Reflections on life a little off balance as a yoga mamma, cancer survivor, and a Madeline Island aficionado.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Meditation for Type A's
Natural surroundings; the best meditation opportunity.
"Bring your thoughts into the present moment and focus on your breath." Sounds simple, right? But over the years both as a teacher and a practitioner I find meditation the most challenging part of my yoga practice. I've half expected that as I have aged (and become a much wiser yogini - ha!) that meditation would become easier. Perhaps the mind chatter would soften and my practice would not be a continuous stream of thought on how to brush away the to-do list for just 5 minutes. Hello brain, is five minutes really too much to ask for?
What is the matter with me?
I know the benefits of meditation. Most notably is the reduction of stress and anxiety both of which lead to a myriad of health problems. For this reason alone I file away a minimum of ten minutes a day to devote to my practice. But the time set aside never guarantees the quiet stillness of my mind. It often eludes me.
Guided meditation is always a part of my class. At first it was the most difficult thing to teach. I would hear the rustling of students and it would almost strike fear in my heart. "They are bored" my brain would tell me,”you have lost them." I would wrap up the class on the quick likely reversing any benefit my meditation guidance my teaching had afforded them. So why is it second nature to lead a class of yogis in challenging vinyasas only to bomb guided meditation?
I have come to the conclusion that the cards of successful meditation are stacked against me. The fact that the society that I (and you) live in that suggests self-worth is based mainly on the check list of accomplished tasks. I was raised by the hardworking parents and that is what I aspired to. We Midwesterners know the value of hard work, darn it! The idea that there is value in quiet stillness (or to my parents doing nothing) was just not a principle that I was raised with. Therefore, the inability to successfully meditate is a blend of my environment and my genetics.
That said, I will continue to try. Especially since my fight with cancer, I tell myself to keep at it and find the peacefulness inside of me.
For whatever reason the time I can connect in meditation is on the island. The beauty of Madeline is inspiring and it just feels easier to breathe. The sounds and smells of nature for whatever reason do not distract me, they guide me.....