So we’re going to guess you have all been appraised of the latest media blitz on yoga in America – ‘yoga moguls‘! it’s all posers! commoditization and Star Wars Yoga! Well if you’re curious at all how we got from point A to point Brandname then you may be interested in reading Stefanie Syman’s book covering those points and literally the space in between, The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America. Ms. Syman was kind enough to answer some reader questions on the book, and now we’re bestowed the great pleasure of giving away two copies! Fun!
WIN: The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America by Stefanie Syman (published June 22, 2010). We’re giving away 2 copies! Thanks to the publisher for providing.
HOW TO ENTER: Since we’re on the subtle body subject, let’s talk meditation! DO YOU have a meditation practice? If yes, how, when, where? Do you have a mantra? Use visualization? Tell us your tricks and tips. If the answer is no, feel free to belly up your excuses! Aw come on, we won’t judge. Maybe you can share the one thing you do where you lose yourself in that action…is it’s brushing your teeth, making your kids’ lunches, playing the guitar, focusing on your breath? ahem… etc. Everything goes in the comments. Two winners will be chosen at random early next week. Looking forward to the responses! Good luck!
UPDATE: WINNERS! Many thanks to everyone who entered and offered their own thoughts on meditation. This may have been the most inspiring giveaway yet! We hope you got a chance to read everyone else’s comments. Thank you all for sharing!
And the winners are (via random.org)…
#56 Rebecca Peters and #34 Christa Avampato
Congrats! Please email your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s not second nature for me to meditate (is it for anyone?) I try to meditate periodically but end up getting myself more anxious with all of the mental “shoulds” that keep cropping up. It’s something I’ll continue to work on.
I like to say that I suck at meditation, but that’s ok because sucking at it is part of the practice:
Hi, thanks for putting together this giveaway 🙂
I do have a meditation practice and it’s zazen. I meditate each morning after getting out of bed, splashing some water on my face, and doing 5 minutes of asanas. I meditate at home in our guest room for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how much time I’ve got before leaving for work. On the weekends I’ll meditate a little longer.
I just started meditating about two weeks ago. My first time seemed like a lifetime long and it was only actually about 5 minutes! Over the two weeks, I have really read a lot about meditating, which has helped me to better understand it. The mantra I use is om namah shivaya. I use it, well…because Liz Gilbert mentioned it in Eat Pray Love, and it stuck with me. I imagine I am in a open field next to a creek, listening to the bird chirp and the water flow.
Finding time in this fast paced world to sit and meditate is not an easy thing. I have a sporadic meditation practice and I would like for it to become more consistent. When I do find the time to meditate I like to practice in the early morning. The stillness of the morning is beautiful and I try to take that in. I use the mantra “om namah shivaya” to help focus the mind and will also use mala beads.
Meditation is difficult for me, as I tend to be very ADD in my day to day life–but sometimes it’s just a matter of sitting quietly and listening to my breath to get my brain to be still. From there, I can move on to specific points of concentration. Sometimes I can’t get there, and that’s fine. But when I do manage it, it’s glorious.
I equate it with defragging my brain, and then rebooting.
My meditation practice is woefully inadequate – I use mantras usually only when I need them (which, admittedly, is often), and I’d like to start employing them in a more thoughtful, less desperate manner.
My meditation practice comes and goes. Just sitting has always been a big challenge for me. But I’ve been incorporating more yin postures into my regular practice and I’ve found that during each posture, there’s time to meditate. Not quite the same as a regular sitting practice, but it seems to be working for me right now. 🙂
I try to make my whole day a meditation. I have a formal practice every morning where I sit for pranayama before my standing “marma reducing” routine and Ashtanga practice (time spent varies considerably according to my needs and any time constraints but the bulk of what I would call “meditation” consists of watching myself from the inside out and the outside in.
And spoiling my little kitty absolutely rotten…. ; )
I haven’t started a meditation practice yet but have been seriously thinking about it lately! Right now the only time I have is late in the evening before bed and the once or twice I’ve tried meditation then, it hasn’t went well LOL. My kids all start school in two weeks though and I’ll have mornings to myself for the first time in 13 years so I think I’ll definitely take advantage of the quiet then to try to start up a meditation practice.
