Move Into Meditation: Lessons From The Mat
When we started our first open sessions, we called them ‘Moving Mantra’. A local yoga teacher gave us a good piece of her mind, asking us whether we were on something (!); ‘no one will ever come to that class. What an awful name! Sounds like you’ll be chanting some nonsense the whole time. Every good teacher knows people don’t like to chant’. It’s all good; that’s just her opinion and though we doubted ourselves, people did show up and they ‘got’ it. We send her love for taking time to chew over our nonsensical name and tell us her thoughts.
The point is that synchronising movement with breath, makes the entire external world melt away and that incessant inner chat fade away. Then; magic happens; we soften into a full body meditation, with little effort, other than on the physical level. We see it the whole time; the face softens, the muscles relax, space is created, and tension is released.
We move as one into a beautiful meditation; our bodies resonating on unseen unified vibrations. You just have to believe us when we say that any vinyasa class will bring this meditation into motion, providing you can let your ego go.
Remember, ego is not vanity. Ego is the mind/thoughts that tell us we are separate from that which surrounds us. We are not. That voice is an illusion.
And when we fall into the inner rhythms; the oceanic breath, the fiery sensations in the muscles, the watery ripples of the spine , the space we create and the earthiness through our feet; then we fall into a moving mantra.
These simple tips may help you to fall into that state both on & beyond the edges (think all your edges; the ones we carve out of fear, the literal edges of the mat and the edges of the mind):
Draw attention to the breath; we literally share this breath with the tress, the plants, the animals that surround us. Turn the attention to it.
Turn the volume of the thoughts down. Tame the monkey mind by taking moments to pause. Have a digi-detox; time goes too fast stuck in front of a PC or phone. Be still. Go outside. Drink in some natural light.
The thoughts are like an untamed puppy. You need to coax them back. Be the observer. No need to judge, scold. Just coax the mind back to the breath. Think ‘where is my breath now? How am I feeling within? Is there tightness? Can I soften? Can I notice the movement in the stillness and vice versa?’
If you’re short in confidence and that inner voice tends toward negativity, avoid mirrors. Many studios have them and they’re amazing tools for checking alignment and seeing onto the shapes. But, if the mind kicks in straightaway and causes any ounce of inner criticism or comparisonitis, then close your eyes rather than judge your reflection. This isn’t about avoidance; it’s just a nice tip if you’re hard on yourself. We are like radio receptors; what we put out there, comes back to us. So, avoid any room for negativity.
Let movements last the length of each breath; whether that means drawing out the movement or lengthening the breath. Synchronise them like lovers falling into dance. In all honesty, what we’re saying here is S L O W D O W N! No rush; there’s enough of that going on in the world.
Single pointed attention helps; focus on a single task or area. Meditation is easier when we channel our thoughts onto a specific focus. During yogasana focus on a certain area; the hips. Let the attention dwell there. If eating, focus entirely on looking, smelling, touching, tasting the food. This becomes delicious on all levels and will ripple out into the simplest of tasks; suddenly driving, running, walking, drawing, reading…life becomes a moving meditation.
Let movement be organic on the mat. Yes, you’ll be guided by the teacher, but learn what your body enjoys and let that be. Let self-consciousness go and wriggle, dive and drop into what you feel. Essentially, we are all out own greatest teachers. Have more faith in yourself.
Trust the process. If it were easy, there’d be no fun it in.
Keep practicing. It’s a lifetime of practice and play.
We believe in you.