For people that know me, they can understand how difficult it is for me to stay in one place -- mentally and physically. Of all the challenges I have in my yoga practice, stillness is by far the most difficult. And if you don't know me, you can get a picture of it here when I couldn't even do yoga without looking at my blackberry (before you judge, please read the whole story!).
Someone once described meditation as having a 5-year-old kid and a chair in the middle of a small room. You reached your meditative state when that child sat in the chair without moving.
Though I have had a few glimmers of that child in the chair, I find it generally impossible.
The greater challenge than getting that endlessly energetic kid in that chair is persevering when you can't.
And forgiving yourself when you are trying as hard as you can to be still, but then you let that thought about work pop in, that flutter about what you will cook for dinner, that mental note to send an email to your boss about this or that.
It is for this reason that I find meditation almost impossible.
Do I think I should meditate? Yes.
I have never found meditation accessible to me. It's a cop-out I know.
But this weekend, I have learned something that I hope will change my outlook on meditation. If I can be still and focus on breathing in and exhaling out, I am meditating.
It took two hours of a breath workshop to learn this.
On a Friday night.
I actually would have never gone to the workshop had I known it was about learning to breathe! I thought I would be doing an amazing yoga flow with a didgeridoo. That's right, lots of moving around. And of course, my own impression of what I thought it would be clouded my interpretation of the flyer. John Sahakian, from Three Circle Flow in L.A. sat with us for two hours and told us when to inhale. Then told us when to exhale.
And he told us a whole lot of stuff in between that sounded incredible and made sense to me. But there is no way I could re-articulate it because for once in my life, I was focused on breathing.
And not breathing in the sense of going for a run and trying to regulate my heart rate. But breathing focused on being still.
And in that moment.
While this all sounds very simple, how many of us knew this? We take breathing for granted, but as John said, one day, that exhale of yours will be your last.
So, as part of my yoga journey, to all that are reading this: I commit to breathe with awareness.
One day, it might even be a commitment to mediation.
But today, it's breath with awareness.