The Journey of Meditation

“Go within everyday and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.
–Katherine Dunham

The journey of meditation is a focus inward. It teaches us to focus inward, and to heal ourselves inward, and to no longer allow the effects of the outside world get to us. It teaches us to be compassionate towards ourselves and others. It helps us to control our mind, and control our thoughts.
I can honestly say that meditation, and Yoga, has saved my life. I can remember being so devastated laying on my floor one night, and I was crying, heartbroken, shattered, and pretty much broken. I had given up all hope, all Faith. Which for me, was very strange because I had always been a positive person with a lot of Faith. But I was suffering from severe depression at the time, and I wanted to give up! I all of the sudden got this idea that I wanted to do Yoga, because I had done it in the past and loved it but I kind of gave up on it for a little bit, and I could remember the way that it made me feel and so I wanted to start doing it again. I just remember the feeling of doing Yoga was always so “soothing to my soul” because in that moment all you were focusing on was your body and your breath, and it was like as if the world around you had disappeared. So I started doing Yoga, every night, for almost 3 hours a night when I would get home from work, I would light all my candles, put my music on, and get on my mat. I would do my Yoga, and always felt like a new person afterwards. Until, one day I injured my wrist. I was so upset, and so hurt by this because it prevented me from doing Yoga, or so I would say. I was so upset, because I couldn’t understand why I finally found something that made me feel “whole” again, and then I had to injure myself to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore. I realize now that this was all just a block in my mind. A mental block, telling myself that I couldn’t do Yoga because I couldn’t do downward facing dogs anymore, or because I couldn’t do plank poses. I realize now that this all happened as a lesson for me. To teach me, that Yoga was not about the asanas, it’s not about how long you can hold your plank pose, or if you can get into a handstand. Yoga is about connecting to yourself. Connecting to your true self. It is about being here in the present moment, in the now. I started Meditating, every single night. I would even start to mediate throughout the day if I was having a stressful day, I would find a quiet place, just close my eyes and focus on my breath. As I focused on my breath, I could notice that my anxiety would start to fade away. It’s as if I would all of the sudden feel peace in a few minutes, after just focusing on my breath. It took a lot of time to be able to get to the point where I was able to quiet my mind in the way that I was. I always suffered from severe anxiety, and severe depression, quieting my mind was not an option in my world. I realized that the very thing we struggle with in life, I feel that we overcome to teach others. I feel like Meditation is definitely going to be one of my main focuses when I am teaching my Yoga classes. I feel that because it has helped me so much, I want to share it with the world.

Beginning a Meditation Practice
Part of having a meditation practice, is setting up a space for it. I suggest making a place in your home where it will just be used for you to mediate. Set up an “altar” a place where you will feel safe. Also, make sure to set up a space where you will not be able to be disturbed with any sound. This was huge in my shift of being able to mediate. Close your eyes, sit in the silence, and start just focusing on your breath. Notice if there is any areas in your body where you are feeling tense, and tight. If you feel tense in any areas, send love to these areas. Focus your breath towards that area. Try and focus on your breath. Let any negative thought that comes up for you, as it enters your mind just send it away. A good place to start with meditation is counting your breath. I usually suggest to start by counting the breath only on the exhales, so a round would be inhale, exhale, 1, Inhale, exhale, 2. Allow that to continue, and you will see that eventually your mind, thoughts, and body will completely relax. The key with meditation, as is with all things it to continue to practice. The more you work at it, the better you will become at it. Just starting out I suggest five minutes a day for a week, then as you continuously do this, you will start to up the duration in which you will meditate. I also suggest to journal your experience, Meditation has so many benefits in our lives that I suggest to journal to see how different you feel after each session, and to also be able to look back months from when you started and you can really see how much you have changed, and how much you have let go of through meditation. Meditation brings us many benefits, it reduces stress, improves concentration, increases happiness, and improves our self-awareness. The more you practice meditation, the more you will see things shift in your life.
“Practice, and all is coming.”—Pattabhi Jois