Meditation | Monthly InSpirations by Fiona

InSpire - November 2013

“Empty your cup and sweep the mat”

“Yoga” is a buzzword that is gathering momentum in our society, as we all seek simpler ways to handle day-to-day stress, and also to find a way to be healthy, happy and more balanced physically, mentally and emotionally.
Riding on the wave of the yoga-buzzword is “meditation”. A term most of us are familiar with - for some a daily practice, for others an illusive term that might conjure up some idea of inner peace and enlightenment, which might seem unobtainable and/or purely frustrating when attempting to sit and be still.

So, what is meditation and how do we practice it? How can we dive into this sitting stillness and achieve benefit?

Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It’s called meditation.” – Jonathan Haidt from The Happiness Hypothesis.

Ten Ideas from Brian Johnson on starting to meditate, plus comments from me in brackets:
  1. Pick a reason why (see paragraph above).
  2. Commit and make it 100% (e.g daily).
  3. Start simple (e.g 5 - 10 minutes/day).
  4. Don’t be a hero in the beginning (distractions are normal!).
  5. Sit with Dignity (long spine, soft neck).
  6. Pick an Anchor (eg. the breath).
  7. Say, “Oh, well!” (don’t search for the feel-good factor, expect everything and nothing).
  8. Brush your brain (let stuff come up, & watch it without judging. It is a clearing out).
  9. Work diligently, patiently and persistently (don’t beat yourself up when you miss a day).
  10. All Life is Meditation (be attentive to your breath in your daily life. Smile often).

What are we observing and practicing on and off our mat this month?
Find a simple yoga practice that opens you up, calms you down and invites the body to be naturally still. The mind will follow. When the “cup” of the mind is full and the body is tight, it is difficult to sit still. So, empty the cup and sweep under the mat, then...Commit to sit....

Find a mantra or sound you love and sing it.