The Yoga Sutras, the basis for our practice, states the reason for this WHOLE experience, this whole journey that we call yoga is “Citta vritti nirodha” or, “Yoga is the quieting of the fluctuations of the mind. The entirely of the Yoga Sutras, or the threads that bind and weave together this wonderful practice, are all in the service of quieting the mind. Should you choose to dive into the Sutras in a deeper way, there are so many nuggets of wisdom, and so many processes to help us find our own path. The important part of that, is to find our own path… a way of quieting the mind that resonates with us, that works with our own lives and way of engaging with that practice.
That said, there is no yoga path that does not include meditation as a component. For some of us this is a terrifying concept. Sitting in stillness for an undefined time, nope. Recently, in a discussion with a dear friend, I described it as treadmill time. If you’ve ever spent time on a treadmill, time behaves very differently there. When it feels as though I’ve been running for ONE HOUR, it has, alas been 3 minutes. She laughed, and said, yup, that was where she was currently with her meditation practice. Treadmill time. Every minute feels like 42, and that it will NEVER END. I asked her if that was amusing after the fact, and she agreed that it was.
Patience with ourselves as we begin a meditation practice, or begin again, is such an important thing to do. Recently in the 4 Desires workshop, Laurie advised us, that in our first week, we shouldn’t ever try to meditate (which of course I took as a challenge :), and we should instead set the space. Try out the spaces where you might meditate. Sit for a few minutes. Close your eyes. Be aware of how it feels in that space. Send gratitude for yourselves for setting space. Send gratitude to you teachers, and the teachers of your teachers. Breath in a sense of light, a sense of love, and then, move about your day. This setting the space is more than just physical, it is also the time, energy, and the awareness part of the space as well. Make sure it feels right.
Once you feel like you have a good space going, add a breath awareness element to your practice. A great way to start is to simply notice the inhales, and notice the exhales. Another way to support yourself in this process is to name the parts of the breath. “I am inhaling.” “I am exhaling.” Once this feels like a nice flow, and grounding in it’s space, letting go of the ego connection and allowing it to be “Inhale.” “Exhale.”
Finding and noticing the breath is the foundation to any meditation practice, and part of our practice, is giving it the dedication that it deserves so that we may reap the benefits. So perhaps this first week you start with 3 minutes a day. Settle into your space, find the breath and notice it. Allow yourself to follow your intuition. When it feels like the time to go longer, go longer. If it feels like right now is the time to use a supporting app or CD, do it! There is nothing wrong with guidance and support in this!
Each month to come, we’ll offer up a technique to try, and a script, perhaps you can record yourself doing it, if apps aren’t your thing! There are ways to do this 🙂 Let’s do it together.