Visualization is the tool I use the most and I really notice if I let it slide. When I wake up in the morning I use the period after I hit the snooze button but before I get out of bed to focus on my intetions for the day. With everyinhale I take into myself qualities i need for the day and visualize how it will play out. With every exhale I let go of qualities that are holding me back.
I love to meditate and have had a practice for years. My mantra was given to me by my first teacher Sherry; it’s So Ham. I am that, I am that, I am that, that I am. Without the eternal question of who am I wouldn’t be who I am today – if I don’t know myself, no one else can either.
After my yoga practice I sit every morning with my mala beads, candles, and sandalwood incense and simply breathe on So Ham. If my time is short, I will meditate only. Meditation keeps me focused, tuned in, and happy.
I’ve been practicing insight meditation since 1986. It’s the anchor of my practice and is what gives my asana practice its juice. I don’t always have time to practice, as there are several days each week when I regularly work 14 hours. On those days I practice mindfulness while I perform certain tasks (brushing my teeth, drinking my morning tea, etc.).
I have to make time for lengthy meditation, but I find myself doing it in small doses throughout the day: When someone in front of me is driving 15 miles below the speed limit, when my kids are taking 40 minutes to pick out a breakfast cereal at the store, when my husband once again loses his way to the dishwasher, when I am faced with a huge and scary decision, etc.
I have Om Namah Shivaya tattooed on my arm. It is a reminder to me to be aware of ALL that I am capable of becoming (good and bad) and it helps me to do the next right thing, to walk the right path. I find myself chanting this all day long.
I also have a temper (although it is waning, thank goodness,) and when I get angry, I will chant Wahe Guru Wahe Jio to clear that energy. That immediately gets me singing “In the Light of My Soul” by GuruGanesha Singh and it’s IMPOSSIBLE to be angry when singing that. <3
Let your breath be your mantra. During your Practice, During your walk, while you sit and wait, make sure your ears can hear your breathing. Then figure out what makes you want to carve time to do it. Your blog is my favorite news provider.
Hi Yogadork. First let me say I love your writing and enjoy your blog very much. Thanks for doing what you do.
I have a meditation practice that I do after practicing Hatha Yoga. So, after savasana I sit. I have a mantra I focus on. It was given by my teacher a while back. I may only sit a short time – depending on how much time I have, but I do listen to the mantra throughout the day.
I like to meditate right when I roll out of bed in the morning. It is a great way to start the day. My mind is already quiet. If I meditate later in the day (I don’t have a routine, I like to meditate when I feel it) and need a little help with focus, I use my mala and any number of Ganesh mantras. Sometimes I meditate for five minutes. Sometimes for 20. Whatever. I don’t get too wrapped up in it.
I feel a meditative quality during vinyasa flow yoga. Otherwise, relaxing in the bathtub with a candle.
IMO, there is no yoga without meditation. and vice versa. yoga is life and “meditation” is 24/7. I don’t turn it on and off like a light switch.
I can’t seem to find a good time for a daily practice, so I attend yoga 4 times a week and find my nourishment and meditation there. So many parts of my day can become s meditation… eating, walking, breathing.
Just doing yoga- especially sun saluations gives me a calm vibe. Luckily my house is always pretty quiet so that helps me stay in a calming state.
I always start with the Metta meditation. I sometimes say it in the mirror to myself as I get up. I have a special spot in my house I always light incense and then start with a mantra. My favorite is ‘om mani pedi hum’. I try to get in a rhythm and chant or sing it. I do at least 3 rounds of that then my mind can finally settle.
I dont do it every day but with the amount of meltdowns that I have been having it has to be more regular part of my life. I do it at least 3 times a week which is about to change. I need something to help me deal with the left over gunk in my heart. I know that meditation is the key to this.
I try to stay present now in everything that I do as well. cooking, laundry, gardening, mopping and everything in between. I think that staying present is the best thing for me now. The worrying has put to much strain on my life.
Daily meditation practice is on that long–and growing longer– list of to-dos. What I have managed to accomplish is to take time out several times a day–while at my desk at work, during my commute etc. to pay attention to my breathe and thoughts and slow them both down. Its a baby step…but it works.
I don’t have a formal seated meditation practice, but I do study sanskrit and vedic chant. Writing devanagari, with (as my teacher says) complete attention “at the point where the pen meets the page” is one meditation, and allowing myself to be completely present and focused when chanting the veda is another.
