the log book
I smoked several cigarettes before my first meditation. I was alone in another country, appalled by a series of ruined plans, low on cash and rife with anxiety. Maybe this condition jostled me enough to remove whatever opposition I usually feel toward externally originated, traditionally passed down mental practice— because I've always felt that my mind is my own, and meditation seemed like a weird stillness fetish. For whatever reason I sat on the big orange tile floor, let my eyes mostly close, and focused as best I could on inhaling, and exhaling.
Study after study these days is hip to the importance of the relaxation response. You know, the feel good you get post-savasana, meditation or certain pranayam (breath practices). Why is this important? Shouldn’t our energy be focused on moving more, getting fitter, losing weight, to stay healthy? Yes, and er.. no. Public health enemy number one these days appears to be stress (and its direct links to heart disease, obesity, and so on) which is why that restorative yoga class might be a better antidote than another week of full-on cardio.
If you have been to my class, you probably know how much I love to move. Physical yoga asana practice is an essential part of my life, and without it I feel lost. That's why, for me, a seated meditation practice is worlds more challenging than, say, a forearm stand scorpion pose.
What do you mean I just have to sit here?! Can't I do this upside down?!?! I should probably do some core work instead...
But I've discovered that mindfulness meditation is as crucial as plank pose, both for my work on the mat and in the outside world.