle being honored within the practice. Meditation can be varied with the use of japa (mantra repetition), silent, or with the use of different techniques. Every type of meditation will benefit equally having a dedicated space to practice. When meditation is complete, simply fold up the asana and place it away for later use.
The portability of an asana allows the meditation practice to be taken outside into nature, or to join groups of meditators in other settings. The asana is a special tool that helps to elevate a meditation practice through the simplicity of intention and supported focused energy. It is also a nice way to claim a personal outer place for honoring an inner practice. It is important to note that socially it is consider inappropriate to step on another person's asana, always walk around the asanas showing the same respect for their practice as your own. The asana can be thought of as the seat of the soul's inner practice.
Some people see the asana as a doorway to another dimension, while others see it as a grounding tool for inner peace. Meditation is a practice that offers the practitioner a way to tap into the infinite potential of their inner self. The key to that potential is a consistent practice. Using a simple square to set an intention is one way to cultivate that potential. The asana most definitely offers an advantage to allowing the individual to attain a consistent practice by giving a special place to be honored.