Learning To Meditate

“When your mind finally becomes quiet, the stunning thing that happens is your heart opens.” – A Life Worth Breathing: A Yoga Master’s Handbook of Strength, Grace, and Healing

A couple of weeks ago my yoga instructor announced that we were going to finish the class with 10 minutes of an active meditation followed by 10 minutes of a seated meditation. My first though was, “oh my gawd, what am I going to do for 20 minutes while everyone meditates?” I closed my eyes for the first few minutes, finding my breath, my mind then went on to what I was going to eat for dinner and preceded down my to-do list. About 3 minutes into it, my eyes popped open as I was curious about what the heck everyone else was doing. They were ALL still, quiet and peaceful. All 40 of them were meditating and no one else but me was looking around the room! It became very apparent, that although I feel I am disciplined in my physical practice my mind could use a little TLC.

I have been reading an amazing book titled, A Life Worth Breathing, by Max Strom.  It has really highlighted the benefits of a daily meditation practice as well as a physical practice.  Max Strom believes that while meditation can seem like an inconvenience and unnecessary if already doing yoga regularly, it soon becomes a profound part of daily life. He explains in A Life Worth Breathing that, “meditation can provide direct access to peace, to your most authentic Self, to spirit and to the Universal Consciousness.”

He also lists several good tips on how to start:

– Find a comfortable, quiet place that minimizes the chance of interruption

– Sit for 3 minutes to start and gradually increase the time

– When your mind begins to wander, for example you are thinking about going for dinner, instead of eating in the restaurant envision yourself sitting down in the restaurant and meditating, do this for all day dreams and eventually your mind will just give up and allow you to sit in meditation.- A Life Worth Breathing

– Instead of trying to quiet your thoughts, focus on your heart. Imagine your heart center as being the source of all that is good in the world ( kindness, love, compassion etc.),  breath into it and imagine the exhale releases love into the world.- A Life Worth Breathing

I have committed myself to doing 40 days of  a daily meditation practice. So if I seem more peaceful and more like myself you know why!

JESSICA HAMILTON is a yoga teacher, boot camp instructor and elementary school teacher. She loves writing, reading, healthy vegetarian cooking, and traveling. Starting next week she will be a regular Vancouver Yoga Review blogger. Welcome Jessica!

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