Meditating is hard work for me. There, I said it. Whew! So, happy to get that off of my ego mind’s “What the heck, I’m a 15-year yogini who teaches for God’s sake and should be an expert meditator by now!” shoulders. But, now that I’ve confessed, I feel like I can better offer up a tip or two to my family, friends, and students on how to sit still, because we’re all in this together!
This idea of stillness and finding a physical and mental place to quiet the mind and find clarity is difficult for many of us to grasp when our lives are filled with teaching multiple yoga classes, cooking up breakfast, lunch and dinner for a teenager, the guy you love and clients, blogging, workshops, retreats, cleaning house, New York City,… Wait! Ok, so that’s my bit of craziness, but you get the drift. It’s tough. But, meditation/stillness/whatever you want to call it is absolutely, positively, without a doubt a necessary part of the yoga practice. Who doesn’t want ease and peace?
“Ok, I get it. Meditation rocks. So how do I get there, Tracye?”, you ask. Well, I’m definitely no guru, but I can share what’s working for me and maybe something might resonate with you.
Decide to practice
Meditating takes practice. It goes right along with showing up with our Lulu’s, fancy customized mat, and even fancier coconut water to turn ourselves inside and out like pretzels. You have to show up and practice. So, set aside (and I mean schedule it, like with an alarm on your phone or something) a time during the day, preferably first thing in the morning, when the powers-that-be say that our minds are the most open. Find a place that affords you the most quiet and the least distractions. Three days a week, I meditate in the steam room at one of my studios. Whatever it takes!
Breathe in, breathe out, and let it flow
Here’s the really hard part. Let go. Let go of what you think meditation is supposed to look like, what you’re supposed to or not supposed to think about. Just begin. Find an easy seat, close your eyes and begin to breathe. There’s no need for any fancy yoga breath. Just breathe. Decide to let whatever comes to mind come. No judgement if you start thinking about how badly you suck at meditating. Just let the thoughts come and go. Breathe in. Breathe out. See what happens.
I sat and watched a guy meditate in Central Park last summer for, well, forever! I thought, “Man! That’s how you get it done.” Not so for this gal at this point in my practice, it would seem. You might be thinking, I’m good for 5-minutes max. Ok, then start there. Get yourself a timer or alarm. Sometimes, I grab the $7.99 Duane Reade kitchen timer I use to bake bread. Hey, whatever works. The ticking actually becomes a form of mantra sometimes for me. Take the 5-Minute Meditation Challenge. Just sit, for 5-minutes each day for two weeks. It’s a start and we have to start somewhere. You might actually be surprised. That 5-minutes might only be 1-minute one day (Hey! It’s totally happened to me.) or you could find yourself in a 20-minute sit. You never know until you try.
There are a myriad of facts that support the benefits of meditation i.e. stress relief, better sleep, nicer, etc. It just works. Give it a try. I’ll be sending you “be still” vibes!
Talk back and let me know how it’s going for you!