I’ve never been an advocate of meditation; in fact, I was somehow against it, not really understanding why someone would need to stop thinking in order to solve a problem they had. Because really, that is what I thought meditation was, and I have so little patience, I would rather get things moving instead of stopping every day to try and fix something without really getting anything done.
However, what has been happening to me lately has changed my opinion on it. See, for the past year, I have been getting into yoga; I started being « serious » about it – and by “serious”, I mean getting onto my mat every now and then during the week – since last May, when the exam period was approaching. I stumbled upon the YouTube channel of an American girl, Sarah Beth Yoga, and watched her 15-minute yoga routines to let the stress off my shoulders and back. I got addicted to it quite fast; first of all, because she is good at teaching, and because it made me feel incredibly focused and peaceful. I would pair it with a long and slow jogging session, and I would study not only faster, but also better. All my negative energy and stress was released, and I could put all my attention into whatever task needed it. When I look back at it, I can honestly say I enjoyed my exams period, because I found some balance thanks to yoga.
Then my daily schedule changed once, twice, and more. I would leave my practice for a few weeks, and go back to it when I felt like it, and it always taught me great things. From my own experience, yoga instructors often say you should adapt the poses to what feels good to you, since you always have to start somewhere; and the person next to you or behind you might be more advanced than you are, or a beginner. In Sarah’s words, “Take what works for you, and leave the rest behind”.
And this is exactly why I love yoga: we’re all different, right? Some of us are more flexible, some stronger, some more motivated, some more inclined to relaxing… What is more, some days are better than others. And as I gathered, a yoga instructor’s job is also to remind their yoginis of such priceless information. In fact, think about it: if you focus on yourself once in a while, and do what you ought to do, if it makes you happy and energised, the positive waves will shine out of you. Roald Dahl said it, and so did many more.
Finally, making your own choices in a yoga practice will become a habit, and I believe you will more likely make the right ones in your daily life.
Last week, I had the chance to be at the right place, at the right moment. I got to be among Geshe Jampa Tarchin’s students for a day. He is a Buddhist monk, coming from Tibet but settled in a meditation center in New-Zealand. The day was filled with wisdom,meditation, questions, and quite surprisingly, laughter. I sat down there on my cushion, scanning the Geshe’s gestures and listening to this language I had never heard before, trying to write as much information as I could in my mind. At the end of the day, I have come to think that, just like yoga, meditation teaches you how to feel what’s deep inside of you; because you stop for a second, take time to breathe and become more aware of what’s happening both inside and out your body. The goal is to expand your mind, your view on things, understand them from afar, see them from the distance, as objectively as possible, and put them back into your life – this life you were given the opportunity to experience, in our Universe, in our Solar System, on our Planet, on this continent, in this country, in this place, in this room, at this very moment.
All in all, meditation is supposed to help you be happier, more peaceful and more compassionate with others and thus better at dealing with the world and its everyday challenges; yoga supposedly adds the physical part needed to your well-being – it helps you stand taller, be stronger, relax better, and feel and train your body, just like you do with your mind. But one important thing I also learnt is that the ability to meditate doesn’t come overnight; no, meditation requires time, and patience, a lot of patience. We all lack patience. Isthis the reason why we don’t practice it? Well, I guess I’ll meditate on that…