I thought it would be cool to write a blog about my meditation journey. I always keep a journal handy when I’m meditating so that I can record my experiences- even the less enlightening ones! They’re all a part of the big picture. Below are those entries. I hope you enjoy!
July 1st, 2014
It’s interesting- when I practice to music I cannot help but reach for full-expression. And I sweat much more! This works for my dance-y spirit. New one today- in my half-moon Sun Salutation now I take my hands out to the side in my standing split. Feels good!
July 2nd, 2014
Corra’s idea: Post-natal yoga where you use your baby as counter-weight for the poses. I should brainstorm safe ways to incorporate this into a class. Time for a friends with babies playdate? Also, doing the sacrum clock in between sides for supine twists is a delicious way to neutralize your spine.
August 6th, 2014
Teaching yoga has become my metaphorical soap box for sharing the things I’ve learned to help make the world prettier. All my teaching really, not just yoga. I will use this soapbox to bring myself to my highest good.
September 22nd, 2014
I’m feeling very anxious, exposed and vulnerable right now. I know things will improve, but right now I’m having to just sit with it. New endeavours can be so challenging. (editors note: This was around the time that I opened my first studio.)
October 15th, 2014
Seeing as how I don’t have a lot of new students yet [at the studio], I am trying to focus on some point of positivity. I am noticing my progression as a yoga teacher. As a teacher in general. When I step back, I see how distraught I was in the beginning, constantly feeling like I’m not good enough. Then I think about now. I’ve noticed huge improvements in my teaching! Especially with my personal goal of communicating succinctly. I will continue to focus on this and not my current lack of students! Some things start slowly.
October 16th, 2014
This just felt really good: Begin in a supine position. Hug your knee to your chest. Extend your leg and point your toe. Bend your knee and flex your foot. After doing that for as many times as feels good, open your leg out to the side and bind at your big toe. Mmmmmm.
October 18th, 2014
“Har, hara, hari” was chanted in a kundilini class I took and I don’t know what that means, so I looked it up:
HAR= Creative infinity, a name of God
HARA= is another form
HARI= is the active form of creation.
November 13th, 2014
I’m having second thoughts about the studio in Richmond. This experience has taught me that yes, I absolutely want to run a studio. It is so lovely and fulfilling. But it will take a lot of time and do I want to live in Richmond for years? No. I am feeling pushed back to the island, but I don’t want to make a rash decision. I have a lot of classes booked in the new year outside of the studio, so that’s good. I should probably exercise some patience as I tend to be impatient sometimes. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a learning experience (it’s ALL a learning experience). I do have some people coming in, just very slowly. All this one-on-one time has been invaluable. And I am learning a whole lot about what NOT to do whenever it comes time to open up my next studio. And I must learn that it is OK to be gentle on myself. If I teach it, I must cultivate it for my own self too.
November 27th, 2014
We separate only to feel the joy of becoming whole again. I was taken by my spirit dragon this time. Up, up, up. I was reminded of my golden wings, and he reminded me to fly on my own. I twirled, raced, dove, played in the clouds. I was reminded I am not limited to one element here. So I dove into the sea, under the waves. So fast. Then up, over to a continent. I was reminded again that nothing restricts my body here. I dove through the canopy, the foliage no bar to my huge wings. I came up, up, up into the atmosphere where the wind ceased to blow my hair. Dragon was there. Dragon became me and I became Dragon. He told me to remember. Then I exploded into countless gold pieces of dust and I scattered everywhere across the planet and cosmos. I remember. Again. Dragon smiles. I am everything. This body is simply what I choose to be now.
January 1st, 2015
Living in the future is anxiety. Living in the past is depression. The present moment is our only place of power. So live in it and take charge.
February 12th, 2015
I used “sat nam” (“I am that”) mantra as a focal point during my meditation practice today. I found myself drifting through self-reflection. Thinking about how our external appearance and belongings etc. are a direct reflection of the internal. Thinking about how my external reflection gives me insight to what makes me what I am. Thinking how our essence- although we grow and change constantly- but our essence, that stays the same from when you’re a little baby onward. What are my external clues telling me? I feel as though I know what it is I’m after, but I’ve yet to be able to define it perfectly with language. I want to know how it all works. I feel like my true and deep desires have no fulfillment in material, external things and ways. The world will not know when I have achieved my goals- only I will. That is hard to describe to someone who lives very deeply rooted in the tactile, material world. Such as my father. Oh, daddy issues!
