Guest Scribe Dawn Mauricio: Simple Steps to Meditation
When people find out I teach Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation, the most common reaction is, “I really wish I could meditate, but I can’t because I have kids/full-time school or work/roommates/a small apartment.” The good news is that despite obstacles like a very busy mind or lifestyle, you can meditate. In fact, the busier you are, the more you should have a meditation practice of some sort.
What is meditation? Meditation is a practice that encourages staying in the present moment with awareness. Through this awareness, you learn to see your thoughts without reacting to them. Imagine yourself lying in the grass one sunny day, gazing up at the clouds, and after seeing a cloud that you really liked you got up to run after it. A little absurd, no? Meditation teaches us not to run away with our thoughts, regardless how pleasant or unpleasant they are.
Who is it for? Meditation is one of the most simple and accessible practices I know. No stretchy pants, flexible bodies, or expensive shoes needed. Kids, tweens, teens, adults, elderly – basically everyone – can benefit from it.
Benefits This 2,600-year-old practice has been known to decrease stress, relax the nervous system, increase confidence, develop intuition (a.k.a. your gut feeling), and increase compassion and concentration. Sounds like a winning practice to me.
Now the big question: HOW? Find a quiet space and sit. Sit upright, eyes closed, and focus on your breath. If you're feeling agitated, sharpen your concentration by silently repeating to yourself “inhaling” when you inhale and “exhaling” when you exhale. Keep doing this for a few minutes, and then you're done.
If you had to bring your mind back a hundred times or didn’t even notice your mind wandered until your timer went off, that’s ok, that’s the practice. Just like you strengthen your muscles by going to the gym, you can begin to strengthen your concentration and awareness with a regular meditation practice.
You may need added encouragement to cultivate the discipline for a truly worthwhile daily practice. On my website, you can explore the different ways to sit comfortably, listen to a 15 minute guided meditation, and see a list of resources that have helped me such as free talks by leading meditation teachers and books.
Onwards and upwards on this journey! What are you waiting for?
~ Dawn Mauricio's first exposure to meditation was on retreat in a Thai monastery in 2006, and the world hasn't seemed the same since. A certified Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation teacher, she teaches yoga and meditation in a variety of settings around Montreal, and can be regularly found half-way around the world leading yoga and meditation retreats. Dawn continues to sit silent meditation retreats, study with senior teachers, and practice daily. She is also the founder of Yoga Mala Foundation. Join Dawn at Wanderlust Tremblant, where she'll be leading Mindfulness Yoga & Meditation and Yoga Mala Foundation Charity Class.