I started Yoga, as most people do, for the physical benefits. But you become aware (quite quickly) that there is so much more to it. The physical postures make your head stay in the present as you become mindful of what your body is doing. This is a form of meditation. It can be that simple.
I’ve been getting quite into my meditation recently. It took me a long time but the main ingredient missing in my meditation practice was my consistency of the practice! So now after a morning class I come home and sit on the deck outside. The easiest way is to start meditating is just to close your eyes and simply listen. Start by listening to the sounds of the birds and the wind in the trees, along with babies crying, dogs barking, people singing in the shower!.. etc., etc. The secret is not to get annoyed at the sounds but just to accept them as background noise. Try not to give a name to them just let them wash over you like a wave of sound. By doing this you’re concentrating on the ‘here and now’.
This is important as the brain does like to wander off and start thinking about ‘stuff’. ‘Stuff’ will include events that happened in the past and events that are going to happen in the future. I find myself thinking about past events and thinking how I could have changed the situation. Obviously not happy with the original outcome! Also future events are played out. In these I’m thinking how I’m going to handle a situation. It’s silly really. But the brain loves it AND, it needs to do this, but it also needs calm.
So all this ‘chatter’ happens in the left side of the brain. Whilst the right side of the brain concentrates on the present. If you can concentrate on the present then the left side of the brain is quiet and you’re making space in the brain. Calming it down. We have so many things that stimulate the brain, in this modern High-tech world. It needs to be quiet sometimes.
Now it’s easy to get a glimpse of the calm. But inevitably, for me the left side will suddenly crank into life and it’s off on its merry way, thinking about ‘stuff’. The trick here is not to get annoyed at it. Just push it to one side and tell yourself you’ll deal with it later.
After a while of taking in the ‘wall of sound’ around me, I then start to take the concentration inside my body. The first thing I concentrate on is the breath. By using the breath you’re concentrating on the present. The breath is always in the present. I take the concentration to the end of my nose and feel in the air and it rushes in, renewing life, and then the exhale as it purges the body of toxins.
As I mentioned earlier, the key is consistency in the practice. There’s a lot more I could tell you about my experiences. Some of the experiences stop at the feeling of the breath at the end of the nose. Others go on to an amazing place where I’ve felt like there was a dome sat over the top of me and I was conscious that the dome was the space inside my head. Sounds like I’ve been smoking something, doesn’t it?! Honestly I haven’t.
p.s. The title for this article came from one of the blokes in class. We do like to abbreviate words (A LOT!) in Oz. and of course, once you've butchered the word the best thing you can do is stick an 'o' on the end.!!