project: stick with it | yoga + meditation

Jan
7

stick-3

Disclaimer: I am only writing this based on my own research. I am not an instructor or a medical doctor, but I do sometimes pretend to be one on TV.

The first thing to figure out is what you want to get out of it and why you’re doing it. Are you doing it because Lady Gaga does it and she’s cool? If so, that’s not going to work.

As I mentioned here and here, my future self if slapping my in the face and I need to take better care of myself. I am an anxious person, I always have been. I need to simmer down a bit. I want to concentrate better, have better posture and try to heal my back aches. So, I broke out my researching skills and bought some yoga and meditation books. I recommend picking up a couple of these books to read up on yourself, but here are some things that stuck out to me and may help you as well.


YOGA

In researching Yoga, I found that there is actually more to it that most people think. There are actually 8 limbs to Yoga:

Yama — Social conduct & truthfulness
Niyama — Individual conduct, contentment, devotion to the divine
Asana — Posture
Pranayama — Breath control
Pratahara — Sense withdrawal (turn the senses away from the external, social and physical world, to the internal, mental, intellectual and spiritual world
Dharana — Concentration
Dhyana — Meditation
Samadhi — Super-conscious state leading to self-realization that is the purpose of yoga.

Good things to remember during asana (posture):

  • Avoid eating before practicing any asana. Leave an hour after a light snack and at least 3 hours after a heavy meal.
  • Avoid drinking anything during posture practice.
  • Make sure to practice slowly and carefully and don’t expect to get the posses 100% right away.
  • Breathe evenly and steadily through your nose. As a general rule, breathe in during upward or lifting movements and breathe out during downward or twisting and folding movements.
  • Trust your inner child and try to explore a posture like a child.
  • List, lengthen and extend the body.

Getting Started:

  • Give yourself a set time and place to practice.
  • Practice for around 15 minutes.
  • Practice the same set of asanas in an order that feels natural to you.
  • Remember that yoga should be enjoyable and life enhancing.

MEDITATION

Good background tips to know:

  • Western culture is founded on the relentless quest for ever greater material gain and personal comfort. In the West we are still preoccupied with the need to explain the mechanics and mysteries of the mind, whereas in the East the aim is to transcend to it.
  • Minor ailments such as migraine, anxiety attacks, sinus problems, asthma and cardiac arrhythmias can be helped by regular deep-breathing exercises which improve the circulation or air though constriction passages.
  • Practiced twice daily (morning and evening) for as little as 10 minutes at a time offers the opportunity for each of us to create what is effectively a sacred space in which to nurture a sense of well being, tap our inner resources and find last peace of mind.

Good meditation practice:

  • Consider keeping a journal of your experiences and insights.
  • It’s not a good idea a heavy mean before, as it can slow down digestion.
  • Record the script so you do not have to break your concentration to refer back to instruction.
  • If you feel uneasy, count down slowly from 10 to 1 and return to taking consciousness.

Creating a sacred space:

  • A room will soon acquire an ambiance that is conductive to mediation and relaxation as it will have been ‘charged’ by your positive mental energy.
  • Keep the room simple.
  • Have something from nature within reach. Flowers or a bowl of water can act as a Universal Force.
  • The room needs to be comfortably warm and well aired, particularly if you’re using candles or incense which can use up oxygen as they burn and can leave you feeling tired.
  • Soothing music or natural sounds can help create the right atmosphere.

Getting off the ground:

  • The Egyptian Position — Ideal for beginners and Westerners and easy to sustain over a period of time.
  • Active Meditation — Daily life, observing your body in action. Start to observe yourself at random points throughout the day. If you find yourself fidgety or sitting in an awkward position, run through the head to toe relaxation exercises and get energy flowing freely again.
  • Passive Meditation — Sit still, enter deep relaxation and concentrate. Take time to scan your body for tension.
  • Mindfulness — You don’t have to control your thoughts, you need to stop letting them control you. To find lasting peace of mind, we first have to accept that we cannot control our thoughts, only our response to them, and in doing so we make peace with our minds.

TIP — At random moments during the day, stop whatever you are doing and consider if you are in a mindful state of awareness. Are you physically relaxed and paying attention to the task in hand, or are you tense and anxious to finish it and move on to something else? Take a deep breath, hold it for a few moments then exhale it slowly. Now continue with what you were doing, but be mindful and live for the moment.


WHAT I NEED

Books — I found some really greats books at Barnes & Noble and have been highlighting and page flagging ever since!

Yoga Kit — I got a kit because it came with the block, strap and mat — for only $30!

Journal — Get 2, one for Yoga and one for Meditation. Both recommend writing in a journal for your insights.


WHAT I WANT

Alex & Ani Bracelets — These are great because they promote positive energy. Heather bought one when she started to remind her why she is doing it, and I think it’s a great idea.

Meditate Candle — This can be any kind of candle, but we happen to actually sell a meditation candle at the shop ;)

Is this something that interests you? I would love to know if you’re with me!

Love, Megan.

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