I’ve usually thought about meditation in terms of patchouli drenched, granola eating and poncho wearing hobbies for the celebrity folks who attend Burning Man. Possibly as an excuse for taking a nap. So it took me some effort to get over my prejudice in 2016 as I was newly vested in the health benefits of learning how to meditate.
So I read some meditation books, downloaded a couple apps, got a meditation pillow and dug out an oil lantern to help me focus. It was a frustratingly halting process because I was treating it with both my earlier prejudice and then as an exercise class with a definitive beginning and ending with measurable data points between. All that was missing was Strava for meditation.
I could not have been more wrong.
As I continued through to 2017 I became a little better, and more open, to the process of sitting down and letting my mind scatter in seemingly 5000 different directions while listening to these guided meditations on Calm. It started to click though when I learned that the process of distraction is actually the practice of meditation itself. Realizing it and coming back to something like listening to your breathing is the very thing that helps us to improve in all those ways that meditation advocates proffer up like improved concentration, lowered blood pressure, reduced anxiety and increased concentration.
Today however I had a chance to hike up to Yoga on High and participate in an iRest Yoga Nidra meditation. It made my old bias bristle a bit but I stuck with it. It was a room full of women of all ages and two guys. The instructor brought out a yoga roll then prepared to make “beds” for the students. I mean this thing was like total heavy duty nap worthy stuff. As she instructed us to lie back into the rig she guided the room along this really sedate tonal wave of relaxation. I knew we were all getting relaxed when the guy next to me started snoring and the ladies to my other side began breathing more deeply.
The whole experience left me with this deep feeling of rest. As if I had taken a pretty solid power nap but with the benefit of this meditative relaxation. It was also pretty cool to have that experience as a group of folks going for the same thing for different reasons.
Whatever the outcome of my current meditation track… I’m enjoying the exploration and hopeful for the benefits.