Meditate Like a Boss, Part 5: The Kit

Incense

Today we have part five of my series on meditation. Last week, we talked about how to deal with the difficult emotions that sometimes come up during meditation. Now that you have all the mental tools you need, you’re ready to establish your meditation practice at home.

As you make meditation a part of your life, it can help to have a space set aside for it. This place will serve as a reminder of your practice, and it will ensure that you have a comfortable, inviting place to sit and meditate. If the space is already there, all you have to do is sit down. Doesn’t that make things easier? Here are the keys to creating a meditation space of your own at home:

  1. A little bit of space. Figures, right? You just need enough room to sit comfortably. For me, creating a meditation space is a good opportunity to remove clutter from my house. The meditation is intended to help me remove junk and gunk from my mind, so the meditation space should reflect that.
  2. Cushions! You’ll want a soft place to sit, after all. A blanket on the floor under you is nice, while a pillow or zafu will raise your hips enough that your knees more easily relax toward the floor. If you have tight hips, sitting this way may cause some tension in your knees. If so, place cushions or rolled up towels under your knees so you can relax and your legs won’t fall asleep.
  3. An altar or focal point. If you have room for a little table or shelf, place a candle, flower, or inspirational image there. This isn’t necessarily an object of worship, but it’s something you can let your eyes rest on that puts you in the right mindframe for meditation. Some people use photos of a beloved teacher, guru or saint. The altar helps establish that your meditation space is to be treated with reverence (as a symbol of your practice), and it’s also a place to center your attention when you get lost in thought.
  4. Some peace and quiet. The more you meditate, the more you learn to focus in busy, noisy and even stressful situations, but meditating in quiet is much much easier and more pleasant for most people. Choose a place that sets you at ease so you’ll have fewer distracting and anxious thoughts

There is no right or wrong here. Your meditation space should feel comfortable and inviting to you. I like to keep a blanket on hand so that when I totter over to my altar in the morning, I can wrap up and get comfortable. I hope your place will feel like a sanctuary from the chaotic world outside. To begin or end your day in this peaceful, soothing way will start to make a big difference in the quality of what happens between meditation sessions!

Have other questions? Leave me a note in the comments, and I’ll do my best to address them!

Next week, I’ll post my responses to your questions and other FAQs about how and why to meditate.

Namaste!

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Be Imperfect Together

Bridging Nature

I have to be reminded quite often about the importance of Patanjali’s first sutra: Atha yoganusasanam. Now begins the practice of yoga.

Now.

And now.

And now.

Begin again.

Every time I think I have it all figured out, I have to begin again. In fact, I think that believing you know what you’re doing is a sure sign that you need to start from the beginning.

Our practice begins now. And now. And now again.

Right now, I’m in my hometown with my husband. We’re staying at my parents’ house and spending time with my siblings and their kids, and as tends to happen every time I visit home, I’m reminded of the strangeness of family, our weird patterns, our imperfections, the assumptions we make about each other, and the unreasonable expectations we cling to. The hardest part is that I love these people and this place, and I just want everything to be perfect. I want us all to be the best possible version of ourselves 24/7 and make the best of this limited time we have together. And I get attached to that. Attachment creates suffering. I get upset when it doesn’t work out the way I want. I get hurt when my loved ones prove to be imperfect. I feel bad because I’m unable to make everyone happy.

So I begin again. Atha yoganusasanam. Because this is yoga, too.

Today, my sister brought me to a yoga class where the teacher turned out to be a high school classmate of mine — a really sweet person who I hadn’t been close to, but who I always thought was pretty cool. I was thrilled to see that she had become a yoga teacher, too, and a really good one! But my high school mentality crept in a little bit, and I caught myself comparing my practice, my class, my body, my strength and flexibility to hers. When I teach, I always remind my students that we are all in a different place on our unique paths, and that no one’s path or progress is better or worse than the rest. When I teach, I see my students striving for their personal best, and I feel honored to witness them doing this beautiful work. But it’s harder to apply that same appreciation to myself, my practice, my struggles. Ain’t that just the way it is?

Begin again. This time, with compassion.

It was an absolute blessing today to practice with my old classmate. She looked beautiful and happy and healthy, and I was so grateful to share that moment. Likewise, it’s a blessing to be here now with my family. We are imperfect, but to be imperfect together can be so beautiful.

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TiLT: Things are Blooming!

inspiration
new art projects with my awesome sister
staying up late and talking with Nimby
chamomile tea
promotional coffee sent to our office
Gala Darling’s sex advice
Eleanor’s post “don’t laugh” on writing comedy (E was kind enough to reference my recent post and refer to it as a poem, and I didn’t know it was a poem, but thank you, Eleanor for receiving and naming it as such)
the lunch place near my office
Linda, who is fun and friendly and thinks my jokes are funny and makes my office a nice place to be
big band jazz as conference call hold music
conference calls in which we decide we’re going to need more conference calls
Sarah Wilson’s article “How to Quit Multitasking, Already“, which is not actually a how-to piece but very insightful nonetheless
Sarah Wilson’s blog in general
working through The Artist’s Way and writing every day and discovering things
grapes
my recently purchased copy of Regina Spektor’s album Begin to Hope
my blue nail polish (and the fact that it’s lasted nearly a full week)
Post-It notes … especially neon pink ones
unfiltered sake
the awesome flowers blooming in front of my house
planting seeds for new plants in my freshly uprooted garden
anticipating what will grow next
when a day that starts off pretty rough turns out beautiful

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