“The only way to meditate badly is not to meditate at all”

By Sindy Warren

So says Rebecca Pacheco, author of the fabulous Do Your Om Thing (which you can pick up at YR, with a personalized book plate from Pacheco herself).  She articulates, and I agree, that the modern yogi needs to meditate more than ever:

“Ironically, at a time when more Americans then ever before are doing yoga, we are less present than we’ve ever been.  We know we’re more wired.  But studies also show we are the most sleep-deprived, in-debt, addicted, obese, and medicated adult generation in history.  To me, that data suggests that we need to improve our understanding and practice of yoga so that we can build happier and healthier versions of ourselves and our communities.  We need to open the gates of the mind to the here and now and leave it open.  Whatever enters and whatever life brings, we have a choice and capacity for how to handle it.”

I had this in mind when I sat down in a hotel room in Chicago last weekend to get in some meditation.  I propped myself up on a cushion and turned on the timer on my phone.  I started with some pranayama (alternate nostril breathing, to be specific) and tried to just tune in and observe my thoughts without too much attachment to them.  It was hard, as I kept getting swept away by my to-do lists and other mental meanderings.  When I had had enough, after what felt like a really long time, I opened my eyes and saw it had been a mere 11 minutes and 45 seconds, including the pranayama exercise.

I was on the verge of negative self talk, about what a bad job I did meditating, how I can’t focus my mind, etc.  But then I realized the struggle was an opportunity for me to practice compassion and patience with myself.  If I want more of these qualities in my life, I thought, I must start inward and then they will radiate outward.  If you have any tips, questions or comments about meditation, let’s hear ’em!