I am a fan of meditation – I have incorporated it into a couple of aspects of my life and try, most days, to spend time in quiet meditation. Some days it is when I am winding myself down at night before I sleep. Some days it is when I have just awakened and am preparing myself for the day ahead. I have also participated in guided meditation – which is a great first step to learning how.
A number of years ago, my brother gave me a book called “How To Meditate” written by Lawrence LeShan. It’s a great book that talks not only about the “how to” of learning to meditate, but also discusses some of the psychological and physiological effects of meditation (how the brain and body react to it) and therefore just a couple of the many “why to’s” of meditation.
There are many schools of thought on meditation – all of which agree on the benefits. The key to getting into a meditative state is to start with breath – it’s the key - rhythmic breaths in, rhythmic breaths out. What I found interesting was the personal discovery that I could also get into a personal meditative state while exercising. Well, rather, when doing specific exercises.
Yoga – no surprise there – yoga is all about the breath! As one moves through each pose and into the next the breath is always the focus. Well, that and maybe not falling down when in a complicated pose. I have found that when working one-on-one with a yoga teacher (I’ve done this off and on for a few years now and am about to get into another ‘on’ phase) the simplicity of the practice comes out and the focus returns naturally to the breath. An hour lesson feels as though it only took 3 minutes.
Funnily enough, I am also able to get into a meditative state when running. I have to focus on my breath when running and my body seems to go into an “auto-pilot” state where my brain shuts off for the duration. Yes, things can interrupt the state, but it returns to breath and my brain just quiets. I may not come in from a run with answers to life’s questions, but I have come in from a run understanding something, seeing a solution to a challenge in front of me or simply a little more settled with a current situation that has been causing angst.
Today I completed run number three – and am still (happy to report) not feeling any undue pain on or around my left knee. What was wonderful for me today was that I was able to get into my most comfortable running breathing pattern and *snap* just like that, my brain shut off and I could feel my body doing what it needed to. When I finished I felt good – both physically AND mentally.
With love across the waters,