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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Meditate on This


It's always been easier for me to commit to my physical yoga practice than to a daily meditation routine.   Every New Years I vow to meditate, but I perpetually make excuses and give up.  Meditation is hard; it's boring.  I have too many things to get done...and mostly I don't get it.

My mom has been meditating since I was a kid.  I would burst into her bedroom in the early mornings to find her sitting upright in bed, palms open, serenely smiling, with an array of books scattered around her: Rumi, Hafiz, A Course in Miracles to name a few.

Here she is with me and my sisters.  I'm the one rocking a bonnet.




My mother's dedication was baffling to me.  How can it feel so good to do nothing at all?  I knew how delicious it felt to surrender into a nice, long hip opening sequence, but sitting still?...the marvel was lost on me.

When I first discovered yoga, I had bouqous of energy and determination.  I gripped, forced, perspired, and panted.  I yoga'ed my ass off.  Did you know that the definition of a yoga pose or asana is a comfortable seat?  Neither did I ten years ago.  Being comfortable was the least of my concerns.  It took me years to understand and feel that the postures are meant to be simultaneously challenging and relaxing.  Could it be that my experience with meditation is not so different from my progress on the mat?  Have I just been trying too hard?


Alas, I had!  Trying to meditate is precisely what had been standing in my way.

Here's what finally clicked for me and allowed me not only to meditate everyday but to actually enjoy it!:

No pressure baby, no pressure - I realized I was giving up on meditation so easily because I was putting pressure on myself to have a profound experience each time.  It is the nature of the mind to think and wander, and every attempt to quiet it down is valid and productive...even the ones where I fidget incessantly or think several times about what I want to eat for lunch that day.

I smile- I try to practice yoga with a smile and doing the same in my meditations has helped immensely.  It encourages me to enjoy the experience and stay positive.

I do it when it works for me- Ideally I like to meditate at my home before I leave for the day, but if I have a super early class or client, that most likely isn't going to happen.  If I have a leisurely morning at home, I meditate for fifteen minutes; otherwise, I'm doing it where and when I find a moment: in an open studio between classes, while my students are in savasana; on a sunny park bench, on the cross-town bus in a pinch.  Sometimes I get ten minutes; other days I can only sit for five.  No judgement, no sweat.

I accept and love myself  more today than I did when I first tried meditation.  If you don't love You, why would you want to spend time with yourself?  The whole self love, confidence thing is the grooviest part about getting older I think.


I'm a daydream believer- I like to start my meditations with a little daydream; I let my mind drift freely, landing on images of things I wish to manifest or bring into my life.  I allow these visions to fill me with joy, and then I let them go.  I come back to my breath, gaze through the space behind my forehead, continue smiling softly, and enjoy my own company.  ahhhh. sounds nice right?


 this is vacation meditation...



this is everyday meditation...



Both are bliss.

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