“True meditation is about being fully present with everything that is including discomfort and challenges. It is not an escape from life.” ― Craig Hamilton
Meditation, like yoga, is a highly personal and intimate practice. Once you've developed a routine that works for you, chances are that you'll continue to hone that practice until you notice its benefits permeating all facets of your life.
There is no one way to "do it right," and we need to scrap the myths and misconceptions about meditation & yoga practice that may present a challenge from progressing with a healthy schedule to invite it into your life.
THERE'S ONLY ONE WAY TO MEDITATE!
Whether it's a mantra meditation (chanting, repetitive rhythmic verbal or internal reciting of inspiring words) , a walking meditation, creative meditation (imagining and strengthening positive aspects of the mind)... pick the one that speaks to you!
ONLY AN EMPTY MIND IS NEEDED TO MEDITATE.
When the mind is jumping from thought to thought during our practice, this is an opportunity to train the mind so as not to become absorbed in those thoughts.
Taking note of your thoughts and the emotions that accompany them is also a part of the meditation process.Meditating is very much an observation. Whether you’re focusing on a mantra or something in your environment, meditation is an opportunity to observe the thoughts that move through your mind and your body, without becoming attached to them. If there is ever a time when your mind is "clear," it might be the space between one thought and the next.
YOU HAVE TO SIT FOR HOUR FOR THE MEDITATION TO "WORK"
It is admirable and even enviable when people get into total absorption for hours. In actuality though, meditation does not have to consume too much time. Just as there are many styles of meditation, there are many ways to fit it into your daily life. Preparation for practice is equally important, and knowing how much time you can commit to mediation is vital in setting goals to get yourself intune with yourself. You'll get the most out of your practice by turning it into a habit... regardless of the duration.
Just remember, any Meditation or yoga practice —in any form— requires the practitioner’s sincerity, and thus will involve some study on your part. The practice lasts a lifetime. May it always remind us that you’re always exactly where you need to be.
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I was welcomed back to Intermediate School 204 the last few weeks for more yoga and meditation.
Back in April, I introduced yoga and meditation to many students at that school, as part of the City Year after school program.
This time around, leadership and development specialist for Beacon, Ms. Kaychell, invited me back. The students moved, breathed and relaxed their way into varying yoga postures.
During the sessions, I grounded the students early in the practice, facilitating their active engagement in breathe control and relaxing the body and mind. We then moved into "heat building" poses to wake-up and invigorate the body. The ensuing poses were balancing asanas to dive deeply into their focus and enhance their body awareness.
At the close of each practice, a few minutes of silence, in savasana (corpse pose), left the students in internal bliss.
The smiles on their faces and the effort put into engaging in these poses were outstanding.
The mats provided were cut out of fabric from MFTA (Materials for the Arts).
Students from varying schools attended these sessions at I.S 204, including P.S 112 & I.S 126.
I would like to extend a special thanks to everyone involved and to those that initiated these great afternoons. I'll definitely see all of you again in the Spring.
Can't wait to see the staff and the students, and their beautiful smiles.
Peace & love,
It was an honor and loads of fun to teach students in the City Year program at I.S. 204 (Long Island City, NY) about yoga and meditation.
I've always had a passion for teaching our youth and anyway I can help to facilitate their learning process and enhance their development… I'm all for it.
Yesterday, I received the coolest card with messages from the stellar students and the outstanding staff that work there. It really made my day. To everyone who participated… thank you!
At 90-years young, B.K.S. Iyengar still practices asana and pranayama for hours daily.
Swami Yogananda Maharaj Ji is 105 and not only engaging in daily practice, but teaching as well. Tao Porchon-Lynch is still instructing too!
Others well into their 80s and 90s have a regular regimen of asana. Makes me wonder, where I will be 40-years from now.
I'll take my chances and practice some sort of asana, pranayama and meditation daily and hope to be as functional as some of these inspirations.
Join the club -- it's open to everyone!
I have three nephews; Joshua, Dylan and Jason...
The two oldest - Joshua and Dylan - melted my heart when they got into their meditative states...
This after being buck-wild all day. LOL.
I love you guys!
Nearly 20-students in savasana in a meditative state, feeling and cultivating awareness... it was quite a sight.
Thanks to the City Year organization, I was able to lead another round of meditation at I.S. 204 (Long Island City, NY), which led to bliss and students of varying ages finding some tranquility and arming themselves with techniques for relaxation and coping.
After participating in a few sets of Sun Salutations and engaging their breath in tree-pose (Vrksasana)... closing with meditation on their backs, the students turned the auditorium stage into a place of serenity.
The importance of after-school programs, presenting students with outlets for growth and disseminating all the knowledge we have, giving them tools like these, can only lead to productive scholars and fruitful development.
Many, many thanks to everyone involved.
Yes, even the auditorium at Intermediate School 204 can be turned into a meditation hall!
With the help of The Yoga Room, twenty students that participate in the City Year after-school program at I.S. 204 (Long Island City, NY) were able to experience the benefits of meditation, as I had the privilege to lead them through a breathing practice and exercises to get them into a mode of consciousness and awareness.
Many of the students immediately benefitted from the "relaxation," and grasped on to the techniques I instructed them through to improve and enhance their focus, attention span, reduce their stress and anxiety and increase their self-confidence, happiness and creativity.
At their official site, the City Year program states, "Our culture is the air we breathe - it is the set of values, structures and practices that creates an environment in which idealism can be successfully practiced."
That breathe and harvesting a culture of union is what I focused on and what the students grasped onto, as they were introduced to breathing techniques to alleviate stress and to guide them through their first ever meditation experience as a community.
We focused on relaxing the body, breathing deeply and connecting with the breath, concentrating the mind, expanding it with guided imagery and allowing the students to expand their inner awareness.
The results were reflective. The smiles and tranquility established in the auditorium was palpable.
A special thanks is extended to everyone involved and to those that facilitated this great afternoon.
For more information on the enrichment clubs (science, art & sports) service-learning (community service) and all things City Year, check-out their site here.
If I'm doing it, I'll be talking about it. Yoga chatter & more.