For me, finding the time to practice meditation is the hardest part of doing it. But, just like they say you need to pay yourself first when trying to save money, you need to put your practice first when trying to start or maintain a meditation practice. For me this has meant getting up earlier in the morning, setting aside that time for myself. And that’s pretty early, because I teach classes at 6 a.m.! I start with 3-5 Sun Salutations, then sit for meditation. Started with 5 minutes and worked up from there.
I don’t have a meditation routine, but I am taking baby steps towards it. What helps me is to give myself space to breathe at stressful times. I used to rush into a snarky comment, snappy retort, or frustrated sigh. But I’m trying to teach myself to take three deep breaths before those knee-jerk reactions, and I almost never want to do them afterwards. It’s helping me become a more positive person, and while it’s not exactly meditation, it’s my version of a meditative action. : )
I don’t have an “official” meditation practice or anything, but I do have things I incorporate when I want that connection or calm or introspection. I typically just go with what I know – Sometimes it’s as simple as “let go,” sometimes it’s “om namah shivaya,” and sometimes I just spend time focusing on each chakra and visualizing colors and sounds associated with those.
I’d love to get involved with some sort of guided meditation practice, but haven’t made that leap yet 🙂
COME ON, dear bloggers. Really?
I don’t buy that most western yogis meditate. Babies may be “zen masters,” the office may be as demandingly ego-grinding as a “zen monestary,” and asana may be the ground of a potential “mindfulness practice,” (whatever we think THAT is). Sure. But not when the vehicle of experience is the ego, and we use these venues to solidify our sense of little-l reality and little-s self. Mostly when we say we have a meditation practice, we are just patting ourselves on our little monkeyminds. The same way we spiritualize asana practice, which realized people just see as a chemical high that makes us feel so blissed and empowered that we get even more excited about our egos.
(I have yet to meet a yoga person who has any sense of the difference between dharana and dhyana, the way any old Theravadin knows how shamatha goes to vipassana or any old IMS or Spirit Rock patron gets how concentration yields in to open awareness. Those who practice a silent style or Bikram may have moments of dharana and may build the concentration muscle needed for effective meditation. But that’s as good as it gets for most yoga people. We are the advertising department of Spirit, toiling away in the basement with no clue what happens upstairs, satisfied with a pathetic salary and superficial benefits.)
So yes, I am a “dedicated ashtanga practitioner” with some sort of pious lineage. I have a gomden as a living room chair AND mala beads I wear as jewelry. Mostly, when I say “I meditate,” I mean I close my eyes and try to make the voices go away so I feel a tiny bit less insane and like my Self a little better. When I say “I meditate,” I mean, “Look ma, aren’t I spiritual?”
But sometimes, when sitting (and ONLY WHEN SITTING, not in my blissful absorbtion in to some precious and “special” sensations in my pelvic floor) , the nature of experience peeks through all of my spiritualized avoidance mechanisms. The nature of experience is that experience Don’t last, Don’t satisfy, and Ain’t me.
Then I lose the view and go back to chasing decoys.
Decoys like this book. Can I have it please? I’d actually love to read it and share it with others.
P.S. “Don’t last, don’t satisfy and ain’t you” is Daniel Ingram’s translation of “the three characteristics,” a teaching found in forms of Buddhist meditation instruction and a few secular meditation approaches too.
Ingram’s book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, was what made it dawn on me that even after four silent retreats, I still DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE about how to look at my mind. See his chapter on the mushroom theory for a beautiful picture of us.
What fun! “The Subtle Body” is on my to-read list. I’ll start by admitting that my meditation practice has fallen off some since the birth of my daughter (who is about to turn 1 — yikes!), unless you count mindfulness meditation in every day tasks (cooking is a favorite), or the meditation that occurs while practicing yoga. And I do.
But my favorite way to meditate daily, which I hope to get back to soon (really), are with cds from my local Buddhist center. My favorite is Meditations for a Clear Mind. The voice of the woman is elevating in and of itself.
Every morning, I’d get up, cue the cd on the old-fashioned disc changer, and sit in a comfortable seated position on the couch with a blanket over my legs. This totally changed my life! Then once a week, I went to the Buddhist center for a class that included meditation in a group — different, but wonderful.
Now I’ve moved my cds to my iPod, and I look forward to forming a new tradition of practice.
