A lot of yoga students might think of trying meditation, but it can be difficult to know where to begin.In this post, Lynn Burgess encourages a beginner to remember that yoga is a never-ending process and clarifies the difference between meditation and relaxation.
Q: Sometimes because of scheduling I have to go to an open or advanced beginners class. Especially if the class is big, I feel lost or worry that I am slowing things down. How should I handle that?
A: Remember in school when the teacher would say, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question?” This advice holds true in yoga. Ask for guidance when you don’t understand or feel lost. Chances are good someone else doesn’t understand either. Remember open classes are for anyone with a foundational knowledge of yoga! There’s no there’s no need to push your yoga practice trying to keep up or to worry that you are slowing things down. One inherently awesome thing about yoga is that it is “a practice.”. It is a never-ending process. In every class, I find things that challenge me both physically and mentally, so there is constant growth, and constant learning. Yep, even teachers still struggle!
Q: I appreciate to beginning physical improvement but the mental change is even more obvious and useful. I just had a little medical procedure after doing my home yoga and practicing breathing during it. Much to the amazement of the doc and techs, I went to sleep! That experience got me thinking about meditation. What advice do you have for beginners like me?
A:Many people mistakenly believe that meditation is just a form of relaxation. Both disciplines are valuable and can result in improved health such as decreasing stress and anxiety and helping you sleep better. Relaxation is loosening or slackening of activity. With relaxation you are looking for release of stress and an unwinding of your body. Watching TV and listening to music are forms of relaxation but the mind is still very active and streams of thoughts flow unabated.
Q:I find that thoughts come in when I try to meditate. Is it really possible to transcend thoughts?
A: Meditation is a silent way of looking at what’s inside. You’re not running away from it — you’re sitting with it, you’re stewing in it, you’re fidgeting with it. You might have your own conversation inside your head about it, like, “There I go again, I’m thinking about what I did yesterday, and I’m supposed to be just sitting here and watching my breath.” You have your own conversations in your head, but after a while in meditation you are bringing yourself back to now.
Can you recommend a book that might help my morning meditations as well as further explain these ideas?
I recommend an meditation DVD by Rodney Yee such as Daily Meditation or my own Meditation For Every Body DVD . I also recommend The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Much more than an inspiring spiritual journey, the book will take you on an inspiring journety to find your true and deepest self.