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Hi there! Long time no post. I know, I know. So much to catch up on, so little time.

Okay, I’m feeling goofy. It’s the day after Halloween. I am officially finished with the SQE transition and am teaching Yoga and doing a bit of marketing consulting now. Both are going great!

And this morning I woke up full of post Halloween angst. The holidays are basically here. The Florida/Georgia and Halloween parties have officially wreaked havoc on my little routine, and I was pretty darn creaky in my first run of the week today.

Then I thought: “Hold it! Ease up!” My engines were revving and it was like I was on autopilot. Already stressing about holiday to-do’s, the candy that I ate the night before, the 5 pounds that I would have to take off in January that I hadn’t put on yet! What a stressful place to be! I realized this morning that I can ease up. I can control how much or how little I get involved this year, what kind of holiday I want it to be for myself and my family. Most of all, just as we are encouraged to “pray without ceasing,” we can practice without ceasing. Things like using breathing techniques to reduce stress or channeling your inner observer sometimes to help bring clarity to chaos…

That’s the theme this week, and the next, and the next and so on. Ease up. Enjoy the holidays. If it means one less party, or one less present, so be it. Quality over quantity, and peace throughout the process. That’s my mantra for the next several months. Let the joy begin!

Tonight was simply a meditation. Ujjayi breath and a silent dedication. Chanting Positivity and Love and directing this energy to a friend. Spine lengthening with every inhale, shoulders settling with every exhale. Peace.

This morning I practiced the “energy healing” meditation. With my head cold still hanging on, I thought this was a good idea. Breathing healing light in through my solar plexus, and out to my general sinus area.

I didn’t realize that is where the healing light should go until probably halfway through the meditation. Until that point I imagined exhaling healing light throughout my body. A nourishing experience overall. This meditation did last for about 10 minutes, as I am gradually increasing my sitting time.

This went quickly! This time I set the timer for 7 minutes. I settled in and began breathing consciously. Light ujjayi breaths. Trying to clear my mind, I realize how hard it is to accomplish. My back hurts (it’s early and cold and I am a bit stiff.) I think of a stadium chair I can bring into the room, then gently acknowledge I have drifted. Back to the breath. But I am struggling here. My head cold is making breathing hard. Wait, that is the incense. A little goes a long way in this converted bedroom. Okay, I can deal. Well, not really. Maybe I should put it out.

It always takes a few moments for me to warm into the meditation. I think perhaps it is time to take it to 10 minutes.

Eventually I put the incense out. It interferes with my breathing to an uncomfortable point.  Just briefly opening my eyes and then settling back in.

The 7 minutes flew. Almost as soon as I settled back, the timer went off.Tomorrow, I think I will try a suggested mediation from Alyson’s Teacher Training manual. A bit more direction might be helpful. I will also increase the time to 10 minutes. For now, it is time to get ready for the day.

Miss Kylie
 Candlelight flickers, dances
I watch through my eyelids
 Mind wanders today
Kylie the cat meows through the door
No colors appearing, that’s different
I try to envision a white ball of light
Focus the mind
That works for a little while
Kylie meows again, her morning discourse
Breath flows in and out
But I am not the driver of the breath
It comes and goes without my direction
Filling my ears, my brain
My body is waking up
Kylie, ready to play, again through the door
Meow
5 minutes? The timer will go off
Stay focused, discipline
And then, Purple
A Kalidescope
Kylie meows, again
I realize it might be time
Opening my eyes, a deep inhale
Timer stopped- 5 minutes passed 5 minutes ago
Or more
Peace and joy
Ready for the day
Good Morning Kylie

This morning marks my return to work after 2 weeks off! What a whirlwind. I was sure I would meditate every morning, practice yoga daily and generally catapult my practice to a new level.

Well, let’s just say that didn’t exactly happen :). This idea of carving out time for your practice, for meditation, etc is a reality. In some ways, work is an excuse to tune out of our bodies, out of ourselves, and throw our beings into the modern cacophony. These last two weeks, however, holidays, family, etc took the place of work as reasons to skip practice or jump into the day rather than ease into it with a morning meditation…

These are just excuses. Development of that internal dialogue requires discipline.

I type this after completing my third seated meditation. Using Ujjayi breathing to focus my thoughts, I sat for 7 minutes. We have devoted a bedroom in the house to yoga now, and with the door closed, no animals and a candle burning, it was a bit easier now. I could still hear NPR in the kitchen, my husband and I are addicted, and I practiced dis-attachment to the sound. For the most part it worked. Tomorrow I will remember to turn it off before :).

The breathing definitely helped focus my thoughts, and towards the end I discovered I could let the sound fill my ears and truly tune in. This is what I will focus on tomorrow. For today, practicing compassion and kindness at work will be my focus.

I realize it has been a while since I meditated. I have lead myself in Savasana several times, but sitting up, exclusively focused on the abscence of thought, this has been hard to work in over the holidays.
So I take 5 minutes and sit outside. Here at my parents’ house, it is the only place to really be alone. Sitting in the grass, the sun warming my face, my eyelids close.
Dixie will come out and let me know when 5 minutes are up. I hope she doesn’t forget.
A few deep breaths and I tune into my body. And the fact that I am sitting on the ground in running shorts. Itch. Itch. Itch.
Focus. Life is such a learning experience. No mediation on the ground in running shorts anymore.
Breathing in and out, focusing on the inhale and exhale. The wind moves over my skin, I hear the birds, and let them go. Itch.
Darn
I hope to try this again, maybe tomorrow. After presents.
No that won’t work.
Wait stop! Focus, breath. Sun. Ahhhhh
The door opens.
“Has it been 5 minutes?”

As per the assignment last weekend, I attempted my first meditation this morning. Setting the timer I went to the Christmas Tree and put my pillow on the floor and sat. I thought it would be a great spot because it just feels so warm and inviting. So did my cat. And my dog. It is becoming obvious that I need to create a spot in the house to dedicate to yoga. Ideally this spot would have a door :).

Getting back to the meditation, I simply concentrated on my breathing. When outside distractions or thoughts presented themselves, I let them go. This was a great opportunity to practice unattatchment.

The act of carving out a specific time and space, even though it was just five minutes, set an intention for my morning. I got right on and blogged, and am clearer about my priorities today.

We are supposed to meditate and journal once a week for the next several weeks. I may try to begin all my weekday mornings with a meditation, 5 minutes, and see how that affects my week.

Exhilarated, exhausted, enlightened 🙂 That pretty much sums up my feelings as I roll out of bed this morning and prepare to try to make it into the office. Teacher Training this weekend stretched me and today I feel it! I also feel the wine I drank when I got home last night. It is funny that the healthier I get, the more deeply I feel indulgences.

We meditated, demonstrated our first flow, took a crazy yogalaties class that my abs are still talking to me about. Our homework this month includes mediating once a week and journaling about it. (I will use this blog as my journal.) We are also supposed to work up a 45 minute flow, including all the previous postures, and getting creative with including one asana from each element: supine, sitting, prone and standing.

Both challenges delight me and I am eager to begin. For today, I slowly warm into the morning and prepare to come down from the mountain. I will thank my body by eating nourishing food and trying to rest. I will try to carry the peace I felt on the mat into my day.

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