Thanks for the invitation to share!
I had a regular zazen practice for a couple of years, which I’ve gotten away from and keep meaning to get back to.
I also practice Kundalini yoga, and go to class several times a week (home practice has never been my forte, but I’m working on it), and each class always has a specific meditation incorporated into it – however I look at yoga itself as a meditation, so to me it’s all just different ways of doing (or, working towards doing) the same thing.
My meditation practice is sporadic. Seems like when I’m doing it, though, I’m *really* into it in a big way. Right now, I’ve fallen off the wagon and I kinda feel like I should climb back on, but haven’t really worked up the gumption to yet…
My best advice to beginning meditators: Start small – 5 minutes at a time and build up slowly.
I do not consider my asana practice to be meditation. Asana compliments my meditation practice by helping me to improve my concentration and learn to focus. I studied zazen for about a year at a zen center. Now I sit at home. I have found that the soham meditation, if I just focus on the sound of my breath, is very similar to watching the breath rise and fall, which is the technique I use when practicing zazen.
In my limited experience of practicing hatha yoga, it seems to me like many practioners are very touchy-feely and blissed-out about meditation. Zazen is very empty and naked. When I practice zazen, I have suspended moments or glimpses when there is nothing there: my mind is clear and not focused on what I am going to eat for dinner or some injustice or wrong. I wouldn’t describe it as bliss or divine sparks. I would describe it as nothing.
I do want to learn more about yogic meditation. However, it seems very inaccessible. I am having a very hard time finding teachers.
I tried for many years to get into meditation and nothing worked for me until I took my 200 hour yoga teacher training. During that training, I made myself sit for 18 minutes every day. I put the timer on and made myself sit there to see what would arise.
Now I have a meditation buddy whom I stay in close contact with to help us stay on our practice.
I use visualization – I like the smile meditation where I imagine my navel smiling, then my heart, then my face, and then my entire being.
I also love several mantras that help to keep me focused:
om prana namaha (upward)
om apana namaha (downward)
om viyana namaha (away from the body)
m semana namaha (toward the body)
(And I move my hands in those directions as I say them)
I also like the following mantra when I am feeling particularly stressed and want obstacles in my life to be removed:
om gam ganapataye namaha
I am trying to get into a regular meditation practice. I read an interesting piece by Stephen Cope not long ago about how meditation practice might not look like sitting down and closing your eyes for 15 minutes every day – maybe it’s a short nap every day, maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s doing the dishes. I liked that idea.
Even so, I find that I do like to sit for 15 minutes at a time and meditate. I do a lot of heart meditations with visualizations of a chapel to connect to my inner self.
I also try to write every morning for 15 minutes and I usually zone out a bit then and it helps get the day started.
I think about meditation on a daily basis, and I think the activity that best gets me in that ever-present state of mind is chopping vegetables. Of course, I do practice breathing, and some meditation with my weekly yoga practice. But I’m quite focused and aware and present when I work in my kitchen.
when my kitten, Ganesh, is climbing up my leg with his killer claws or clomping on my limbs with his sharp teeth, I meditate on, well, Ganesh. The remover of all obstacles. Soon enough, he releases his grip. And lets go.
Yogadork, your blog is awesome and inspiring!
I practice mindful meditation every day. It helps to center myself . It’s similiar to the experience of reading and coming across a semicolon. I pause, and focus on the present moment.
After rolling out of bed in the morning and after finishing my cup of coffee, I meditate, before my sons wake up.
I’ve been trying to meditate for years and never had the patience to do it. When I meditate, I either chant “Om Namah Shivaya” or “Let It Go” if any thought pops into my head. I’ve been trying to meditate for years and never had the patience to do it. It was only after I went though a divorce and escaped from my abusive ex-husband, that I was able to meditate. Meditation is the only practice that calms my mind and takes me to a place of safety and calmness – the calm after the storm.
Besides simply following the breath, which I find to be the most effective method for becoming present, I focus on relaxing my forehead. I notice that when I can do that, all remaining tension in my body melts away.
At times when I feel overwhelmed, I will also tell myself, “Let go of feeling like you have to be or feel a certain way right now” and that usually snaps me out of the mind instantly.
