Jade Lizzie

Sharing the yoga love

What do you mean I have to meditate every day?

I have a confession. For a yoga teacher, I’m really bad at meditation. I try to meditate regularly, but often even three minutes feels like an insurmountable hurdle. With my recent attempts to be more mindful, I was secretly really pleased to be invited to join the yoga teacher trainees this week at Suryalila for their daily meditation session. I knew this would force me to meditate for 25-30 minutes every morning. Here’s how the week went…

Day One – Vidya our teacher eased us in gently with a guided meditation. She instructed us to gradually move our attention through our bodies and to our breath. The time went reasonably fast, perhaps because there was very little time in complete silence. Even with the regular instructions though it was amazing how much my mind still drifted away though.

Day Two  – This time we were in complete silence for the whole meditation, with only a bell to mark the start and end. To say my mind wandered would be a gross understatement. My mind took epic treks, to the point that I forgot for what seemed to be huge swathes of time that I was meant to be meditating. Afterwards I tried not to beat myself up for not trying hard enough.

Day Three – I fell and bruised my coccyx the day before (note to self – move yoga bricks out of the way before attempting new inversions…), so yoga was out-of-bounds for a day. But I was pretty proud of myself for not taking the excuse and still getting up early for meditation. Another silent meditation led to more struggles to focus. At times I would catch myself as my thoughts started to drifting into something that felt more like dreaming – maybe I actually was on the verge of falling asleep. Given the painfully early start this seems entirely possible.

Day Four – I was teaching yoga straight after the meditation, so I kept mentally rehearsing the class. In fact, it was a good few minutes after the bell that I remembered I should have started meditating. On the plus side this was actually ideal preparation for teaching. I felt really centred and calm when I started the class . I also did a group meditation in the evening, which I enjoyed a lot more and found it far easier to focus.

Day Five – after the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages (a double dose of meditation everyday is clearly the answer to my insomnia) the morning meditation was guided instead of silent.  I liked this a lot.  We were guided to become aware of our thoughts without getting drawn into the narrative of them, and then to take our focus onto the awareness itself. I felt very peaceful and content.

Day Six –  We were back in silence, so I tried guiding myself through the sensations I felt in my body. Every time I started to feel bored or restless, I looked for somewhere I was physically or mentally holding on and consciously let go. My mind did wander, of course, but I also experimented with counting my breaths, which helped.

Day Seven – there was no group meditation today, so my roommate and I meditated together to hold each other accountable for doing it! I felt really good during this meditation – I did get caught up in my thoughts a lot, but I was able to bring myself back and to quietly congratulate myself each time I did for noticing that I’d drifted.

So has seven days of meditation made a difference?

I think it has. Just not in the way I expected. I thought that after a week my concentration would be better. I don’t think that’s the case, although I am perhaps getting better at gently bringing myself back to the present moment when I notice that I’ve drifted.

The difference I have noticed has been quite subtle. During the day I’ve felt more centred and less inclined to follow my thoughts into a spiral that affects my mood. It is only a slight change but it’s enough to make me want to keep it up.

This isn’t the first time I’ve vowed to meditate regularly though, so I’ll let you know how it goes…


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  1. richiecuthbertson

    I find like you said it helps stop me spiralling into moods. It seems to be a lot easier to bring myself back to the present & notice when I’m thinking too much.

    When I’m meditating I often sit there & think about whatever pops into my head, I may only regain focus for a second or two, but each time I do it makes the experience worthwhile, even if I don’t find any focus the experience isn’t wasted as can find insight into the way my mind works from this.

    I like to do insight meditation a few times a week, I do this if I’m feeling low or upset about something. It is a bit like writing down thoughts & feelings as a way to clarify things & find answers. I get myself into a state of mindfulness & then observe what I’m thinking & feeling, let it all hang out, it is important not to give yourself a hard time, but accept your thoughts & feelings, & with a mixture of gentleness & critical thinking I attempt to gain an understanding of what is behind them. It helps me find answers & gain insight into difficulties I might be experiencing, & improves my relationship with others.

    I think everyone is the same, we all find meditation tricky, but I think even in the not so good sessions where you feel it was a waste of time, you learn something from the experience (:

    • Thank you for reading 🙂 I haven’t come across insight meditation (at least not with that name) before, but what you say makes a lot of sense to me so I’ll read some more into it now. I think you’re absolutely right about learning from the experience of meditation. When I fully understand the extent to which the automatic thoughts that pop into my mind are not me, nor are they deliberately initiated by me, nor are the necessarily true, the easier it is to a) not be controlled by them, and b) not beat myself up for having them. It’s a slow process, but I feel like it’s a worthwhile one 🙂

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