If you are anything like me I am sure that you found the physical yoga practice before a meditation practice, it's often the part of yoga that people find the most challenging and daunting. Over the past month I have had a lot of new people come to yoga class as it's the beginning of the new year and people generally want to try new things. This is great! However, I have also had people walk out during savasana, leave at the mere mention of a 'short guided meditation' and (this one made me giggle) insist on doing forearm planks while everyone else was in savasana - I might add, this was a beginner level class. As a teacher I know that these people just aren't ready for this part of the practice, that's fine, they will ready when (and if) they are ready.
If you have been practising yoga for a while you might know that yoga has eight limbs. Asana is one of them, Dhyana (meditation) is another. I love to think of the physical yoga practice as a moving meditation. By moving with the breathe, by sweating, focusing and working hard to move between the different poses we are allowing ourselves to drop into and stay in the present moment. Meditation on the other hand can seem scary because it is the total opposite to the way in which we lead our lives. We are so over stimulated by screens, apps, busy lives, computers, always on the go that we rarely get moments of absolute silence.
This meditation for beginners exercise is simple and you only need five minutes. Meditation inspires calm, focus, wisdom, space, balance. I like to meditate either first thing in the morning or last thing at night before I go to bed. Start with just five minutes.
- Find a quiet place to sit. Place a folded blanket beneath your sit bones to elevate the hips.
- Set a timer for five minutes. By having a set time it allows your mind to settle.
- Allow your hands to rest on your knees or thighs, lengthen the spine and close the eyes.
- Begin to focus on the natural pace of the breath. The really simple, natural, easy inhales and exhales that move through your body. Feel the natural expansion and contraction of your belly. Connect to this breath.
- Do your best to keep your inhales and exhales equally long, beginning to notice the subtle pauses at the top and the bottom of each breath - the spaces in between.
- If thoughts do pop up (and they will) do not judge, just let them pass as quickly as they came, like a cloud floating by on the breeze.
- Stay here. Breathe, Be present.
- When your five minutes are up and the timer goes off bring your hands together at the very centre of your heart. Bow your head to your hands and feel a big sense of gratitude for these moments spent in silence and meditation.
- Smile and open up your eyes!
If you are looking to delve deeper with your yoga practice, meditation and wish to nourish your body from the inside out then JOIN ME for a weekend Yoga and Raw Food Retreat in Devon. I have only a couple of spaces left and a may have a special price for you - contact me for more information and to book!