Inspired by the East

I tried two new things today: yoga and meditation.  I only made it halfway through the 30 minute yoga session because all the downward facing dogs and other such poses gave me a killer headache and made my knee joints ache.  I think I’ll stick with pilates, modified ballet, and low-impact cardio from now on…but hey, at least I gave it the old college try, right?

Meditation surprised me.  Personally, I don’t like to sit still for too long.  I get antsy.  But, I decided to try because I’d seen many articles on Shine about the benefits of meditation: lower blood pressure, better immune system, and deep relaxation to name a few.  The articles I read suggested a few tips for first timers.  First was to start with five or ten minutes and work your way up, if need be.  For some people, ten gets the job done.  I always thought meditation was about examining your inner emotions, but apparently your mind is supposed to be pretty much empty.  You’re supposed to concentrate on your breathing or on silently repeating one word.

I think I did pretty well for my first time.  I made it five and a half minutes before I just got too antsy.  Physically, my back hurt and my feet were falling asleep because I’m not used to sitting up stick-straight while cross-legged.  But mentally I stayed pretty focused.  My thoughts strayed a few times, but never for long, and even though I felt the physical discomfort, I didn’t focus on it at all.  I simply shifted to make myself more comfortable while continuing to focus on breathing.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting any results, but once I decided I was finished and opened my eyes, I just felt soooo relaxed.  I hadn’t been overly stressed beforehand, but afterwards it was like I didn’t have a care in the world.  I think I might start doing this for a few minutes every night before bed.  It just seems like a perfect way to end the day and ensure a good night’s sleep.

PS: I realized something interesting after reading about the proper way to meditate: I was sure I’d never meditated before, but apparently meditation is what got me through my rib tattoo.  In all five sessions I remember laying on the bench, closing my eyes, concentrating on breathing, and repeating the word “endure” over and over and over.  I didn’t think I was meditating, but by definition I guess I was.  And it worked then too 🙂

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