February 13th, 2015
I had trouble focusing today, so I flipped my palms down on my knees to be more grounded. Whoop, there it is. I decided to focus on my heartbeat today as my anchor. At first, I had trouble finding it over the din of my super-loud thoughts. Eventually I found it. Once I was able to focus on it for a bit, it became easier to feel. So whatever you focus on becomes stronger. While I surfed the waves of my thoughts and my breath, I noticed my head align itself slightly. Then an image came to me of the mind as a crazy, energetic toddler. They are so jazzed to discover they have all this energy and ability to do things that they just to them, really loudly. A child needs to have that energy channeled into something or they just get crazy. The mind is much the same. It has all this ability and energy that it just wants and NEEDS to do something with it. So if we don’t channel all that energy into something, it’s going to come out as stray thoughts, a scattered mind, and in extreme cases, some sort of obsessive behavior.
My heartbeat, today’s anchor, was now so pervasive I could feel it pulse through my whole body, almost causing my torso to sway. I decided now that I felt totally present, it would be a good time to check in with my body. As if on cue, my spine lifted and I felt energy holding me up without any effort. I aligned my shoulders and skull. I couldn’t help but feel as if I were an energetic conduit. I decided to do an experiment: I checked in with my physical sensations when imagining doing something like having that something I knew was bad for me (I felt a wilting feeling, clenching of left toes and closed sensation in my root chakra). Then again while imagining doing something good for me (I felt lifted up, head tilted slightly, felt tingling sensations in third eye and sides of my brains).
Shortly after that, I allowed my heartbeat to be my main focus, then rubbed my palms together before covering my eyes to ease myself back into the outside world.
I think it would be cool if I did a little meditation at the end of next class and brought papers and pens for everyone to write down their experience for themselves to do with what they will.
February 14th 2015
Tried to focus on my heartbeat, then breath. Couldn’t find it today- too distracted by how much I miss my boyfriend. *sigh*
February 15th 2015
Hard time focusing again today. I read a quote in Yoga Journal recently about meditation:
“With meditation, I found a ledge above the waterfall of my thoughts” – Mary Pipher
So I pictured myself on a ledge above a beautiful waterfall. But instead of water, it was the constant stream of my thoughts. Whenever a new thought entered, I flung it over the ledge. A Bjork song came to mind where she lives on a mountain and flings little things off so she can feel “safe again with you”. I kept flinging, they kept coming. So I stopped for today.
February 16th 2015
I did a Durga Shakti meditation today. I used my phone to record myself describing her before I sat; long, flowing black hair. Scarlet silk sari. Golden necklaces and bracelets and rings. Many arms and weaponry of all sorts in them. Also a lotus flower. I visualized her shimmering presence around me and did my best at a polite and reverent salutation. Then asked ” what should I be paying attention to right now?” I then got one of the bouts of mild nausea I’ve been getting a little lately. I attempted to ride the wave and see if I could shift the way I was perceiving the sensation, but this particular little trick eluded me today. I tried to tune in to an deeper meaning or sensations that may present themselves to me, but none came. As I bent forward to reach for my journal my little bout of mild nausea dissipated immediately. I am overdue for a check up (as my mom keeps reminding me). Persnaps I’ll bump that up a few notches on the priority list.
February 17th 2015
Did meditation after my practice today to see if that would help with my focus (the asanas where originally designed to prepare the body for deep meditation, so this seemed like a wise course of action). It didn’t help today. But I am pleased with my diligence- even if I don’t find that place (or “drop in”), I know I’m giving my brain a workout. I used a mudra I cannot remember the name of; you put your hands at your navel in chin mudra then intertwine your thumbs and forefingers so that your right and left sides are connected.
February 27th 2015
Chin or Gyan mudra– Represents the unified nature of consciousness. Thumb= supreme consciousness. Index finger= the individual .
