I must have been 12 years old when I picked up a shiny silver copy of Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar. The text was far beyound my comprehension at the time but I read through it and tried a few of the postures. It was a good effort considering how hard it is to learn movement from a book. I guess this planted a seed because since then I have always sort out yoga, always seeking new classes and new books and to actually incorporate it into my natural health practice.
So it's official, I have started my yoga teacher traning and aim to get it finished by the end of the year. The course is heavily based on the theory and tradition of yoga and the Patanjali Sutras. I liked the curriculum because it extensively goes into meditation, it demands discipline and an appreciation for knowledge before asana. My inner bookworm is satisfied!
Right now all the learning is based on meditation, the core of yoga practice and bringing yourself into union. Yoga means "union" in sanscript and it is the ultimate aim. Wouldn't that be nice? Union within yourself and your perception of the world. Besides the physical benefits of yoga (improved posture, muscle tone, balance and organ function), this aspect appeals to me. These days I look deeper into what I do and combining the physical, mental and emotional levels makes it all the more complete and beneficial in the long term.
In my new found motivation, I decided to search for a nice yoga bag and a new eco- friendly mat. Everyday when I use them it will remind me why I started this mode of study and to keep me heading towards my vision. It took FOREVER but finally I found a beautiful bag made by Ogorgeous . I can happily say it is the only one of it's design and colour in Australia and I take it everywhere!
Many people won't give this a go but I'm posting it anyway...
How to meditate
Aim to sit for 5 to 15 minutes (for beginners) in a quiet, dimmed area. The best times for me are the "inbetween" times, dawn and dusk...
1. Close your eyes and focus on how your body feels (feet, legs, abdomen, chest, arms, hands and face)
2. Then bring your attention to your environment, any music or sounds in the distance
3. Then to your breath (in, pause and out)
4. Everytime your mind wanders, just bring it back to the breath and keep doing this for at least 5 minutes
5. You should begin to feel a stillness from the lack of thoughts, or your minds focus on thoughts
***Sometimes our minds are so hectic that we don't gain any initial peace from meditation, as with most things, you have your good days and your bad and persistence pays off.
At the very least we will gain a better sense of peace (union) and this encourages improved stress responses in the body and good health. It's best to do it everyday for a few minutes. I've committed to do at least 30 minutes to an hour of meditation a day as part of my course. It is a lot to ask but there is a lot to gain from this simple practice.
Meditation is probably one of the most beneficial things a person can do for themselves, yet we always find an excuse not to do it. As the sutras describe, our mind/ ego is avoiding an end to its obsessive thinking. If the mind isn't thinking or if we don't buy into these thoughts then it sees the end of its mortality. The mind isn't who we are, we are something beyond that and THAT is a topic for another day.