As the yoga class begins, I hit play on the Native American flute music and it wraps around my soul like a healing balm. I literally shiver and feel myself becoming more still. More “clicked” in to this present moment. I breathe deeply and scan the energies. What do we need today?
There are so many threads to smooth down at the beginning of a yoga class. So we always begin with a centering exercise that calms the panic and soothes the soul. But what if you have never meditated a day in your life? What if the thought of being still, quiet and centered just seems out of reach?
The truth is, misconceptions to meditation lead to you not wanting to try it. Most people envision a monk in robes at the top of a mountain sitting in stillness for days. In reality, we can calm ourselves and really click in to our bodies in as little as 5 minutes.
How can we add this practice to our day?
- Clear a space on your calendar for “you” time. Literally write it in if you have to. I suggest the first thing in the morning, but if you feel stressed at any point in the day, you repeat your morning practice.
- You do not have to sit on the floor, but you do need to straighten your spine, relax your shoulders. Put your feet flat on the floor if you are in a chair and sit up nice and tall. The eyes drift closed and focus on the point between your eyebrows.
- Start by taking 3 deep cleansing breaths. You can even repeat this mantra: I am breathing in (inhale). I am breathing out (exhale).
- As you breathe, focus on how your body feels. Lift your toes and place them flat on the floor. Put your hand on your belly and feel it expand like a balloon. Just breathe. If thoughts come into your mind, use my leaf imagery. Place these unwanted thoughts on the leaf and watch it float away from you. Peacefully down the stream.
- Allow your body to sit like this until you feel the tension release and a natural rhythm starts to take over.
- If thoughts have come in that you feel are really disturbing your peace, jot them down on a piece of paper after, and if you would like, you can use toilet paper to literally “flush” them away from you. Ahh. Release the you-know-what.
This practice can be done at any time, any place. If you are having a particularly stressful time right now, use the shower meditation as well. Each time you get in the shower, imagine the water washing off all thoughts of pain, anger, anxiety and only positive thoughts filling you up. Continue to filter any and all thoughts that do serve you including panic, worry, thoughts of the past or thoughts of the future. Keep focusing on the word contentment as you wash away worries.
Affirmations to use:
- All I need to do right now is breathe.
- I am safe and protected.
- A warm peaceful energy surrounds me and those I love.
- All is well.
- With every breath, I become more peaceful.
Interested in a meditative type of journaling practice to increase abundance and gratitude? Feel free to check out my e-book here. <<< There are over 30 focused prompts to lead your mind to a better focus as well as exercises for the mind, and additional affirmations to use daily.
I almost lost it during yoga. How can that be…you might be curious. First of all, if you have not been to yoga, do not be intimidated by what I am about to say. To understand, I have to paint a picture I wasn’t going to share. It sunk its claws in me, so let me pry them off. Around 3 years ago, my body started another war. I wrote about it in previous posts way back, but the gist was that every joint was on fire. Every. Single. Joint. My left shoulder started to freeze up and caused me tremendous pain. I wasn’t sure I could finish out the school year as it locked up and was causing pain beyond words. I could no longer do “Brain Gym” moves for my class. Those moves not only centered my students, they helped me as well. I would play classical music, the kind most of my students had not heard, and we would breathe deeply to get centered. We would do cross body exercises to warm up our minds as well as get the “wiggles” out. I loved every moment of it.
It has been a difficult transition coming back from that point. So today, as the yoga instructor led us through hot yoga, I felt the steam seep into my joints to hopefully aid in my practice. I listened to her as she said to find our focal point. I was flustered at first when I saw a man come in and almost take the exact spot behind me as I knew I would not focus. I had, unfortunately, worn a shirt I never wear to yoga and it was loose…thus riding up if you know what I mean. At the last moment, he moved his mat. Saved from embarrassment I thought. We began the series and since I am somewhat of a regular, I knew this girl might remember me telling her I couldn’t move deeper into some poses. If you are brand-new, she sometimes walks by and assists you in the correct posture.
