Why You Should Start a Meditation Practice
While on a yoga retreat in Mexico in 2014, one of the head instructors asked me if I meditated regularly.
“Yes. I practice and teach yoga, which is a moving meditation, and the kind that I enjoy and connect with.”
She looked at me warmly and replied, “That’s not exactly the same thing. Try sitting and meditating for a few minutes each day. It will change everything for you.”
I took those words to heart, with a little embarrassment that I didn’t have a consistent practice at that time. More than 5 years after embarking on my self-made meditation challenge, I say with great certainty, that she was correct.
Find a quiet place where you can be alone and sit comfortably. I recommend sitting on a folded blanket, bolster, or pillow. Breathe slowly, with your eyes softly closed. Begin counting your inhales and exhales for 10-20 breaths. Later, you can expand to longer, if you wish. Be gentle with yourself. Unfold breath by breath, moment by moment.
Many shifts appeared in my life after committing to this practice, but here are four you may encounter:
If thoughts frantically race through your head at any given moment, you are not alone. We are human. Greet these thoughts briefly, and then watch them disappear. I like to imagine them as liquid going down a drain.
Rinse and repeat this exercise as many times as needed. Clarity will gradually enter your dreams and desires. Through reflection, it became clear that I had to limit the amount of group yoga classes I was teaching in order to make space for other things.
2. Saying yes or no with confidence
There is much to admire in saying yes to what will serve you and those around you. There is value in saying no to things that do not align with your life. Agreeing to everything can drain your energy and even make you sick. Meditating helps you analyze what to act upon, and what to turn down. With grace, I said no to projects that would not benefit me long term, and yes to those that would.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with my car, but I remember saying “thank you” after it started one morning. You may find yourself appreciating everything – a warm bed, a shower, toothpaste, your shoes, or the smile from a stranger. The list will go on and on.
4. Stopping to smell the roses
Twenty-four hours in a day is enough time after all! You can savor life as more time arrives. Be prepared to not feel as busy and overwhelmed.
It has been over 5 years since that fateful Mexico retreat, and my meditation challenge is still evolving. I urge you to join and experience your own shifts. Just as that yoga teacher predicted, everything will change!
If you’d like to get started with meditation in a supportive environment, join my Yoga and Meditation Gratitude Retreat November 15th-17th in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We’ll experience daily yoga and mediation surrounded by an enchanted redwood forest.
Learn more and register here.
Yoga Garden students receive $50 off any package with code: GRATITUDE at checkout.
Christie Pitko, E-RYT 500