Author: Amber French
I have been a yoga teacher and student for almost a decade. I could lie still and pretend to ignore the raging inner dialogue with the best of them.
I wanted to meditate, but I refused to try. I figured there was no taming the beast.
My mind would wander and obsess and make lists, whenever I tried to focus on my breath. Two years ago I knew I needed to face my fear and at least give it a try. And just as I had convinced myself… it was terrible. Things itched and spasmed and my thoughts only increased in intensity.
And that was the end of that.
About 6 months after that I tried again. This time I used an app on my IPhone. It was a series of 10 minute “Learn to Meditate” sessions from www.headspace.com that cheered me along with cute little graphics encouraging me every time I completed a session. They focused on breathing and visualization and not trying to stop the thoughts but rather watch them passively float by in my brain.
The first session was…BEARABLE!!!
Trust me that was like winning the lottery after my previous attempts. I knew what to expect and the voice on the download was calming and understanding. As time went on I started to enjoy my meditations. They included full body scans that eventually led to an awareness that was less analytical (why does my back hurt there) and more of a noticing of feelings tied to that area of my body, without the words. I found that I preferred meditating in the morning before the world stressed me out.
Eventually I felt better equipped to handle the crazy morning routines, unexpected work deadlines or issues and I found myself getting to sleep on time so that I wouldn’t be tempted to hit the snooze and miss my meditation time.
Who was I????
I “couldn’t” sit still nor did I “have the time” to be sitting around doing nothing…. Until I discovered I didn’t have time to not sit around and do nothing. The rest of my day became more manageable and productive. It was like my morning check-ins allowed me to set the trajectory of my day instead running around with no direction putting out fires all day.
The biggest thing I learned and still continue to learn is that meditation can’t be right or wrong. If you like guided or unguided, silence or music, include a mantra or not. You need to find what feels right (if it makes you itch it is probably not right for you!!) and continue to go towards that right feeling. No set amount of time or number of sessions per day or week make you a meditator. Finding that sweet spot (occasionally) in your mind, reducing your daily stress, envisioning a life or world you want to live in makes you a Meditator. No special cushion or crystal or download can make it all click. Listening to what resonates with you, will always lead you in the right direction.
And when the glow of meditating wears off and the snooze button gains appeal, just remember that your brain and body are just their waiting for you to come home.
About the Author: Amber has been in the fitness and recreation game for over 15 years (not including school!!). She made fitness her life because as the age old saying goes, study and teach what it is you need to learn. In other words, she’s battles with some weight issues for many years and wants to share what she has learned along the way.
You can follow her @TheVeganHouse