Quieting the Mind
In the last few classes, we discussed and practiced meditation. There are a number of ways to meditate, but the basic idea is: training the brain to concentrate on the present moment. It’s interesting how even the simple task of counting 20 breaths can so easily be interrupted by our constant thoughts.
“Quieting the mind” is a term used by people who meditate to mean slowing down the constant stream of thoughts about things OTHER than what you are doing at the present moment. Meditation is a technique that with practice can help you quiet the mind throughout your day. Think of meditation as a tool you can use to gain improved concentration, calmness in all situations, and a general feeling of happiness.
The following website lists 20 useful tips on how to start and continue a meditation practice, but I list 6 that are especially important.
1. Stretch first.
I like to do a few yoga poses (at least 10 minutes if I don’t have time) before I sit down to meditate. It makes it easier to focus. I recommend:
cat pose with breathing （ネコのポーズ）
seated forward bend （座位前屈）
bridge pose （橋のポーズ）
shoulder stand (支えのある肩立ち)
sun salutes (太陽礼拝)
2. Start with your breath.
Be aware of your breath: this will help you focus on the present moment. Counting your breaths is any easy way to check that you are concentrating.
3. Meditate early in the morning
Try to make it the first thing you do each day.
4. Don’t worry about length of time.
If you cant find 30 minutes a day to meditate, just do 10. You will feel more benefit by doing 10 minutes every day than by doing 30 minutes just once a week.
5. Keep doing it.
Try to keep doing it everyday for 3 weeks, about 20 days. By then, you should be able to feel some of the benefits and changes in your mood and concentration.
6. Make moments of awareness (mindfulness) during the day.
You may be walking to the office, sitting on the train, or eating your lunch: these are all wonderful moments to be mindful. Be aware of your breath, your surroundings, and take a moment to be happy in your current place, wherever you are.
I am currently on day three of my meditation cycle. I already feel calmer, more confident, and more energized. It’s very easy to put off starting something when you are busy, but I recommend trying to start and keep a regular morning meditation practice. After a while, you will find it so enjoyable that you won’t be able to stop.
In July, we will be talking about the chakras, the 7 energy transformation centers in the body. Please feel free to read about the chakras in Japanese at the link below.
Our spotlight pose will be an arm balance, the crane. It is a challenging yet accessible pose that requires balance and the courage to overcome the fear of falling. Check it out here: http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/468
I wish you luck with your home meditation and/or yoga practice, and I hope to see you at Midori soon!
Wishing you all peace and joy,