I was first introduced to yoga in my teens, however it wasn’t until four years ago when my mum passed, that I embraced meditation as part of my daily yoga practice. Meditation saved me from being swallowed up in grief and regret, and since that day I have never looked back.
Prior to this meditation had always been on the periphery; a calming and often blissful experience I had whenever a yoga teacher brought it into a class, yet there was always a wall between me and starting my own regular practice. With the guidance of one of my teachers, I began my meditation journey using simple techniques involving breath awareness and mantra.
Simple but challenging
Although the techniques are simple, meditation can be challenging. Sitting there and just breathing can be trickier than it sounds. It can feel strange, uncomfortable, or even put you to sleep. You start to fidget, adjust your position, clothes, hair, anything to have something to ‘do’. Meditation is a process of purification and at times it can feel like a battle with yourself, your thoughts and your body as stuff comes to the surface to be released. But if you push through the uncomfortable moments, they start to fade away and cool stuff happens.
One of my favourite quotes is from Pema Chodron, a Tibetan Buddhist and meditation teacher, and whenever I’m feeling challenged/frustrated with my practice I remind myself of these words. Pema says; “the biggest problem I see with people’s meditation practice is that they quit just when things are starting to get interesting. Which is to say, they quit as soon as things aren’t easy anymore, as soon as it gets painful, or boring, or agitating. They quit as soon as they see something in their minds that scares them or hurts them. So they miss the good part, the wild part, the transformative part – the part when you push past the difficulty and enter into some raw new unexplored universe within yourself….Don’t rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you. Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding. Because that moment? That’s the moment when ‘interesting’ begins.”
So every morning I sit still and return to the breath. This daily ritual creates grounding that I haven’t found in other ways. It teaches me how to slow down from within and it sets me up for the day. I’ve come to love my daily meditation practice. I love that there’s no right or wrong way to do it and I also love that it’s transportable, I can meditate anywhere – and do.
Getting a routine
Here are some things that have helped me to establish a regular meditation practice:
Keep it regular and achievable
10 mins a day is all it takes. And try to guard your meditation time for the same time each day. This way your body remembers, knows it’s coming and can internalise more automatically
Restlessness and impatience are good!
These are usually the first signs of the purification or release process
Accept, accept, accept – whatever comes up.
Accept that the mind naturally fluctuates and view it as an observer. The more distance you have from thoughts, the more likely they will release.
It’s natural to lose focus. Don’t see it as setback but an opportunity to guide the mind back to your practice. And remember your breath is your friend, your anchor, it brings you back to your practice
If you are curious about the impact meditation can have on your life, I encourage you to just start.
The best meditation of all is . . . the one you will do. So find what you like and will stick with. There are tons of books, talks, even videos about meditating, plus great teachers all over the place to inspire you.
Don’t give up! Your practice will wax and wane. Meditation is simple but not always easy. It takes work! Learn to accept your experiences – good and bad – as part of the plan. Patience is a virtue and ultimately, the reward of patience is … patience