I continue to hear clients say that they just can’t get into the meditation aspect of yoga and I can understand this perspective.

The first time I experienced meditation, I was on an 8 hour silent ( yoga ) retreat and we began the experience with an hour of meditation.

I thought I was going to burst. I had driven two and half hours to get to this retreat. I was pumped and ready to get moving but we were asked to be still for what seemed like an eternity. My mind would not slow down. The leader had told us to try to resist the desire to shift our position or scratch those itchy places on our nose etc. She told us to focus on our breath and if we still could not settle, she asked us to isolate one sound in the distance and focus on that instead.

You know when someone tells you that you can’t move or scratch what happens? I was suddenly itchy and felt the need to fidget non-stop. It felt terrible.

So I can understand it when people tell me that they will never be able to meditate.

If you are one of those people, maybe you can think of this aspect of yoga, as ‘concentration’ instead of ‘meditation.’

In all fitness activities, you will benefit far more from the exercise at hand if you really concentrate on where you are, and what you are doing, in that very moment. If I teach you how to perform a squat, hopefully you’re going to really concentrate on doing it well so you don’t get injured.

If you are lying on your back, and I ask you to meditate, concentrate on your breathing. People generally only breathe into the top third of their lung capacity. Focus on breathing better. Equate it to any other exercise you would do at the gym. Your challenge is to do it to the best of your ability and eventually you will be able to concentrate for longer periods of time on other activities in life.

While holding the yoga poses, the idea is to not entertain every thought about your discomfort. Acknowledge that you feel your muscles but don’t give into the idea of giving up because it is hard. Try not to scratch those itchy spots for the duration of the pose. Try not to think about anything other than your breath. This exercise is about controlling your thoughts so they do not control you.

Eventually our yoga practice, helps us to handle events that come our way, over which we have no control. We learn to keep our thoughts in the here and now, and focus on what needs to be done to survive whatever comes our way, including the next yoga class!

Have a wonderful day and see you soon…
Beth