Let's talk meditation...
When I first started meditating, I had no idea what I was doing. I even felt a little foolish doing it. I had already been doing yoga for a while but meditation was never a part of my practice. Part of this was due to a lack of knowledge. I had no clue how start a meditative practice and it seemed kind of pointless. However, the more I kept practicing yoga the more I had an interest in challenging myself to just sit down. And I say challenge because I never just sit down, I am never idle.
I’ve heard so much from other yogis about meditation as a practice to help our overall well-being. When I started a little over a year and a half ago, the word meditation felt a little too intimidating. Still, I became curious about the supposed benefits of a meditative practice and I wanted to give it a try.
When I first introduced meditation into my life I started with 5 minutes. I (wrongly) figured I could find 5 minutes out of my 15-hour day. I found that as much as I aimed to sit down and meditate every day, sometimes I couldn’t find the time.
I decided that instead of “finding the time” in my day, I would make it a part of my routine. When I tried to meditate at night, I often fell asleep instead. So I started doing it when I woke up. I sat comfortably over a cushion, closed my eyes and started to tune into my breath. Eventually I found that focusing my eyelids to the place in-between my eyebrows helped my concentration. In the beginning, I tried not to get overwhelmed by the idea of getting rid of ALL my thoughts because that seemed too impossible of a task. I had a timer with me and knowing that it will tell me when time was up REALLY helped me relax and allowed me to stay for the whole 5 minutes.
Through my research, I found many different types of mediation and I tried a few of them, though not all. I wanted to see what would work best.
Mantra Meditation: I love using the repetitions of mantras to focus my mind. I typically use the natural mantra Soham (so = “I am” and hum = “that”). As I inhaled, silently I would say “so” and as I exhaled, I would say “hum.”
Vipassana Meditation: I started this technique by practicing mindfulness of breath. I pay attention to the rising and falling of my breath.
Gazing Meditation (Trataka): This is one of my favorite types of meditation. Focusing my gaze on a single object, like the flame of my candle. I start with my eyes open and then I close them as I keep the image of the candle in my mind.
Sometimes I don’t have time to do it in the morning, so I tried guided meditations at night and this helped prevent me from falling asleep.
With time I have gradually increased my mediation time, I added more time until I reached a time I can manage to do everyday. I have just recently started to introduce pranayama (breathing) exercises before I meditate and it helps my body relax even deeper. (Feel free to email me if you want to know what pranayama exercises you can do!). A regular meditation practice has helped me in so many ways! Firstly, I have begun to connect with my inner self. And secondly, I have a tendency to get stressed easily and meditation has become a tool to help lessen the level of stress and ease anxiety. Even though meditation was a little weird at first and unknown territory, the more I did it the more comfortable it became.