Yes, I meditate. Yes, I use visualization sometimes when I meditate. (I picture myself floating on the ocean, sometimes it’s a calm sea; other times it’s rough water.) I’m not a chanter as I feel as if I’m talking to myself when I have, on occasion, chanted. Incidentally, thank you YogaDork for the blog. You help keep me informed about yoga and you keep my yoga practice fresh. Thank you also to OvO, who posted above. You articulated a lot of what I’ve been thinking.
I have trouble sitting still long enough to meditate, but when I’m going to sleep, I lay in savasana, close my eyes, and silently chant so-hum with each breath till I fall asleep. I don’t know if that counts as meditation, but it does help me sleep well.
I don’t meditate, but I want to! Does that count? Actually, I have tried to, but my brain doesn’t want to let me. So, I let my brain win for now, but I will whip it into shape soon!
I meditate on the cushion on a regular basis using Tibetan Buddhist techniques like Tonglen and Metta. But what I’m really excited about lately is the uncompromised, single-pointed focus in my new ceramics wheel classes. 4 hours can slip by in a snap! It really works out the kinks in my mind…..then I’ve got my hatha yoga to work out the kinks in my back! 🙂
I have a daily meditation practice that is a combination of techniques from Yoga and the Christian mystics.
I have a particular chair in my bedroom that is my mediation spot; although I am working on being able to meditate in an airport the way that Thomas Keating can!
The more I meditate, the fewer techniques I need. On a good day, I just close my eyes and surrender.
My new meditation techniques include reading from The Jewel Tree by Robert Thurman, listening to MC yogi on the subway along with Crosby Still Young and Nash acoustics during rush hour (hilarious). And of course bubble baths!
I want to. I really do, but I haven’t.
I’m terrified to.
I don’t know how to start.
I don’t know who to ask.
I don’t know how I would feel letting go when I spend so much of my day trying to hold things together.
I fear it’s another “great idea” of mine, only to be a flop, or something else I fail at.
I fear it won’t help with the constant chatter and bring calm to me.
In short, what is my excuse? I’m scared to try, and don’t know where to begin.
Yes, I meditate every day. Some years ago I found an undogmatic TM teacher and that mantra based practice has worked for me.
It nicely seems to cultivate awareness and calms me down….and can also help me in falling asleep 🙂
About a decade ago, I tried Zen meditation, going to the local zendo, perhaps twice a week, sitting in zazen for 40 minutes. A couple of times I did a half-day sesshin, alternating sitting and walking meditation. I even bought my own little zafu and my mom sewed me a zabuton. I tried to sit at home but, alas, it never quite took (unlike asana, which I knew was “me” from day one) (don’t you loathe when people say that?) (I can barely stand myself for writing that).
Anyway, I find sitting difficult. Stilling the mind, also in savasana, is my challenge. I do want to add sitting meditation to my practice. They say to start with a doable time, whether that means 5 minutes or 30 minutes. Another “resolution” for myself…
Ironically, a decade of ashtanga practice hardly prepared me for a regular meditation practice.In the beginning, I followed my ujeh breathing over all else, rather then my own breath. I heard that knowing and following this difference in practice, is “a” true essence of yoga. It was only in taking my yoga off the mat, and joining a dedicated meditation practice (led by Yoga for a World Out of Balance author Micheal Stone) did I truly begin my inward journey.
I am very new to yoga. I have been to a few classes, but am struggling to get into a regular practice. What I do love to do is sit on the steps in my pool and just breathe. It really relaxes me.
I have recently started seated meditation. I can’t do it for very long but hopefully I’ll get better in time.
I meditate in motion. When I swim, I count each lap, with every stroke I repeat the number of the lap, and when I lose it and begin to do different mathematical calculations, I know to go back to the simple one. one. one. one. As I begin to tire, the most amazing thing happens: solutions to writing problems, life issues, whatever’s been on my mind begin to float up towards me from the depths of the swimming pool.
Now. If only I could get to the damn pool.
hello! my meditation practice has defiintely shfited over the years. i started off with more of a classical yoga view of my meditation, and was always hoping for that future event of transcendence to happen. Paramahansa YOgananda was my inspiration there.
since then, i’ve moved rapidly towards embracing the more tantric side of things. all i can do is remember to breathe in each moment, bring myself back to God in that moment. going to my mat/cushion to practice helps too 🙂
This would be me: “If the answer is no, feel free to belly up your excuses! Aw come on, we won’t judge. ”
I do want to have a meditation exercise, but my excuse is I don’t have the time! Nevertheless, I do lose myself from time to time, usually while I’m on my way to work. It’s almost an hour’s ride after all.