Since I had missed two weeks, I listened as she started this practice differently. I tried not to look at anyone else in the room except for me. Later, she began one of the poses that has caused me some pain, so I broke the silence by asking if there was an alternative (I just stood in mountain pose). The problem started then I think. The doubts began to creep in about why am I there if I can’t do all the poses. Then I squashed it by saying this is for me. I like doing this. Some things are easier than others. Stop pestering me, self-doubt. I tried hard to focus again on the poses and what I am capable of doing…not what others are doing. Unfortunately, I caught a glimpse of “underwear man” again. He looks kind of like this Bikram man. Except for the fact that he is much older than I am.
I will not lie…I have speculated that it might be humorous during toe stand if he errrm, fell over. What? I’m just being honest. So I fought hard with my inner demons, and thought I had them all tied up in a nice little bow, until the end of class. She turned the lights down low, and was speaking about your inner thoughts. About what brings you to the mat. About letting go of the worries and the chaos of the world. I felt myself tear up a little. But, I forced it back. Stop. You are doing okay. Find the calm in the storm and stay there as long as you need. I know where my calm is.
Today’s random topic post is one that is almost impossible for me. I work very hard at creating stillness. That sounds ridiculous to some degree, but many of you are nodding your heads. Whenever my life is surrounded by chaos, which is pretty much every single day, I desperately seek out time to be alone with my thoughts. I drive home without any music on. I read a book or THE book. I write a blog post about my thoughts. Usually, something will help calm the storm. This past week, I needed an entire weekend away to calm the hurricane. Luckily for me, my cousin called at just the right time.
I heard an amazing speaker during my weekend away. Her name is Lysa TerKeurst and she is a Christian Women’s speaker and author. Now, because I write my blog for people of all faiths, I will say that what I found amazing about the way she spoke and presented herself was how real she kept it. Sometimes we see someone and look only at the outside and think how put together they seem. How calm they appear or how professional they look. What we don’t realize is how scared they are on the inside. My aunt leaned over and whispered how she would be a nervous wreck if she had to speak in front of thousands, yes thousands, of women.
My thoughts swirl around in my head at hurricane force speeds. I crave stillness, yet find it impossible to grasp. I relive every single thing I have done that day if I think I could have handled it differently. The bottom line is that it is over. Done. Finished. Thinking about it will not change it, yet there I am in my bed staring at the clock, tossing and turning. I’m not sure what other people do to stop their own storms, but I am going away this weekend with my family. I am building a fire. I love fires and crisp fall weather. Hiking, nature, and the mountains are my bonus. Having NO cell reception is also a bonus. So, I try to get through each day and live for the weekend. That probably isn’t the best way to deal with things, but I am a work in progress. Last night I went to bed thinking about that very thing. I am an adult, but I am not finished working on myself yet. I am not where I want to be with my thoughts. If you are a work in progress as well, remember, you are never to old to change.
“The devil could change. He was once an angel and may be evolving still.” ~Laurence J. Peter
Last month was very stressful for lots of people I know. So the month of “Newvember” is a celebration of sorts. I don’t know how many people just try to make it through the day. I’m not sure if you are one of those people who love the mornings or hate them. I don’t know if you rush through your week trying to be 3 places at once and then, when Friday finally arrives, you breathe a small sigh of relief only to realize you have tons of housework or other activities to do. However, if any of this sounds like you, you might be an adult. Try not to let that scare you.
I have no idea why a conversation with a co-worker (also a friend) has made a difference in my way of thinking in just two days, but I find it hilarious and keep applying it to lots of situations. Since it helped me, I am going to share. We were talking about dealing with unwanted situations and perhaps the subject of ornery people was mentioned. She said she had a bunch of Tootsie Rolls in her pocket, pulled one out and handed it to someone and told them to have a good day. We took it one step further, and well, me being me said “It’s too bad we can’t have the letters CTFD on it.” Calm the foul down…where was your mind?
Anyway, it has made me laugh for two days now. Which brings me to my point. Here it is:
You know you will be singing that tomorrow.
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” ~Lao Tzu