Lately, I've been talking a lot about meditation in my classes. As a yoga teacher, you might think I meditate all the time! Well, I didn't up until the last three months or so (I've been teaching yoga for 4 years) but I've now made meditation as regular as brushing my teeth everyday.
I've always kind of been a melancholy soul. Not in dark depressing way, but sadness has always been something that has lingered, kind of like a runny nose you can look past after awhile or a stubborn itch. In a lot of ways, sadness has been the reason why I've always seeked for the utter truth in things. It led me to yoga. And it's probably responsible for any good art I've made. So I'll always be grateful for whatever made me carry all this sadness through the years. However, the older I become, I can't help but think that their are far more interesting emotions to experience than just sadness. I got to a place where I was just tired of being so sad all the time. So I decided to meditate. EVERYDAY. You can't expect a different result by doing the same things, right? I was determined. I was ready to do something that made me uncomfortable. And most importantly, I was ready to practice what I preach! I mean, hello! I'm a yoga teacher!
So I remember the day I dove in I did 20 minutes. I realize I could've started with 5 or even 10, but I knew if I did a very small amount of time it would be a vague memory the next day. So, I laid there in the middle of my room, for 20 minutes, completely still. It was terribly uncomfortable. I'll spare you the dialogue I had in my head for the first few tries. But I will tell you what slowly started to happen the more and more I practiced...
First of all - within the first week of meditating consistently, my sadness dulled. It was still there, sitting in the middle of my chest like a small pebble (rather than a boulder), but I could live with that. I felt that much more functional in my day to day activities. Fast forward to now (after about 3 months now of consecutive meditation), I can proudly (and gracefully) say it's virtually gone! Naturally, it comes back to visit when something actually makes me sad, but it's no longer the daily uninvited guest. Essentially, I feel like meditation helped me make space for other emotions. More space for gratitude for where I'm at, for who I'm with, and with what I've got. It's allowed me to think different thoughts. Thoughts that are good and inspiring and uplifting. It's so clear now that joy really does come from a deep sense of gratitude for who you are. There's a sweet peace that comes with that, and it sits right in the middle of my chest. Right where my sadness used to live for so long. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not happy all the time everyday. After all, I do live in LA. But committing to practicing is really what it's all about. I've learned to forgive myself over and over again for the times I let my ego convince me I wasn't _______ enough or that I didn't deserve _______. Meditation has a beautiful way of slowing things down, and it brings you closer to your truest nature. Every time. And if you believe that we're all deserving of love and peace, not because of that we do for a living or what we look like, but simply because we are...then you'll find this practice to be humbling and absolutely necessary.