All photos by Kevin Sutton
Recently I posted on IG about meditation *see post* and the interest level shocked and excited me! I received comments, DM's and emails thanking me and asking for advice. Meditation has been a paradigm shift in my practice and my life. Above any asana I wish to share the power of daily meditation with my community.
Lets start with the idea that meditation, if we are lucky is a lifelong practice and it shouldn't be rushed.
One of my favorites, Sharon Salzberg said it well-
When I began meditating I realized that keeping my eyes shut for more than 5 minutes was somehow hard. The moment my eyes closed the to-do list starts. 60 seconds pass, my left foot itches. Damnit, now my back itches. Is it ok if I move? "You aren't even doing it right aubry" I tell myself. "ok, ok ssssshhhh. you can do this aubry" three minutes pass "has it been 10 minutes yet?" My eyes blink open, I sneak a look at the time as if someone is watching and judging me. "shit, 5 minutes, really? Ugh, maybe tomorrow"
My goals and expectations were all wrong, and because of that it took me years to develop a daily meditation practice that I appreciate (and crave really).
Find yourself in a distraction free environment, come to a comfortable seated position that you can maintain for the duration of your session.
"And then... just like sit there?"
Kinda : )
Here are a few basic alternative methods to simply sitting and breathing.
I think of it as "object based method" your object can be a singing bowl, mala, meditation balls etc. I find this to be a great gateway to your meditation practice. In this method you might close your eyes and focus on your breath as you work with your object in some kind of rhythm with the breath. Sometimes, I find that after 5 minutes or so it is easy to release my bowl (a singing bowl is my personal favorite) and sit with the vibrations I've created.
Next, kinda similar we have what I call the mantra method. Here we focus on a mantra faintly, like a looping track in the background of our mind. As thoughts arise- acknowledge, let go and gently return to your mantra. Sounds, words, affirmations- they are all mantras. I encourage you to do a little googling. While you have your phone out- download the app called 1 Giant Mind. This app will gently guide you through mantra based meditation. It's full of amazing tips and even a 12 and 30 day challenge!
Whatever your method, start gently (just as you would with physical exercise) Aim for 5 minutes twice a day for a week. From there increase your sessions by 5-10 minutes for the next few weeks aiming for 30 minute sessions eventually.
Take these crumbs of knowledge and run with them. Allow curiosity to guide you into a deeper practice. I highly encourage you to attend meditation classes or a workshop.
Questions? Comments? Love? Please comment below, email me, DM me etc. etc.
Heres what some of you had to say on my IG post that sparked the inspiration for this blog post!
"Thanks for the encouragement! I've been trying to add meditation into my daily routine but just haven't succeeded yet! Maybe I should make it a point also to do it first thing in the morning! What type of meditation do you do? I found that alternate nostril breathing works pretty well for me as if still gives me something to do. -itsybitsyyogini
“Meditating is amazing! I practice meditating for 20min prior to sleeping & upon waking up. I practice visual meditation. I look @ my vision board, read a statement I wrote to myself using 'I am' sentences & I visualize myself having it already & doing it. Feeling is a huge component of my meditation. My days are always smoother when I meditate. I start & end my day with my glass overflowing with gratitude” -coachmarquez
“I tried meditation for a short period and I really loved it. The effects it gives you are not really explainable by words, but there is something about meditating that empower your remote self and makes you feel more connected to the world.” -sarasari___
“It helps when I'm in a place where I can hear the world inhale & exhale. Hear the birds, the trees moving in the breeze, even the sounds of a city. They help to center my thoughts and inner balance.” -darealzro
“Just starting trying to add it to my practice. Amazing how much harder it is than... Scorpion. lol!” -allgoodhealth
At heart, I’m an artist. This body is simply the conduit through which I create. When filming or photographing I get the shot at all costs. That might mean laying on my stomach or tapping into greater endurance as I hold a steady shot while beads of sweat drip off my eyelashes. I often times find myself in variations of utkatasana and utthita parsvakonasana… twisting, lunging, balancing all in the name of creativity and composition. As you can imagine I walk a fine line with clothing and work. I hope to look somewhat professional while conveying my personal style, and most importantly I need to be completely comfortable which frees me to work most efficiently.
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The casitas are filled with personality. Gorgeous bathrooms complete with an automated heated toilet, a bathtub large enough for two, plenty of space and a cozy fireplace, my casita also had private hot tub :) Each morning fresh juice and almond milk is delivered to your door, almonds and oranges grown locally!
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From sunrise to sunset, my stay at Rancho Valencia was pure bliss!