The act of focusing your mind
It’s recommended to find a specialist to guide you through a safe and enjoyable session. 🙂
When you think of doing yoga, your first association might be with the physical practice: moving through the yoga poses and practising yoga breathing. But meditation‘the act of focusing your mind’is also part of a well-rounded yoga experience.
Learning to meditate in yoga involves more than sitting still for a few moments each day. The reason? Your mind might still be sifting through a barrage of thoughts and worries. ‘Yoga meditation is about quieting a busy mind,’ says Wade Imre Morissette, a yoga teacher in Vancouver, B.C., and author of Transformative Yoga: Five Keys to Unlocking Inner Bliss. ‘The more you’re able to quiet your thoughts through yoga meditation, the more you experience a sense of true presence,’ he says. And being in the moment helps create that beneficial mind-body connection that yoga is known for.
How to meditate in yoga
The first step to successful meditation is practicing it often. But even in a class where the yoga teacher sets time aside for meditation, getting the hang of how to meditate can be quite challenging, whether you’re a beginner to yoga or you’ve been taking yoga classes for a while. Considering that serious yogis spend a lifetime honing the art of meditation, there’s no sense in pressuring yourself to perfect your own meditation technique after just a few sessions.
Yoga meditation for beginners
‘An easy way to learn how to meditate is to focus on the here and now,’ says Morissette. When you’re mindful about being in the moment, there’s no room for your attention to be pulled toward distracting thoughts about the past or future. ‘That can be very freeing,’ says Morissette.
He recommends beginning with active meditation, where you focus your thoughts on something specific. ‘The idea is to streamline your attention to only one thing at a time, like your breathing or gazing at a candle flame.’
When you’re first trying out this meditation technique, says Morissette, be prepared for your mind to wander sometimes. Whenever you become aware that your thoughts have drifted, simply redirect your mental focus back to the present.
Want to give yoga meditation a try? Follow Morissette’s advice for getting started.
- Set aside just a few minutes at first. Choose a time of day when you’re able to meditate without interruption. You might coordinate your meditation so you do it right before or after a physical yoga practice.
- Sit with good posture either on the floor, cross-legged, or in a chair if it’s more comfortable. (If seated cross-legged, switch which leg is crossed on top each time you meditate.)
- Gaze at a simple object such as a candle’s flame or a black dot written on a piece of paper. Or, close your eyes and home in on the rhythm of your yoga breathing.
- As you become more familiar with how to meditate, increase your practice by a minute or two at a time.
Finally, to avoid frustration, remember this common yoga meditation myth: ‘Meditating is not about achieving a blank mind,’ says Morissette. ‘It’s more about resisting the temptation to react to the thoughts that do pop into your head.’
5 Minute Meditation
Today, for the first minute or two, settle into your breathing and your observer stance. Notice your energy level today and how it affects your posture and your mood.
Then, as you’re noticing the breath, I want you to visualize taking in energy. Visualize your breath as pure energy coming into the cells, oxygenating the cells; see it as the fuel that drives the cellular process that creates energy in our bodies. Then, on each exhale, visualize letting go of fatigue, dullness, or anything that weighs you down mentally or physically.
Remember: Rather than trying to actually deepen or control the breath, you’re just watching the natural pace of the breath; this isn’t a breathing exercise. As you inhale each time, you’re visualizing energy coming in naturally and just acknowledging that energy comes in through the breath into your body to invigorate you. And then as you exhale, you’re letting go of anything that weighs you down.
Do this for a few minutes, then drop back to just noticing and observing the experience of your breath in your body. If you enjoy this and lose track of time don’t worry, you can do it for the entire 5 minutes if you like whatever feels comfortable to you. When you reach the end of the meditation, once your timer goes off, take a moment with your eyes still closed, just to notice the change in your energy level and how your body feels.
Today you’ll journal about your energy and vitality.
- Write down what you ate yesterday, and note any dips in your energy during the day.
- Based on the past few days’ experience, what have you learned about your habits, and how can they inform today’s eating? Write down a general meal plan for the day.
- Decide on a few specific moments today when you will check in with your energy, and write them down.
Today’s mantra: I am energized.
As you go through your day, recall your mantra, noticing any changes in energy as an extension of what and how you eat, so you can start to construct your own food map. Study yourself as if in an experiment. How do you feel when you eat certain foods? Does your fatigue limit you? Remember that sometimes cravings are our bodies telling us they need something nutritionally different. Also recall that by doing simple things, such as chewing better and slowing down during meals, we can increase absorption of nutrients and indirectly increase energy and decrease cravings.
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