Another method of meditation developed in Vivekananda Kendra is Cyclic Meditation (C.M). A cyclic of alternating stimulation and relaxation is used to go into deep silence. It is inspired by a verse found in the ‘Gauda Pada Karika’ (commentary) of Mandukya Upanishad that runs as follows:-
Laye sambodhayet cittam viksiptam samayet punah
Sakasayam vijaniyat samapraptam na calayet. (Man. Karika-II.44)
In day to day life we relax deeply, through unconsciously, by stretching and relaxing through yawning. In Cyclic Meditation we stretch consciously and systematically and then relax using standing postures like Pada Hastasana, Ardha Chakrasana and Ardhakati Chakrasana and also using sitting asanas like Shashankasana and Ushtrasana. This provides stimulation at muscular level. The process begins with Tadasana that helps us centre our body. All the postures are performed with a slow speed maintaining internal awareness (observing, as a Sakshi, various changes in the system with eyes closed). Before starting Cyclic Meditation, one has to relax through a technique called I.R.T (Instant Relaxation Technique).
Instant Relaxation Technique: Lie down on your back (in the position of Shavasana). Tighten all the muscles from toes to top, part by part, and after tightening/stretching whole body, relax entire body in one go by loosening all the muscles at a time. This can be practiced separately also sitting on a chair to get quick relaxation. It takes hardly a minute to practice one round.
After practicing standing postures slowly, with awareness, one has to perform Q.R.T. (Quick Relaxation Technique). It takes about five minutes.
Q.R.T.: Lie down in Shavasana. Observe the movement of abdominal muscles. Be aware of the rhythmic heaving up and down of the abdominal wall. With inhalation the abdominal wall rises up. Feel energised with each inhalation. With exhalation the abdominal wall collapses. Feel relaxed with each exhalation. Merge in deep silence by chanting one akara (the AAA…..sound).
After gently coming up in sitting position from Q.R.T., perform slowly with awareness Shashankasana and Ushtrasana (Ardha Ushtrasana, if Ushtrasana not possible). Lie down for a long Shavasana (also called Deep Relaxation Technique or D.R.T.). Part by part, from toes to top, relax your whole body by moving the consciousness from one part to other. This may take about ten minutes. After that, slowly sit down in deep silence according to your time.
Apart from muscular stimulation in C.M., we use sound (chanting of Akara, Ukara, Makara and Omkara) and visual (attuning to vast ocean) stimulations as well to go deeper in silence.
This description is only to create an interest in C.M. and not the actual instructions. One should practice C.M. under the guidance of an expert teacher. A little modified form of C.M. is called SMET (Self Management of Executive Tension). For details, one can refer to the book on this topic, New Perspective in Stress Management published by the Kendra.