I used to HATE yoga. I thought the “slow” pace wasn’t for me. Plus I felt like I could get a better workout by lifting weights and doing cardio. It wasn’t until I started doing yoga regularly that I really realized its value.
I felt the same way about meditation for a long time.
Whenever I went through a guided meditation section in yoga class I would mentally start creating to-do lists in my head. I felt like it was a waste of time to spend time just thinking about my breath and I wanted to make sure I was really productive.
When I started yoga teacher training one of my assignments was to meditate daily– even 5 minutes counted. At first I had the same resistance. I found that focusing on my breath was tedious and frankly sometimes just annoying.
My views on meditation really changed for me one day when we were told to shift our focus from our breath to the sounds that we heard in the room. That was the first time I really felt interested and engaged, and an amazing thing happened. When I was able to focus on just those sounds, sometimes thoughts would pop up that were answers to problems I had been having, sometimes I would get a creative idea, then I could go back to focusing on the sounds without feeling unproductive because I could trust that those serendipitous moments of inspiration would arise.
As I spent more time meditating, eventually I was able to also use my breath as an anchor, a focal point, without feeling annoyed or uninterested. In my daily life I noticed a transformation: I was able to finish and publish my book, create some of my most create class themes and designs, and be a better mom to my son. I was more creative, thoughtful and had more patience. And I am not alone, many world class performers including athletes, celebrities and top business people have touted the benefits of meditation. To name a few:
- Tim Ferris, Author of “The 4-Hour Work Week”
- Jennifer Anniston
- Ellen Degeneros
- Clint Eastwood
- Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO, News Corp
- Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company
- Arianna Huffington, President & Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group
- Oprah Winfrey, Chairwoman & CEO, Harpo Productions, Inc.
- Lebron James
- Kobe Bryant
In this world so littered with distractions it makes total sense that meditation would be beneficial. When you are meditating you are practicing your ability to focus. Usually the focus is on the breath but it can involve other things as well: sounds, sensations in the body, etc. You are also working on your awareness. With all the distractions we are exposed to we often find that we are not truly aware of what is happening in the present moment. Meditation helps us practice that awareness so we can bring it in to our daily life. Finally, meditation is a great way to get out of the “thinking” brain and get into the “feeling” brain. This is especially relevant to me as a fitness professional. I often see my clients doing an exercise intellectually correctly, for example in the bicep curl, they curl their hand in to their shoulder. However, they may be shrugging through the movement and feeling it more in their neck than in their bicep. If they paid more attention to how the movement felt, their form might improve spontaneously. Emotional feelings also often have physical manifestations that we can recognize and use as a tool to identify when and how we should cope with our feelings. The more we are in touch with our feelings both physical and emotional, the more we are in touch with our true selves and the more we are able to live to our true potential.
Sadly, after yoga teacher training was over my meditation practice eventually became non-existant. Or at least limited to the times when I was able to take a group yoga class. However, I am starting again! The best resource I have found for starting a meditation practice is the Headspace app. It guides you through 10, 10 minute meditations in a fun and easy way to get you started on creating a habit.
Want to try with me? Great just download the Headspace app and play along! The first 10 meditations are free. I can’t wait to hear how your life transforms just by meditating 10 minutes a day.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, nor am I in anyway affiliated with Headspace. I do not make any money when you subscribe. I just truly love the app and wanted to share it with you.