September 21, 2009

A Month-long Meditation Challenge by Namaste Book Club.

Meditate on This!

by Nancy Alder and Jenny Naes.

Yoga is often referred to as meditation-in-motion, and for many it is the first experience with any sort of meditation.

Yogis and yoginis the world over step onto their mats and arrive…eventually…at the present moment. Filling the body up with the inhale, releasing all tension through the exhale; flowing with grace and intention (hopefully) while riding the waves—back and forth, in and out—of the breath brings us toward a place of mindfulness and peace.

The past and the future disappear. Attention shifts, and there is nothing but this breath, the movement, the very present moment. In the beginning, these moments of presence, of connecting to our breath, bring us to a place of personal peace.

Much like sitting meditation, yoga can lead us down a path of recognizing a universal breath—the connections we all share with one another. Often a question yogis and yoginis will ask one another is next to whom they would love to lay down their mat, if given the chance. It’s the ultimate yoga compliment to practice next to someone with whom one has or shares a deep respect and love. In a very similar way, meditation brings us to the universal breath.To find peace and quiet in the recesses of the mind brings us closer and closer to the oneness of the universe.When we step on our yoga mats or sit down for meditation we allow ourselves to be at our most vulnerable. We offer up our hopes, fears, neuroses, weaknesses and courageousness.When we have a sangha there along side us, be it in a yoga class, a meditation group or even a like-minded online social network, we are welcoming another person into our sacred space and we tap into our connection to other beings.

Though we may practice yoga on our own or meditate in solitude, to be simply aware that others are carrying out the same adventure of the body, mind and soul brings this connection again to the forefront of our awareness and makes our experience much more enriching. And so, inspired by our Twitter member, @gomelissago, on September 10, 2009, Namaste Book Club began Meditate on This: a month-long meditation challenge utilizing Twitter. Members and non-members are encouraged to tweet about their meditation experience with tweets containing the Twitter hashtag, “#nbcmm” in order for participants to follow the others in the challenge. The purpose of this project is to create a supportive group environment for those new to the practice of meditation, and to encourage those that are more experienced on the zafu to think about meditation in a new way. Recent tweets have included poems, reflections on meditating on the sound of crickets chirping, and positive feedback on the experience. Those newer to the practice of meditation can find an extensive list of meditation books at the Namaste Book Club blog, under suggested readings. These books can be a gateway to the experience and our hope is that more people will create time for meditation in their daily lives. Finally, at the end of the month, two random people who have tweeted about their meditation over the month will win either a YogaDork t-shirt  (courtesy of @gomelissago) or a copy of The Blooming of a Lotus: Revised Edition of the Classic Guided Meditation for Achieving the Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh (courtesy of the club).

Namaste Book Club was formed in the summer of 2009 as an outlet for fans of yoga and yoga-related books to get together and share the reading experience.We have existed entirely in cyberspace through the use of Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Blogger and Ning. Social media has allowed us to reach yoga book enthusiasts from all over globe and thus our membership includes readers from nearly all continents. We conduct weekly chats about our current readings that often evolve into free form discussions of yogic philosophy, practice or experiences.

Our club is open to all people and membership is free of charge.The meditation challenge will take place from September 10, 2009 until October 10, 2009 and you can join by simply tweeting about meditation followed with the hashtag “#nbcmm”. Search for the same hashtag to catch up on what our members are saying about their monthly and daily times going inward.You can follow Namaste Book Club on Twitter @namastebookclub or join us for chatting each Sunday from 6-8 pm CST at http://namastebookclub.ning.com. We hope you’ll join us on the page and on the mat.

About the Authors:

Nancy & Jenny

Nancy Alder is currently training to be a yoga teacher and writes about yoga for several blogs.  When she’s not on the mat or visiting her cybershala (as @yoga_mydrishti) she makes a mean pb & j for her two kids and builds rock walls. She started Namaste Book Club with Jenny Naes in the Summer of 2009.

Jenny Naes is a yoga teacher in Evansville, Indiana. Her life revolves around yoga, being outdoors, reading, eating, and her cats, Lily and Harry Krishna. Find her on twitter as @evvashtangi.

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