I’m a total multi-tasker. At this very moment I have 5 internet tabs open, I’m stretching my neck, and answering the office phone.
Most of the time I like this, it keeps me entertained and on task. It also keeps me distracted. It causes me to avoid just being.
My earliest memories of yoga and meditation are from when I was just a little girl of 4 or 5. Mom taught hatha yoga in a sunlight, third floor studio and I would sometimes have to sit on the sidelines and color or nap during class. I can’t picture any of the students or even the postures they practiced but I can hear my momma’s soothing voice talking them through the final relaxation, corpse pose.
I flirted with yoga in junior high but didn’t fall in love until about 16 when I first experienced Vinyasa. This flowing, dancey form of yoga opened up new worlds in my body and my mind and I found it rather natural to practice a moving meditation. My mind was clear and focused as I let my body ride from warrior to down-dog Post-practice I felt refreshed, calm, and confident.
Yoga classes and practices often include a very short seated meditation and a final relaxation and I welcomed those quiet, still moments, as long as they were book-ended with lots of movement.
The idea of mediation has appealed to me for a long time but perhaps I was just posturing, pun intended, because whenever I would attempt it I failed miserably.
Well, my mediation time has come. It’s something that I’ve been feeling like I need for a while now but you know how it goes, sometimes it’s hard to give ourselves exactly what we need; change is hard and sometimes uncomfortable. Adding meditation into my life is a change.
I am no authority on mediation. In fact, I sometimes feel like I am clueless about it. Here’s what I do know though and why I am starting to practice it more regularly.
- When I sit I have a lot of thoughts come up, naturally. It helps me to visualize those thoughts as happening in cartoon-like bubbles; forming, floating away from me, and quickly popping.
- I sometimes use a mantra, an idea, or a single word or emotion to help focus my energy and mind as I sit.
- I read once about a daily meditation where you sit and focus everything you have on sending out love to those people most important to you. One of my desires with practicing meditation is to become more compassionate and less reactionary and defensive so this style of meditation appeals to me.
- I personally always set a timer for my meditations, usually from 3-5 minutes. This is a really short time and honestly barely long enough but it is achievable to me. Over time I can see that I will need and want to carve out more space and time for certain meditations.
- Usually I sit cross-legged. Sometimes I sit up straight but with my back against a wall for support. If my hip flexors are feeling tight, or I’m sitting for a longer time, I may put a folded towel or something under my hips to boost them up higher than my knees and feet.
- Meditation feels incredibly nurturing to me. When my little cricket timer goes off I thank and congratulate myself for being good to me, for taking time out to take care of myself. Similarly to practicing vinyasa, mediation leaves me calm, focused, and with a certain sense of self-confidence and security.
- I like mediating with a little ambient noise, not music with lyrics or others’ conversations but distant street sounds or birds chirping.
- I’m kind of terrified of a meditation group or class. Sitting still for any longer than 10-15 minutes sounds like mild torture. I’ve done this only a few times in the past and each times I felt distracted, uncomfortable, and like a bad yogi. Things change though, maybe I would feel differently now. I’m going to face my fear and attend a class in the next few weeks.
Do you meditate? Please share your knowledge, experience, and tips!
Hi Faith! I love this post! I have “tried” to make meditation a habit for a few years now, and have struggled for a multitude of reasons (too busy, I simply forget, get frustrated, etc). About a month ago I saw a link on Pinterest of all places, for a Perfect Health meditation challenge that Oprah and Deepak Chopra put together so I thought it’d be a great opportunity to give it another shot (I love Deepak!!). Each day was a different meditation where Deepak would talk about a topic, give a thought for the day, and provide a different mantra for you to focus on (and he, of course, would mind the time :)). I loved it so much I purchased the series! Since starting the practice, I’ve done it every day except one (I was out of town and had technical issues where I couldn’t access it), and each session is ~16 minutes, with the actual meditation about 1/2 of that. 16 minutes sounds like a LONG time but it’s been really nice to take the time, breathe and start my day with a good perspective.
I love your thoughts about meditation (especially the thoughts are like cartoon bubbles – I’m going to use that!) and I think we just have to learn from our individual as well as shared experiences. I’m excited to hear how your group meditation goes! Don’t be too hard on yourself if it seems difficult, just breathe through it and let it take you where you will go! 🙂 Take care!
Thanks for sharing Becky. A few other readers mentioned the 21 day meditation to me as well and I think my brother in law is doing it (and really enjoying it!). I feel like mediation is one of those things that I want in my arsenal, like running and journaling, something I have available to me when I need it.
I have never been a good meditator. A few years back I went on my first three day silent retreat wit several 40 minute meditations a day. My first thought at my first sitting was, what was I thinking? That progressed to, I don’t have to stay here, I am an adult I can leave anytime I want to. Since there was noble silence there were no cell phones or Internet service. We were asked to bring no reading material. Their books were covered by a curtain. A couple of times during free time I wandered around the parking lot reading bumper stickers. But……….by the third day I could sit on my cushion and be right THERE. I still try to sit daily and I sit with a group once a week. Now I alway make my retreat a yoga/meditation retreat.
Nice! I love reading about your experience, it’s very inspiring.
The Metta practice would probably be appealing and feel very helpful to you. It is a Buddhist practice, but is applicable to everyone. I come back to it often. May you be full of loving kindness, may you be happy, may you be well, may you be peaceful and at ease. Or something along those lines ;). Best of luck and thanks for the reminder to meditate.
Thanks Nat! I’d love to talk more about the Metta practice sometime.
this post caught my eye because I’ve been practicing meditation in a group for the first time in my life for the last 6 months and it has been WONDERFUL. We only sit for about 20 minutes at a time but it definitely took working up to (I started with 5 minutes in the morning at home first). We also do walking mediation for about 20 minutes, guided meditation and singing! It is in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh. I never expected to love group meditation so much, but I do! At the end of the practice there is time for us to share how our practice is going, moments of joy, struggle, etc. Anything related to our spiritual life. I feel so much support from these people that I only spend 2 hours with each week. I highly recommend giving a group a try and going a few times before deciding if it is for you. Most of all I think mediation should be a joyful practice – so find a group that laughs, smiles, and is flexible. I never expected to like the singing so much but it’s lovely.
Thanks for sharing, I want to join your group! I’ve never been very comfortable singing or chanting but do find it incredibly therapeutic. Sometimes when I get stuck in my home meditation practice I hum or om very softly to refocus my mind. And it feels amazing to belt out with the radio in the car with the windows down! I know nothing about singing, doubt that I can even carry a pitch (is that even the way to say it?), but have often said that in my next life I want to be a singer. Thanks for reiterating what a valuable part of the practice this can be!
So proud Yes SimplySit and SimplyBreathe and feel the Oneness as you hail and jump on the Bliss Bus!
So Proud LOVE