When I was in my very early 20s, my mom took me to a meditation class at her yoga studio. She loves yoga and meditation, and thought I could benefit from taking the class with her.
I HATED it.
Hated it. I remember opening my eyes what felt like every 2 minutes trying to find a clock to see if this freaking thing was over yet. What was the point of this? My mind was racing, my back hurt, I was uncomfortable and annoyed and OHMYGOSH is it time to go yet?!
I had no idea what would possess people to sit in silence for upwards of a half hour. I certainly did not feel calm, relaxed, zen, peaceful of any of the other benefits I was promised.
This brief foray into meditation scarred me and I did not attempt it again until I started practicing yoga regularly. We would have brief moments of meditation before and after class, and I found that now I was able to enjoy it. I was different – yoga had opened me to new possibilities for myself. (Have I mentioned in this blog how much I love yoga?😀)
I started going to meditation circles, and practicing on my own. A few key things I learned:
-You do not have to sit stick straight while meditating. Certainly you want to have decent posture, but sitting your bony butt on the floor with your spine perfectly straight might not be the most relaxing position for everyone. Find what works for you! Get a meditation cushion or a back jack, even lie down if that’s what you need (you’ll probably fall asleep).
-You don’t actually even need to SIT. Walking meditations are possible and they are fantastic. I did walking meditations at the labyrinth at the Kripalu yoga center, but I’ve also done them on the streets of Hoboken.
-You do not need to carve out an hour. Go with what works for you, find what you need. Meditations can be a minute, five or ten, or an hour. It’s a personalized practice and NOT a competition.
If you’re looking to get started at home, find a meditation video on YouTube! Gabrielle Bernstein has some great ones. You can even search for specific meditations such as a one minute meditation or a meditation for sleep. There are a plethora of meditation apps- I like Insight Timer. Look for a meditation circle in your area -check yoga studios or Meetup groups – or start you own!
Meditation is a great way to calm our monkey minds. It reduces our stress levels, decreases anxiety, and allows us to become more self aware. It increases your focus, can even help lower blood pressure. It’s so worth a try – and it’s great to have a peaceful retreat into yourself.