I’ve never been one to meditate.
At my first yoga teacher training we had to meditate in this fashion for 15 minutes every day and it was extremely uncomfortable for me. All I could think about was my foot falling asleep, my back hurting from trying so hard to sit up as straight as I could in my perfect meditation pose.
Can’t I get a wall to lean up against? Would it be so wrong to lay down? What am I supposed to be thinking about? What does it mean to clear your mind? Think about nothing? Can I get a pillow?
We also took an hour long meditative walk every day along the beach in silence. Now this was something I enjoyed, this was something I understood more. I loved the relaxation of just walking with no destination, no particular pace. Did I think about “nothing,?” “Clear my mind?” I have no idea. I just know I felt at peace. I felt good, pleasant, free of stress and in the moment. I realized I didn’t need to feel like a meditative failure because I didn’t particularly connect with the seated meditation. I didn’t need to feel pressured to meditate a certain way.
Meditation actually has a pretty broad definition which just promotes inner peace and relaxation. Over time people have used a lot of different techniques to reach this state within themselves. I have friends that achieve this state by cleaning their house, blasting heavy metal music in the car, going for a run or cooking for hours in the kitchen. Enjoying a long walk, a hot bubble bath, my morning drive to work, deep breathing as I start to fall asleep are the best ways for me to achieve this state of mind. I also consider my time on the mat practicing yoga as extremely meditative. I’m not thinking about anything else, I’m 100 percent present in the moment, completely at peace with my surroundings.
We were advised in teacher training to do this seated silent meditation for 15 to 45 minutes a day—that it would change our life, that it was important to train ourselves in this way, to have this self discipline.
While appreciating the motivation to find a way to achieve the ability to connect with myself in this way, I do believe that everyone is different and that the importance is not in the technique or method we choose, but in finding what works best for us.
Being able to develop this beautiful relationship with myself where I can stop the racing thoughts, enjoy the silence, release the pressure of the outside world and just enjoy being myself, right here, right now… I encourage everyone to find this state of mind, but to discover it in your own way. It doesn’t always matter how you got there, just be glad you did.
Angela Melissa Diaz is a self-proclaimed ecofashionista and thrift store/vintage clothing junkie with Pittsburgh as her stomping ground. She’s writing for the ecofashion and wellness sections of elephant as well as bringing her social butterfly skills to the social media team. If you cannot get in touch with her via any forms of technology, she’s teaching, or on her yoga mat flowing through vinyasas at 90 plus degrees. She’s studying for her certification in health and wellness counseling and hopes to save the world from bad food choices and stagnant lifestyles while reminding everyone to breathe and laugh as much as possible. You can reach her at [email protected] or find her on facebook .