I taught a group of new yoga teacher trainees this weekend. I have been focusing a great deal on meditation with this group of students; more so than in my other teacher trainings. It has been very fun to share the joys and benefits of meditation with this group. After the training Saturday I was talking to one of the trainees about how I did not spend much time in meditation when I first started teaching yoga. In fact, I spent very little time in meditation, and I did not share that gift with my students. I just didn’t get it. It seemed like a waste of time to me then. I was telling her how now I feel like I stole part of the gift I was giving them when I taught yoga to them by not sharing meditation with them.
When I first began teaching yoga and for many years after, meditation was the most challenging part of yoga for me. I was comfortable flowing, doing arm balances and inverting. Ask me to sit still for an extended period of time - that was hard. It was hard to sit quietly and not be thinking, planning, creating.
I have been teaching yoga for over 20 years now and meditation is still one of the hardest parts of yoga for me to explain to new yogis. Meditation doesn’t have to be scary, you can’t “do it” wrong. I have started telling my students to think of meditation like an etch-a-sketch for our mind. We go through our days filled with thoughts. We can get overwhelmed. Meditation does for our mind what shaking the etch-a-sketch does – it gives us a clean canvas. It clears away the clutter.
We live in a fast-paced world and rarely sit down and be still. In one of my recent classes I did a seated five minute meditation and when we were finished, I asked the class when was the last time they had sat still for that long? Most of them said they could not remember.
Sitting with our thoughts.
Scary, scary, scary and oh so hard - at first.
I made a choice to do meditation daily. I do, most days, and when I miss my meditation practice, I feel it. Meditation is a way for me to slow down and focus. Meditation is a place of peace to help my creativity and my business. Meditation is an important part of my yoga practice and my life.