Any western book on meditation starts with physical techniques to condition mind.

Eastern books start with yama (non-violence, absence of falsehood, non-stealing, (ब्रह्मचर्य), absence of avarice and niyama (cleanliness of body and mind., satisfaction, austerity, study of the Vedic scriptures, surrender to (or worship of) God.)

For any higher spiritual growth our life and its activities must be based on sound moral and ethical principles obeying strictly the universal laws of cause and effect. The great Rishi Patanjali has summarized these principles under two stages.

The first is called ‘Yama’ which consists of basic values that brings about a purification of our external nature, behavior patterns, attitude and activities, leading to state of stable inner peace and free us from getting unnecessarily disturbed by people or environment outside of us.

The second stage is called ‘Niyama’ that involves purification of our inner nature so as to maintain a still higher degree of peace and stability. It is alter we have achieved a certain degree of this inner peace and harmony within us that we can then proceed on the hard and strenuous path of converting our human nature into divine nature.

You may practice physical techniques to control mind but do not forget to master Yama and Niyama. In our times where layer of ignorance is thickening day by day, if you cannot act as per all yama and niyama, start with one. For example Svadhyaya (Study of one’s own Self) – this one can do without any external interaction with the world.

Remember, without controlling gates of mind, i.e. senses, meditation is nothing but grand delusion.