Meditation is the greatest gift we can give ourselves since most illnesses have stress as a component. Meditation allows us to go deeply into our subconscious mind. It produces brain waves deeper than sleep and allows us not only to heal but to become more relaxed and efficient in our daily lives.
You don’t have to be an enlightened Yogi living in a cave in order to meditate. All you have to do is sit down for a few minutes and notice what is going on around you with gentle focus, free of the interference of cell phones and screens. The goal is to go from 5 minutes a day to 20 minutes twice a day but don’t stress about it if you don’t have time!
First, sit down in a quiet room in a chair, cross-legged, or on a cushion. Your eyes may be closed, or barely opened, softly focused on part of the wall or floor in front of you. For the first 30 seconds, just let your mind drift. Make sure you are comfortable. Being physically uncomfortable can make your mind uncomfortable as well, making it more difficult to meditate. You will be practicing one of the techniques listed below from 5 – 20 minutes, preferably on an empty stomach. Having food in your stomach turns your mind toward digestion which is a distraction. After practicing for your allotted time it is very important to take 2 minutes to come back to the real world. This is a period of time where you stop your gentle focus and just notice what is going on around you. Become aware of sounds, smells, and your body. Stretch your neck, shoulders, and back, then slowly open your eyes. Having a timer with a gentle chiming alarm is recommended over checking a clock every few minutes. Don’t lie down while meditating as you are likely to fall asleep instead. As Meditation goes deeper than sleep, we are aiming for its enhanced benefits.
MEDITATING ON THE BREATH
Follow your breath and notice how it feels, breathing in, a gentle natural unforced hold, and breathing out, like the waves lapping on a beach. Notice how your lower abdomen fills with each breath, and releases with each out-breath. When you experience inner chatter, which we all do, return to the breath. It is futile trying to empty the mind. We are not trying to do that. Some like to nudge themselves to go back in meditation by gently reminding themselves “these are just thoughts”, or simply “thoughts”, and return to meditation”.
“I am breath, and breathe breathes me”.
We can also teach you mindfulness, hara breathing, loving-kindness, and mantra-based meditation as well. We teach pranayama to deepen your experience, and suggest that it be followed after a short session of yoga.