Do you look ‘outside’ for things to ‘fix you’, make you feel good? Maybe food, nice (expensive) things, alcohol, medication, other people? My first meditation teacher, Deepak Chopra, taught me that true wellbeing comes from within. He helped to shatter the myth that there is a pharmaceutical solution (or ice cream solution) for all of life’s problems (health or otherwise) and introduced me to techniques that unleash our body’s natural and miraculous power to heal itself – a big one being meditation.
For me it’s a huge, HUGE part of my yoga practice. Which is why it’s on the timetable for FREE here at Yoga Local – we all need to be doing this.. seriously.
Yoga Begin graduate, Paul Warner, talks this week about why meditation has become a big part of his journey … and to get you started on your path… I’ve got a teeny, tiny challenge you might enjoy…
Yoga – My Journey | Week 6 | Meditation
by Paul Warner
For a couple of years now, I was searching for ‘something’ I wasn’t sure what but I looked at all sorts of things from religion to retreats and everything in between. Now as some of you will have picked up from my first blog, I am a shy person who generally prefers my own company. Yoga was not on my radar and it only really appeared when Yoga Local opened here in the courtyard where I work. Talking to Josie, over the phone on day one, before she moved in, I felt a connection. Something stirred in my head. The connect came because Josie doesn’t just teach yoga, she teaches wellbeing and to stop ourselves getting in the way of ourselves. Part of this practice, and for me a significant part, is the meditation.
I had many questions, top of the list was ‘how do I know if I am doing it right?’
Josie as always, had the answer. A good meditation, she voiced, will be over before you know it, the time will just vanish. So I tried… Now for me, when I go to sleep, I close my eyes, my mind goes blank and usually within 30 seconds, I am sleeping so having to close my eyes but stay consciously aware, was going to be a challenge!
I tried a couple of apps. Headspace first, then Josie recommended Insight Timer, which was more suited to me. Like anything, I was asked to stick with it, to try and meditate every day. To help me, I was invited to sign up to a 21 day meditation challenge online, hoasted by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra.
Because I was running around in my busy life, I missed the first four days.. not a great start. Not to be put off, I vowed to catch up so meditated twice a day for a few days until I was back on course. This was called guided meditation, a spoken voice suggests a path for your mind to explore, and then you allow thoughts to come and go, not placing any attachment, just letting them drift in and out. Sometimes it might just be a question ‘what is my purpose?’ but it always allowed for free thought. To stop your mind drifting too far, a mantra can be repeated softly in your head, like a radio playing in the background. Ohm Daksham Namah (I am Pure Awareness, Potential, Possibility).
Now, I have to confess that on three separate occasions, I have closed my eyes for my evening meditation and awoke full clothed the next day.
The key is to relax but not fall asleep, so that level of conscious awareness you have just before the alarm goes off, something around that level. Now, I have to confess that on three separate occasions, I have closed my eyes for my evening meditation and awoke full clothed the next day.
My excuse, is that I struggle to find a comfortable position when I am seated so I lay down normally, with a block or small book just underneath my head, supporting my neck. Arms out by my side, palms facing up which opens out my chest and start just by taking a few deep breaths in and out, just settling myself. Comfort is queen. So I spend some time pruning my nest a bit like a cat in their cat bed. Then I am there, float my eyes closed and listen to the soothing voice that guides me… bliss.
As part of my meditation journey, I explored a practice with David Jii. His was a whole new experience. The guided bit was there at the start but then he just stopped talking, no background music, no nothing. My head just exploded with thoughts. Woah, what the bloody hell just happened…? I tried again for the next couple of days and just slowly increased my meditation time. I have got as far as 30 mins but my comfort zone is around 20 mins. Long enough to do me some good but short enough to fit into even the busiest of days.
Here we are at the second month of me practising yoga and I now meditate every single day, sometimes twice a day. There is no excuse. I don’t need to buy equipment, or even leave the room I am in. And BEST of all, I am alone, in my head, some me time no matter what chaos is happening in the world outside, that’s worth any price, right?
Yoga Local offers free meditation sessions six times a week so it looks like you don’t have an excuse either – see you there.
Want some help with getting into a meditation practice? It’s all about the baby steps.. lean into the direction you want to go and check out this post Josie wrote a while back (January 2017 to be specific). Or as Paul said… get your meditation butt over to Yoga Local at Nene Court, Wellingborough on one of the many days Josie offers FREE guided meditation. You choose.