I used ujjayi breath today. The breath helped me to focus and bring my energy internal. I listened to my heartbeat, I felt my guts gurgling and I tried to be aware of my brain. Ujjayi is so close to snoring that I wonder if that effect from Ujjayi pranayama (ocean breathing technique) meditation has a similar effect on the body as sleep.
Abhaya (“fearlessness”) mudra – A gesture of protection and fearlessness.
I sat in Hero Pose. I found that my head wanted to tip up slightly and I found myself thinking about the things I care about.
Dharma chakra mudra “wheel of dharma”- Speaking your truth and serving from the heart.
I though about an area of my life where I would like to devote my energy: Bringing people out from the darker places into the lighter ones. Then I meditated on “how can I serve?” I thought about the immediate- which is Stage Coach (a fabulous after school musical theatre program where I teach kids how to sing and dance and get along with one another) tomorrow and prepping those kids for their show in a fun way. Also about how I can do this in the future through yoga and dance and creative theatre classes for kids. Nothing in particular came to me, but I did crystallize a component of my mission this time ’round and how I am able to serve with the gifts I have been given.
Vajrapradama “thunderbolt” mudra– symbolizes unshakeable confidence.
I listened to my heartbeat and thought about how there are many gifts you can give to the world that aren’t necessarily tangible.
March 1st 2015
Thoughts on a gratitude themed class I’d like to do:
Pick your favourite body part. If you can’t think of one, I find it easiest to start with your eyes. Observe how you feel while focused on this body part. Now see if you can have that feeling bleed over into one other body part. Then another, until you feel this way about your whole body. I invite you to do this practice once a day (or more).
March 3rd 2015
Today I used chin mudra- palms up so as to be open to inspiration and ideas. I noticed that my Ujjayi breath comes maturally now when I sit to meditate. I decided to focus on my near future because I’ve felt a lot of uncertainty lately about what it hold for me. I pictured what I want because that is the best way to bet what you want (The hard part is knowing what you want first!)… So here is my future:
I am on the island and I have a group come for yoga one or two times a week to my upstairs mini-studio. My website is up and running with my ongoing blog of journal entries, I have other tangible things available (such as my Asana Basics booklet I’m currently working on, some glass items that G has made, some clothing I’ve designed and sourced with sustainable fabrics and labor practices) my vlog of basic 10 min yoga sessions is up and running ( with lots of hits!) and I am known on the island as the local dance teacher and my Island Kids musical theatre program is wildly successful. I bring in people from the city who are also into wellness to do workshops with me and I put them up in my guest bedroom. My mom and I have 200 people in our Sing For Pure Joy! song circle and host annual Gathersing reatreats on their huge, beautiful property. G’s glass school is thriving and we make a lot of art together as well as host interesting guests from abroad. We also do the odd retreat abroad where we collaborate yoga, glassblowing and wellness.
There. I just called forth the future I desire by seeding it into the physical realm by writing it down. It’s on now.
March 29th 2015
Almost done with the process of moving back to the island. This had been the longest, most drawn-out move yet. I have come to learn about myself how very much I value the importance of a solid foundation under my feet. I’ve been getting more and more tense over the course of this move. So much so that I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping because my brain won’t chill out. I’ve been getting wound up very tightly and everything has been feeling like a huge deal. Haven’t been doing any meditation and my asana has been limited. Hmmm. Took some time to really slow down and have a nurturing practice today. Consulted the [taro] cards. Meditated for a while. I began to notice that my sore neck muscles have been very tight and I could feel them start to loosen themselves while I sat. My card was “Temperance”, or “blend”. So my meditation practice today was to allow all my thoughts to just pass over me and to let them bubble away on the back burner until I am ready to assimilate my experiences (re: deal with them).
I feel as though I have been successful at lowering my frequency a few notches for today.
March 30th 2015
I had a hard time dropping in today. I’ve noticed that when I get my thoughts and emotions out of the way, my body seems to align itself of it’s own accord. Have a fierce kink in my neck, so I hope to have it align itself for me.
No such luck today.
