Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Warming the body for Meditation
Last night in our meditation class I thought it opportune at this busy time of the year to revisit the importance of setting up the best possible conditions for your meditation practice! We are all racing around, juggling multiple to-do-lists, grabbing gifts, organising people and activities .. and we know that our meditation practice is the perfect antidote to all this busy-ness BUT just plonking ourselves in our chair and expecting to find tranquility and calm is a big ask! Similarly getting out of bed in the mornings our body can sometimes feel like it needs a really good grease and oil change. All creaky parts and stiff joints. Just dropping onto the cushion in that condition is hardly going to be conducive to relaxing body and mind...
It's like my vegetable patch that I worked on all weekend (in the sun and with a big smile in my heart) .. when I take the time to mindfully tend the soil, water regularly, remove the old and patiently watch over my crop - then I am setting up the best possible environment for a positive outcome.
In order to place yourself in the best possible position for your meditation practice you need a transition period .. a MEDITATION WARM UP .. a space to gently change gear and move from FAST to SLOW(ER) ..
In yoga you perform 'asana’ which means postures .. the body is stretched and loosened, strengthened and cleansed .. providing a pathway to sitting quietly in meditation. After a series of postures the body is more flexible and the mind is clear and quiet.
Slipping into meditation then comes more naturally.
So in class last night I shared with everyone a few of the 'asana' that I use to warm up the body for meditation. And then this morning first thing I received in my inbox the current edition of the Living Yoga Bulletin #6 with a link that introduced me to Sadie Nardini who has this brilliant yoga WAKE UP YOGA IN BED posted on YouTube.
Again I am amazed at the timing of the world and the brilliance of the Internet.
Sadie lives and teaches yoga in New York City, is director of East West Yoga, creator of the Power Hour DVD and author of Road Trip Guide to the Soul (which I have just purchased today on trusty Amazon and shall review for you some time after the summer hiatus when I actually get a chance to read a little). She also has an impressive online presence with an online audience of between 500,000 and one million viewers per month for her mind/body podcast.
In this YouTube video Sadie shows you a number of exercises that are the perfect way to loosen the body prior to sitting down for your meditation practice. And the majority of the exercises she lovingly shows are the same ones that we did in class last night! .. although not the inversion sequence unless you are an acrobat on that chair.
But this is a truly excellent video on waking the body slowly to either (a) the day or (b) starting your meditation practice. .. and all the exercises can be done on a chair, or meditation cushion or as Sadie shows – on your bed.