As I age, meditation becomes a bigger part of my daily practice.
I started off sitting for 5-10 minutes, over time that grew to 20 and now I sit for about 30.
The key is to take it slowly. It’s taken me 10 years to get to 30 minutes of quiet.
Meditation is hard.
Several years ago I took a meditation course.
Ten weeks long.
Every week we met as a group and participated in different types of meditations. We watched our breath, concentrated on a mantra or delivered lovingkindness which allows you to wish the best for yourself and others and helps you forgive people that you have had challenging interactions with…like your “frenemies.”
In our class we also discussed what had happened in our practice the week before. What was easy or difficult, how we felt, what our dreams were like.
Perfect for a New Yorker…equal parts intellectual stimulation, stress control and psychotherapy.
It was just the right amount of time to build a foundation for an ongoing meditation practice. I recommend this strategy for anyone really set on creating one.
Now every morning after I’ve done my asana practice and my hips are open I sit.
Most days my legs still fall asleep and frequently my mind wanders. What appointments do I have that day? Do I need to call my mother? Did I remember to email Cynthia about a story idea for YogaCity NYC? I try not to become attached to any of these questions or sensations; negative or positive.
Every once in a while I see a blue dot radiating at my “third eye” but more likely I have to continually bring myself back to my breath, or mantra or contemplation.
Lately I have been noticing some changes. Less fidgeting. More awareness of my heart and the enormity of love I have the capacity to give.
These changes have been long in coming.
Self practice has had very a positive impact on my life. I am more conscious in my decision-making and more loving to myself and others.
I have faith I am heading in a good direction, but I do not know for sure. Perhaps I never will. My practice teaches me uncertainty is OK. In fact it’s the only thing I can count on.
Brette Popper is the Publisher and Founder of YogaCity NYC. This is the fourth in a series of four blogs on self practice. The first can be seen here, the second here, and the third here.