Fun Fact: I started meditating before I even got into the physical asana pillar of yoga.
PRIORITES | REALMS
After a while, meditating, and observing my thoughts, illuminated so many aspects of my life that are conditioned to be the way they are because of my work, friends, family, and relationships. Our thoughts shift and make us go in many directions depending on who we are around that day or what we choose to read, watch, and listen to. Because of all these different aspects to one's life, we mentally drop into our checklist of priorities when we start to meditate. These priorities are also called realms. Everyone goes into different realms depending on their story and what they are dealing with in life at that moment. Very plainly, the realms are spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, sexual, and financial. The order differs for everyone, but for me at that time when I started meditating, my responsibilities were different, and my pattern was physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, and sexual. Nowadays, my realms have shifted from practicing meditation, and to be honest, I don't practice as often as I used to, but I still make time to sit for a few moments throughout the week. As life shifts, responsibilities change, and your spiritual path shifts, as do the realms. We hope to one day have them be consistent in that first order of spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, sexual, and then financial. Getting to this order consistently is not easy by any means, with that being said, like anything, practice is the best teacher.
SEAT | ASANA
Now, starting off meditating, laying down, wrapped in a blanket like a burrito, worked great to start my journey. But of course, as I was learning more and more about meditation, laying down wasn't the proper pose, and I worked my way up into a seated position. The reason being is because when we lay down, the back of our head is the pressure point for sleep, so when we lay down the body shifts into that mode, and we don't drop into meditation, but more so, the dream state of Savasana. Sometimes actually falling asleep....
Sitting up aligns the spine correctly for meditation. You align yourself with the root of your God line (your spine) to the earth, and you lengthen through the other chakras along the spine, all the way up to the crown, which is your connection to your higher self, God, and the universe.
Sounds beautiful, right? Well, sitting sucks. It's uncomfortable, your mind wanders more, and it just isn't as cozy as the burrito. So, queue yoga asana.
Ahh now comes the physical to be able to sit. Unfortunately, 25 vinyasas won't bring you to enlightenment, but you can try. What it will give you is strength in body, breath, and an awareness of a softer mind, to be better at sitting. Asana translates to "seat." So, you could say I started yoga properly, but to the western world I was backwards. Nevertheless, I meditate, and to me, this practice is the true yoga.
PAUSE | MEDITATE
I was introduced to meditation via YouTube believe it or not. I listened to the same videos for about two months and they changed my life spiritually, physically, and mentally. Once I felt comfortable having someone guide me, and then trying it on my own, I added in, what I like to call the 333 practice my mentor taught me, and finally, meditating using a Japa Mala. So, below are the three, none intimidating, ways I like to meditate:
I started my day by listening to, Angels with Ros, Morning Time meditation, and ended my day with her Evening Time meditation. Truly a magical way to start and end ones day. I could have listened to her all day... and I did. She has other guided meditations that drop you into yourself so you can let go of your realms and focus on something particular you are wanting to let go of. Her voice is soothing and she makes you feel very safe. I still take time to meditate with her guiding me when I need a little extra support.
3 3 3 Meditation
This one is my favorite ways to incorporate chanting and pranayama. Find a comfortable place to sit and give yourself a moment to arrive. Take a couple cleansing breathes, soften, and begin.
3 minutes of Chanting (pick a mantra)
3 minutes of Pranayama (Nadhi Shodhana, Sama Vritti, Ujjai, etc.)
3 minutes of Meditation (sit and observe)
The whole process, from arriving to chanting to breathing, allows you to drop into yourself more. Start with 333, then work up to 555, 999, and you get the idea.
Check out my post about japa malas! Get more info on what they are made of, where you can get one, and how to use it. Once you have read my post, picked out a mala that calls to you (it's like a Harry Potter wand) you can begin to start a japa mala meditation practice.
Japa Mala Meditation:
Find a comfortable place to sit and give yourself a moment to arrive
Take a couple cleansing breathes, soften, and begin
Hold your mala in your right hand between your index finger and middle finger
Begin chanting your mantra, guiding your finger along the beads
Full matra = one bead
Start doing it for 5 minutes, then 10, and maybe, just maybe, one day you can do a full mala and not get antsy in your pantsy.
CHANGE | PRACTICE
Meditation helped me with my anxiety, stress, hypertension, insomnia, headaches, and the biggest one of all, is the practice allowed me to soften to a lot of baggage and anger from my past. My story was heavy, weighed me down, and I had to face a lot of those aspects of my life that I felt defined me. Once I was able to hold space for all of my experiences and lessons, I changed the way I viewed my future and present moment. Beginning a practice doesn't have to be overwhelming. Start by doing it twice a week. Pick two days you can give yourself 5 minutes to sit, pause, and observe. After a while your mental will shift, your realms will shift, and your perspective on life will be a little lighter, a little softer, and little more enjoyable because you will be here; in the present moment.