Friday, July 16, 2010

Do You Have Time to Breathe?

In today's post, I am going to speak about my experience with meditation.  The reason why I am talking about meditation on this blog is because I see it as one of my Primary Foods, Spirituality.  (Please refer to my post on Primary Foods to refresh yourself on the lifestyle elements of health.)  Here is a reminder of my view on Spirituality: 
Spirituality: Now, don’t be turned off by the term spirituality. It can mean your relationship with God, but to me, it really means your relationship with yourself and how you see yourself in relation to the world. Believing in a greater being is only a component of that. I work with clients to believe in themselves and seek a spiritual practice that works best for them. That may encompass working on self esteem or better understanding their relationship with God.

The first time I practiced sitting meditation was in a class entitled "Do You Have Time to Breathe?" It was a 6 week course at Back Bay Yoga led by Buddhist monk, Joseph Kappel, in which I and 25 other people spent 1.5 hours "sitting" (another way to say meditating) and learning about Joseph's experience as a monk in Thailand as well as his views on being present. It was an amazing experience and I learn a lot from Joseph and the other students in the class.  By the last session, I definitely noticed a calmer and more relaxed mind and demeanor. I don't think I will ever be completely present during a meditation but meditation is not about that. Just like yoga is not about being able to do a flawless half moon or a perfect savasana.

Meditation is practiced differently by different people. It may seem like a very daunting practice but it actually couldn't be a simpler concept.  The ultimate goal is to be present-to have a still mind.  Not very easy to achieve but its about the journey, not the destination.  How you practice meditation can vary-you don't have to sit to meditate.  Some practice sitting meditation, others meditate while walking-being aware of every step they take, others practice through movement like yoga and I'm sure there are others of which I'm not aware.  At the end of the day, it is about being present, comfortable in your surroundings and in your own skin. 

Moving into a condo, traveling to NYC every month for school, additional responsibilities at work, starting my own health counseling practice and juggling obligations at home have all made for a hectic 2010.  It has been a challenge to integrate a regular yoga practice and meditation practice.  Why am I telling you this?  Well because at the end of the day, I am a student too on my journey through life.  My experiences are lessons for me and part of the value I add to my clients' programs as well as this blog.  So, in the spirit of learning together, I invite you in joining me on a week of spending time to "breathe."  I plan to spend 10 minutes everyday for the next 7 days sitting and meditating.  If anyone would like to join me, post below your intentions and I will check in again in one week to see how it went.  If you read this post later on in the week, you can still join me!  Have a great weekend and remember to breathe!


  1. Hey Lisa,

    I'm in! It's so difficult to find the time to just stop and be present. It also involves self-discipline that's hard to find sometimes, so I think I'll be more successful with some outside support! My intentions are to simply have a quiet mind and be present in that stillness. Good luck!


  2. Welcome, Jackie! I'm glad I could provide a structure for your practice. How was day 1?

  3. It's amazing how difficult it is to find just 10 minutes to stop! I have to admit, I had a few days in there where I forgot. I definitely spend the first few (if not the whole 10) minutes just trying to let my mind quiet down. I really want to try and develop a daily practice, though, and I think it'll be easier and easier to be present if I do it more often.