The philosophy of Ashtanga yoga is based on eight limbs. Asanas, or the more widely known yoga poses, are only a small aspect of the yoga practice. The true path of yoga is to unite body, mind, and soul in the essence of divine enlightenment, the final limb.
But how do we achieve this connection of body with Self?
There is a common misconception that meditation is the practice of completely clearing the mind of all thoughts. But the mind is always active, it is its nature. As a result thoughts will emerge.
The key to meditation is to acknowledge these thoughts, and then let them go.
I started meditating about three years ago in an attempt to control my anxiety. At the time, I was struggling with both triggered and untriggered anxiety attacks and I was willing to try any and everything to relieve my anxiety without going on medication.
Although it was my anxiety that ultimately lead me to my meditation practice, you do not need a reason to start a meditation practice.
Meditation is for everyone!
The practice has so many profound benefits that, I believe, everyone should meditate. Meditation is also not a substitute for professional help. I am not a doctor or a yoga therapist, I am simply sharing my story and how meditation has helped transform my life.
When I first started, I was restless. I would sit and wonder if I was doing it right, waiting for something to happen; what that was I didn’t know. But, nothing ever did (or so I thought). I kept practicing every night, first for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, and then eventually I was able to sit peacefully for 30 minutes. It was physically painful in the beginning, my neck and shoulders would cramp and my legs would fall asleep. But, the more I explored my physical yoga practice, the more comfortable I was able to sit for my mental practice.
My anxiety never disappeared, but the more time I spent connecting with myself, the more in tune I became with my physical and mental state. Eventually, I learned to recognize the warning signs of my anxiety and I could (most of the time) implement these meditation techniques to redirect my mind to a more calm state.
A consistent meditation practice enhances our ability to develop concentration, mental clarity, emotional positivity, and an overall sense of calm. When we take a moment to step back and refocus our thoughts on the present moment we are allowing ourselves to see the true nature of things and to adjust our reactions accordingly. Through a consistent practice you can train the mind to remain present and redirect your mind, when it becomes heightened or anxious, to a more peaceful and energized state.
I never understood the practice of meditation until I started meditating. Ever since I integrated meditation into my daily routine I have noticed a profound transformation in my life, both mentally and physically. I feel a deeper connection with myself, and a greater ability to control my anxiety, and have gained a deeper appreciation for life. Through meditation I have learned to stay present in the moment and to use my breath when my mind strays.
Even if you aren't interested in starting a meditation practice. I hope that this post inspires you to stop, take a deep breath, and just be. But if you are interested in starting a meditation practice, I am happy to help you get there.
Here are two of my favorite guided meditations and a 528 Hz frequency that I like to listen to realign, express gratitude, and release.