Since starting my amazing journey on the path of becoming a yoga teacher, I have started a meditation practice in earnest. I have meditated before, and even had moments of “regular” meditation practice where I experienced what I could tell was a deepening of my meditations, but this is the first time in my life I have really had a regular practice that feels, well, regular. I think part of that is because I meditate in the mornings, whether weekdays or weekends. Upon rising, the first thing I do after putting the coffee to brew is getting on my cushion.
From someone who used to hit snooze about 4 or 5 times and finally drag herself out of bed, this is quite a change. Meditation has become part of my life. I look forward to it and sometimes even crave it (especially in the evenings, when I typically don’t meditate, but a lot of life-long sitters have morning and evening practices). Meditation gets my brain more awake than a mug of hot coffee (but I still have my coffee) and that focus lasts all day long. The stability and quiet that comes from a good 30-minute sit lasts all day long too.
Meditating in the morning prevents “stuff” from happening that would otherwise derail your practice. If you haven’t yet showered and it’s too early to make or keep any appointments, there is nothing in the way of you and your meditation. Getting up 20 minutes earlier can make a world of difference and can help you form a lasting meditation practice. I am only about 6 weeks into mine, so I am still in the danger zone where if I did not create supports for my practice (like doing it first thing in the morning), I could lose it to “being busy,” “not feeling like it,” “having plans” etc.
Meditating in the morning is a great way to tune in to the natural stillness of life before everyone’s up and about. The stillness in the air is very present in morning meditations. Birds singing, rain falling, a random car driving up the street, occasional voices, but nothing of the hub-bub of a mid-morning in full swing. The stillness you experience on your cushion and the stillness in the air surrounding you become one. You can literally feel the stillness within and without. I like this about morning meditations.
But what I like most is the habitual daily-ness of it. I like this ritual of getting up to grind the coffee, set up the coffee pot, and press “on” before I walk over to get my zafu and zabuton, set my timer, and begin my practice. I like how every day there is something different to explore, and each exploration shows me more about the nature of my mind. I enjoy my pranayama practices and am interested in how they affect the tone of the sits that follow. What I enjoy most is the feeling of stillness that can stay with me all day if I remember to stay connected to my breath even when off the cushion. This is a gift.
As my yoga practice deepens and evolves, I am conscious of the desire for self-directed study. Soon I won’t have Paula every weekend telling me what to do and what pages in what books to read. Soon it will be on me to continue learning, growing, and evolving. Meditation is one place where I can continue to do that, by observing the patterns of my mind and by creating space where growth and transformation can enter.
I feel like a fragile butterfly with still-wet wings, a hint of trepidation in my movements, wondering what will happen when I spread my wings and fly off the branch that has supported me these last 7 weeks. I want to create places for myself to learn, grow, and evolve my practices. Meditation will be one. Reading and studying the classical texts of yoga, like the Sutras and the Gita, will be another. I will take as many classes with Paula as possible. She is my teacher now. The relationship between teacher and student is a special one and very difficult to put into words so I won’t try now. I will take classes with other teachers and learn, explore, grow. All this is with the intention of continuing to grow and evolve so that I can support my own awareness and help others support (and find) theirs.
It is becoming clearer to me that this is my purpose in this incarnation.