I’m so thrilled to have begun meditation month in Prema classes and at Yoga Vida. Each week, we start a simple meditation with the option of continuing to sit during savasana. Each week, more and more students are choosing to sit and explore a deeper meditation.
Over the years, I must admit that I have harbored some persistent myths, or misgivings, about my meditation practice.
The first misgiving was that I sucked at it. Guess what: Everybody sucks at meditation! It’s the mental equivalent of running: You know it’s good for you, it takes forever to talk yourself into it, within 8-10 minutes you hate it, and within about 11-15 minutes you’re hooked.
Like anything worth doing, meditation takes a little patience and discipline. But that will develop if you don’t begin!
Second misgiving: Everything has to be perfect for me to meditate. Over the years, I’ve thought I need just the right cushion on which to meditate, just the right teacher, just the right morning time, just the right diet, just the right mantra – Let’s face it: I was “just-the-righting” my practice into nonexistence!
This kind of perfectionism is actually procrastination. It’s making excuses instead of sitting down – like an artist – and getting messy in the process of getting to know yourself. What’s the worst that could happen? You spend 15 minutes not staring at your phone? I don’t know about you, but Instagram hums along just fine without me.
Third misgiving: Meditation is for the spiritually evolved, and not for mere humans. If I make an honest review of the meditation teachers that have radically influenced me, I see that what they all have in common is an honest but loving understanding of their own shortcomings. They are all acutely aware of their humanity, and sometimes admit to moments of existential crisis. That didn’t stop them from sitting down and being with themselves again.
In fact, this kind of “Dark Night of the Soul ” can lead to a deep love and acceptance of oneself. Loving Kindness Meditation teachers even use this realization to expand their compassion for other humans who have acted on their shortcomings. Being human makes you a great meditator, and meditation can help you choose to be a better human.
Fourth misgiving: Meditation is kind of bunk, because you pretend the world is peaceful when it’s not. Um…No. Nice try, ego! You’re not as gritty and punk as all that. All life includes suffering, as the Buddha taught. A meditator doesn’t sit to ignore the truth, but to accept it and to choose a righteous path.
In the yogic and Ayurvedic traditions of meditation, this is called a “satvic” state. Satvic is usually translated as “peaceful” or “calm,” but note that the root of the word means “truth.” Peacefulness is our natural state. As meditators, we can start to find this peace and identify with it. Sometimes it will feel like “faking it until you make it.” But with practice – over time, consistently, and with devotion – that peace can grow.
Whether you can get to class, practice on your own, or join us for the two-weekend meditation intensive starting this Friday, try to identify with your natural state of peace. Everything else – as Pema Chodron taught – is just a simple misunderstanding.
Yoga Vida Meditation Intensive starts Friday!
May 13 – 22nd, Friday nights 6:30-9p
9a – 6:30p Saturday & Sunday
with a 30-day personal meditation challenge
Feature Teachers: Colleen Herman & Nevine Michaan Complete
Dive deep into the heart of the yoga practice with this two-weekend immersion into Meditation, Pranayama and Yoga Nidra. Cultivate a personal meditation practice, and learn classic pranayama and meditation techniques to apply in classes and with private clients in a modern way. Lead Yoga Nidra to encourage healing and relaxation.
Throughout this 50 hour module, we’ll explore:
– Yoga Nidra, the art of conscious relaxation
– the history, science, benefits, and accessible techniques
– Kosha theory to address physical, mental, and emotional imbalances
– The neuroscience of Meditation, Yoga Nidra, and Pranayama
– Pranayama for anxiety and depression
– Sacred Geometry Pranayama with guest teacher Nevine Michaan
– Developing a daily meditation practice
– Meditation from the Sutras
– Meditation from the Vedas
– Loving Kindness Meditation
– An introduction to Kundalini meditations and kriyas for memory, healing, focus, and more – Mindfulness
– Kundalini Meditation techniques
All students interested in Meditation & Pranayama are invited to join!