If your yoga routine is failing to connect you with your spiritual self, meditation may be the answer. North Americans often put an emphasis on toning our bodies and neglect the fact that training our minds has concrete benefits as well. Just like our stomachs and wallets, we need to cleanse our heads of all the clutter that day to day life brings. While modern yoga is increasingly used as a fitness tool (or as a reason to have a rave or speed date), historically the true purpose of yoga was to make your body strong enough to sit for hours and meditate. Priya Gupta MD, a family doctor and long time practitioner of yoga and meditation, explains “the ultimate goal of meditation is to control the fluctuations of the mind. Most of us have never experienced a state of being in which we are present and aware, but free of thought. With this state of being comes a feeling of profound peace and well-being.”
If you have ever tried to meditate, you know it is extremely difficult. Sitting and thinking of nothing with a completely empty mind, even if it is for a few minutes, is almost impossible if you do not train yourself. Dr. Gupta gives Vv Magazine further insight: “In yogic philosophy, the mind is considered a tool rather than the essence of our being. Yet in being unable to turn it off, we have allowed this tool to take control and so become confined by our minds.” To get out of the past and stop obsessing about the future, here are five simple steps to get in the groove of purifying your thoughts and living in the present:
Step 1: Dedicate a realistic time of day
Although morning is said to be best, to successfully incorporate mediation into your routine you must pick a realistic time of day that works for you. You only have to dedicate 10-20 minutes but if you want to go for longer, more power to you.
Step 2: Be consistent
The ideal scenario is to meditate every day at the same time. However, we know how life can throw a curve ball in your schedule, so the rule of thumb is something is better than nothing.
Step 3: Pick a basic technique
Choose a technique that works for you. For example, deep breathing or repeating a mantra are great beginner actions to get your mind in tune.
Step 4: Devote a space
Try to find a quiet space and consistently use it for your meditation. It will help you associate the area with a certain frame of mind.
Step 5: Don’t be afraid of apps and YouTube
Since achieving the ultimate Zen state of mind is not easy, using meditation apps or YouTube videos to help guide you through is nothing to feel weird about. Pick one where you like the voice or the technique used. In no time you will be relaxed and in control of your mind.
If you’re an active meditator, what are some of your tips on keeping focused, relaxed, and stress-free? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.