April 5th 2015
I decided to write a guided meditation today after my personal meditation session. Listen to it in my video section (coming soon!)
April 10th 2015
We had a lovely guest stay with us because she was doing cranial/sacral work at a wellness retreat on the island. She gave me a treatment as thanks for inviting me in to our home. As follows is my experience:
At first I feel her fingers tapping lightly at the back of my neck. I drop in pretty quickly. I feel calm yet my mind is chatty, as usual. As she moves her hands over my body, I try to pay attention to where my thoughts are going and wonder if there is any correlation between my thoughts and any energetic blocks in my body. I notice the loudest sensation when she has one hand behind my neck and the other slightly in my right ear. This causes a throbbing pins and needle-y sensation in my left leg, but without the pins and needles; turned more towards the unpleasant side, but not too bad. I notice my thought chatter going to a place that I am anxious about and notice my breath get shallow and fast. Interesting. This passes quickly. She puts her hands just under my jaw and this feels calming and good. When she puts her hands on my neck and right ear again I experience the same thing as before, sans the shallow breathing. Towards the end she puts her hands lightly on the fronts of my shoulders. I know her touch is gentle but I feel as though I’m being pushed into the table with great force. As if her energy is saying, “you be grounded now.”
She ends the session and I feel light and floaty. She explains that cranial/sacral addresses your bodies hydrolics system, so to speak, and that your brain is supposed to be floating in fluid (this is called homeostasis, I believe) but sometimes it gets mooshed over to one side, or something similar and that causes our energy to be off balance. Her goal is to re-balance that energy so that the brain is floating again in equilibrium.
This is why my energy has a gently, floaty quality to it after our session. She explains that my energy was stronger on the left side and weaker on the right before the session, but it is balanced now.
April 12th 2015
During practice today I made a yummy discovery; when in Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose. The version with your forearms pressing into the Earth under your calves). If you press the soles of your feet together to activate your legs while also pushing the ground away from you with your forearms, this creates traction in your spine, which results in a really nice stretch in your low back.
May (the) 4th (be with you)
I had a hard time dropping in today, but I’ve taken a couple of weeks off from my meditation practice (by accident). I focused on keeping my mula bandha engaged today with Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean breath) for help with focus. I noticed that, after a while, the muscles in my lower torso tensed up from focusing so hard on Mula. Interesting.
June 11th 2015
I have inadvertently taken a break from my meditation practice. Life got crazy and I fell off the wagon (when life is crazy, it’s they very time to stay on the meditation wagon, but I digress. That’s me making up excuses. Life is what it is. And here I am back on the cushion).
I used “So Hum”(the sound of my breath) as a mental drishti (focal point) today. The thoughts about money, career, etc, which have been prominent on my list of concerns lately, kept trying to run away with my brains. Yet I stayed true for a while. I allowed those thoughts to slough off and brought my focus back to my breath. It was a relief to view these thoughts as passing fancies. It’s like, for about 5-10 minutes there- they lost all power over me and I touched peace and bliss. Then the thoughts won out cuz I need to start my day. But I know indulging them [negative, superficial thoughts] is like indulging a small child with some temporary toy they just can’t live without, today.
June 25th 2015
I dreamt that I was in a yoga class at Ocean Mountain Yoga ( http://oceanmountainyoga.com/ ), but the teachers weren’t Lorna and Dawn. I had an energetic blockage in my abdomen and one of the teachers pounced on it and started chanting right at my belly. I could feel the blockage, then I could feel it resolving. She managed to dislodge it. A very intense dream.
July 5th 2015
My usual meditation seat overlooks our garden, so today I used the lush greens as a focal point; my mental drishti. I used my Ujjayi Breath to sustain focus and whenever my mind began to wonder, I came back to that image of lush greens.
This make me think of the yummy brekkie I ate and how all of it (other than the piece of toast) came from this garden, or the farm at the bottom of the property.
I tried to bring my awareness to the sensations in my body of digesting those lush greens. What does it feel like when my cells sort out where to put everything? I made some humorous parallel to myself cleaning my house, then rubbed my palms together to create some heat, held them over my eyes for a minute, then attended to the itch that had developed on my shoulder.