I also lose myself when I’m looking at photographs. I am a photography enthusiast and I like looking at pretty images. I would browse through photoblogs and photo galleries until the wee hours.
But I do enjoy lying flat on the mat with my legs apart and arms wide open, feeling the deep breath flowing through and rejuvenating my body and almost surrendering to its escape when I exhale. In 10 minutes, it seems like a new day.
The best tip I’ve come across after years of struggling with meditation is one I found in a magazine about three years ago. The magazine’s editor (who used to a YJ editor and still freelances for them) had issues with long meditations sessions and a meditation teacher took her by the shoulders, looked her straight in eyes and said,” Just do 42 breathes and call it good.”
Works for me.
I have such good intentions for meditating. I find time to sit only once a week, if that. This weekend I’ll be changing my sleep-wake schedule to accommodate a 6 AM yoga practice challenge I’m doing, so I hope to kick-start my meditation then too!
My meditation practice is a bit sporadic, and I know I need to do it more consistently. I like mantras and visualizations, and some of the most powerful meditations I’ve experienced have been those led by a teacher. Maybe if I invested in a CD or two I’d be a little bit better about sticking to it… hmmm… 🙂
I really *try* to meditate. When I do succeed, I try not to try too hard. I sit comfortably, maybe a dowelling under my sitbones, and I just try to breathe naturally and softly, without tensing my belly too much. If I have too much monkey brain when this is happening, then the good ole square works (4 or 5 counts: inhale, hold at the top, exhale, hold at the bottom) until I am calm enough to return to natural breathing.
If I am really worked up? Kapalabhati breaths. Or that one where you suck in your belly a lot on the exhale and hold.
My best time to sit in meditation is directly after a physical practice. At least 15 minutes of asanas, 3 minutes of savasana, and a transition directly into meditation. I’ve started incorporating at least 5 minutes of meditation into the classes I teach as well, always at the end (instead of at the beginning, as I was taught).
I’ve also found that doing the breast stroke at the pool is a beautiful moving meditation, either by following my breath or the ripples I push in front of me. Seated meditation takes work, whereas moving meditations come more naturally for me.
I’ve begun a Kundalini meditation practice, which typically involve either a particular mudra, mantra, or combination of both. One of things I love about Kundalini meditations is that you can actually request a 40 day meditation through Golden Bridge Yoga for ANYTHING you might be dealing with (fear, change, illness, relationships, etc), and they will send you back a specific meditation to practice — it’s been very powerful in my experience so far! More info at: http://www.goldenbridgeyoga.com/uploads/pdf/MeditationRequest.pdf
I was taught visualization for the first time when I was 12 years-old by my swim coach. He had us all lie on the floor before practice, after dryland exercises, and he talked us through a swim race where we imagined and felt ourselves swimming to win.
I love the power of meditation and visualization, my full potential resonates throughout my entire body and aura. I’m also afraid of it so I don’t often leave time for myself to practice.
As much as I love myself, my biggest fear is the unknown and the energy of life and the universe is the biggest unknown there is.
Now that I’ve voiced that thought, I’m sure I’ll practice meditation more often starting with Yoga Nidra.
I meditate everyday about 15-20 minutes. I do laya mantra which repeating ” ek ong kar sat nam Siri wahe guru” in a particular rhythm. During this I visualize a spiral starting at the bottom of my spine going up and exiting through my head. This visualization helps me sit really straight and makes me feel really uplifted. After that I do mala meditation repeating mantra “har har wahe guru”. I have these beautiful mala and I read somewhere that mala should be worn only when you finish 40 days meditation with it, then it will help you with
anything you need. That’s good enough motivation for me :). Just to clarify 40 days means 40 continuous days, if you skip you have to start from the beginning.
It was hard for me also to get into daily meditation practice but then I realized that having no time can’t be my excuse. Meditation is not relaxation it is actually hard work I do it for my own sanity to stay focused in this crazy world. 11 minutes a day is nothing to pay for that. How many 11 minutes we waste while watching TV or browsing Internet or just doing nothing?
