Last week I attended my first official guided meditation class.
It was offered at a new holistic wellness center that just opened in my neck of the woods called Studio 83. Before walking through the door, my meditation knowledge was limited to some deep breathing moments at the start and end of yoga class. We clear our minds, focus on the rise and fall of our abdomens and sink into a relaxed state. I like that, and thought it might be good to learn a bit more about meditation.
The teacher was kind, spoke with a soothing paced voice and exudes passion for her art.
After finding cozy positions on yoga mats with the aid of bolsters, blocks and blankets, we all shut our eyes and were guided through a series of imaginative sensory activities. First we focused on our breath and how it felt within our nostrils. We noticed the slight pause between each inhale and exhale and were told to notice how we felt in that portion of a second. I tried to tune out the ticking clock and new-age music. With 10,000 things on my to do list, it’s difficult to simply let go. But, I did, intermittently.
At the start of the session we were told what meditation is not. It’s not emptying your mind and thinking of nothing. In this class, we focused on a few scenarios and visualized ourselves within the moments. Once there, we were to take note of the finer details — something I adore as a writer.
During my moment on a meditation-created beach, I could feel the heat from the sand warming my soles.
The salty ocean air made the hairs inside my nose prickle.
And the warm sun flooded over my face. I even wondered if I remembered to put on sunscreen.
It seems like guided mediation is all about being aware of the information gathered by your senses and really taking notice of what’s happening in each moment of your day, even if it is imagined.
When I asked the teacher later what the main purpose of doing mediation is, she affirmed my initial thought. It’s a way to control your reactions and truly live and absorb each moment. We all have busy lives and often rush forward every moment of the day. We rarely take time to stop and consciously focus on the present or how we breathe. Like many things, it simply happens automatically.
When you do slow down and take time for yourself, it is incredibly relaxing, which for me, relieves stress.
At one point during the guided meditation we were to think of one quality we love about ourselves. The first word that popped into my head was curiosity. I’m always trying new things, asking questions and learning. I’m perpetually curious. I guess that’s a good quality to have when you’re a journalist/blogger/writer/photographer. The minute I stop wondering, I guess I’m out of a job!
Although I enjoyed my hour of calm with a license to let my mind roam free, I’m not sure if I loved it. Maybe it will grow on me.
For now, I like my yoga classes with a sprinkle of mediation and to let my imagination run free on a keyboard or behind a camera.
Have you tried guided meditation? Do you do it regularly? Tell me about it in the comments below!
Until next time,