Monday, June 20, 2011

Clarity and Energy From Meditation

It has been just about one month since I began my Isha yoga routine every day. This is a 20 minute meditation practice called Shambavi Mahamudra and I learned it at an Inner Engineering retreat in Atlanta in May. My experience at the live event wasn't particularly good. It involved an awful lot of hours of sitting on the floor and, although I was prepared with a meditation cushion, I was still not ready for that many agonizing hours of fidgeting on the floor. My entire body hurt and getting through the meditation practice was nearly impossible for me. Not only was I in all sorts of various pain, but there was so much distraction. Many of the meditation veterans seemed to be having out of body experiences and although that is great for them, it was very hard for the rookies to try to keep their minds focused. It was just a lot to take in and experience in a short amount of time. I have to say, my outlook wasn't all that positive and I might have even felt a little hopeless. I even had fearful thoughts that I simple wouldn't be able to find an extra 20 minutes during the day to devote to this. But I was committed to at least trying.

One of the biggest hurdles to doing this meditation was the fact that it must be done on an empty stomach. For me this was a problem because I am constantly snacking on something. I may not eat large quantities of food, but I do eat often. This meant that my only real time to devote to this meditation practice was first thing in the morning, which also posed a problem because of my early work day schedule. As it is, I could barely drag myself out of the house by 6:30 am. My heart was sinking, but I was committed to at least giving this a try. I had already invested a good chunk of time and money into this Inner Engineering and I just HAD to give it a go.

And so I did. Sadhguru said that the first 30 days would be the hardest and those would take the biggest commitment. I figured all 30 days would be torture, but I was pleasantly surprised. The first week was rough. Getting up at 5:30 was a struggle and my knees and hips were screaming after just 10 of the 20 minutes. But I persisted.

It was some time during my second week that my hips started to loosen up. I found that I could sit for the whole 20 minutes without focusing so much attention on the discomfort. Pretty soon I didn't feel a thing and could sit there effortlessly. The bad part is that once I cleared my mind of the pain, it left room for various other thoughts to pop up. But I didn't give up.

By the third week I noticed longer stretches of a thoughtless mind. Not only that, but I noticed it was getting easier and easier to get out of bed in the morning. I would awake before my alarm consistently and almost anxiously await the time to run into my new 'meditation room.' What started as a chore was quickly turning into something that I looked forward to. I was stunned.

Here I am 4 weeks into my new routine and I am consistently waking up hours before my alarm. I wake up every single morning wide awake and ready to spring out of bed. It seems that my body only requires 5 hours of sleep these days. Prior to starting this meditation I was almost always tired. I blamed it on everything from the lack of sunshine, to allergy problems, to post Lyme disease issues. There was always some reason for me to be exhausted. But today I am full of energy almost always. I can't remember the last time I complained that I was tired. I'm pretty sure I can throw away my alarm clock. And the best and most exciting development is the clearing of my mind. It used to be that I couldn't go 20 seconds without 100 thoughts flooding into my mind. Now I can sit for 20 whole minutes and think about nothing. If I had the chance to place a bet on whether or not I would EVER be able to achieve that through meditation I would have certainly bet against myself. I still can't believe this has happened to me. It's a miracle. I have never felt better! Meditation works. If you are a doubter, you have to do yourself a favor and just give it a try.

6 comments:

Sandy Foster said...

I'm crying tears of joy! Really. I want to reach up there and give you a giant hug. Thank you for this update.

tina said...

i did attempt meditating for 20 minutes and i actually felt really relaxed. i sat on my bed because i knew i would have the same butt and hip pain. i have not done it again since last week because i need to find time since i exercise in the morning. i dont know if i should meditate before or after exercising.

Paula said...

That's a good question Tina. I'm not really sure if before or after is better, but for me doing the meditation first thing upon waking up seems to be really good. My heart rate and breathing are both nice and slow and it's easier to calm both the body and mind. If you work out first, your heart rate will be racing and you will likely have a hard time trying to breath really slowly. Unless, of course, you are doing yoga as your workout, in which case you would end with a relaxation routine that would be a good lead into meditation.

Paul Harrison - Master Nomi said...

I have always used mindfulness to become part of
the moment of doing something and fully engaging.
For instance, when drinking tea or coffee, fully
become aware of all aspects of the preparation,
pouring, and drinking without thinking of
something else. Just be present, its a great
exercise and then return to the breath when
needed.

Becky said...

Just saw this after reading your other posts. It's great that you have stuck with the practice despite the difficulties--and have been experiencing the benefits!!

Syeda Tabassum said...

wooww... very inspiring i am committed to give it a try... :)