I wish I could say I have a meditation practice. I hvae been dealing with so many issues this past year – health, finances, relationships – I find the fact I make it to the mat everyday amazing. It has saved my sanity, strengthened my body and started me down a path I would have never envisioned a year ago. I know one day I will have a “proper” meditation practice, but for me, right now, the mat is enough.
Sitting (or standing) for the sole purpose of meditation is a very different experience than “making my whole day a meditation” or “my life is my meditation.” They also yield different results (and I would say have different purposes entirely). I agree that both are valid and valuable, but one does NOT equal the other. In many–but not all, so please don’t think I mean you in particular–people who adopt the latter approach have no experience in the former.
Most yoga students I know/have met do not meditate. I will admit that it is a struggle for me, and I “lose” more often than I “win.” Like most people, I have a hard time just sitting and turning my mind inwards. I get fidgety. It is uncomfortable to be fidgety and have my mind resisting. I don’t try as often as I “should.” I don’t like it, I want to move, etc. etc. etc.
But when I DO get in “butt to mat pose,” something changes. It changes in a way that is 100% not like going through daily life with awareness, or trying to live yoga philosophy 24/7. Sure, sometimes I get the “nothing happens” feeling. But a separate, intentional, meditation is an invaluable experience (IMLHO) and so I keep engaging it. I feel sorry, in a compassionate way, for those who don’t.
Am I too late? Who knows.
I find meditation soooo hard. There was a moment in Nepal once, when I thought I had it, but I never really got it again. Then there’s “ahem….” but that’s a different story….
Having just spent a week at Feathered Pipe ranch in Montana with Baxter Bell, I found that I have really deepened my meditation practice. One of the exercises he gave was using a mantra by Thict Nhat Hanh…on inhale, “i feel my body”, on exhale “i smile”. For whatever reason, this really works for me!
I recently got on and then fell back off the cushion. My practice: out of bed, pee, sit on cushion with affirmation in mind. Set timer for ten minutes. Squirm for ten minutes.
Get up when timer dings, relieved I did what I said I would.
But when I give myself the weekend off, it’s hard to get back on the cushion come Monday!
Thanks for the chance to confess my meditation lapses. It may just help me get back on the cushion!
Do a few positions a day and relax. Inhale and exhale.
I do have a regular meditation practice, but it took years of on and off practice to actually get something consistent in place. I think undertaking a 40 day mantra chanting practice helped me, because at least for a few minutes a day I had to sit and chant. Once on my seat it was easier to stay for a few more minutes of meditation.
I always have a much more enjoyable day when I start it with meditation!
I’d love to get a vipassana practice going, but right now trying to solidify my ashtanga practice. However – that’s definitely a type of meditation for me, as is any time I am stressed and use my ujjayi breath to calm down.
i meditate in the bath tub! i also love alternate nostril breathing.
I have a practice of meditation that is living. I have been initiated or activated or attuned or baptized or bestowed or blessed with a mantra, how ever it is that mantras happen, it happened to me. I use it sometimes. It’s a prayer for peace.
Recently I noticed that the place I loose myself is at live music shows. I also became aware of the fact that it is when I loose myself that I find myself the most. Recently, at The Cat Empire, I literally felt myself settle down into my body. It was strange and exciting to drop in like that while at the same time being so aware of it happening. It got me to thinking “how long have I been disconnected?…”
I’d like to register my vote for OvO to get a copy of the book and Jen too. In reading OvO’s post I had to enter a state of meditation to get through it. The writing is excellent, the ideas challenging and voice brilliant and humble, plus a follow-up reference post. Jen, raw honesty, lovely!
I just “learned” the basics of meditation at my intensive teaching training I just completed. I have yet to sit at home but I really need to start! I find labelling works… in breath, out breath, thinking, etc.
I meditate for 10-20 minutes every morning. It gives me time to set my intention, goals and focus for the day. I also take the time to do inventory of my emotions, thoughts, feelings and my body. Depending on how I feel I may use a mantra to help deepen my intention or focus. Afterwards I take another 10-30 minutes for my yoga practice. Shower up and drink some tea and I am off the face the day. If I am short on time I tend to sit for a brief moment and then go into a moving meditation of yoga practice. I carry this practice throughout my day – living yoga. I also feel that dance is a form of moving meditation for me.