Just as Mark publishes a post on Alternatives to Sitting Meditation, I finally finished writing this entry that I started last month. I really need to watch my INTJ habits from taking over— I have a habit of starting a billion things and not finishing the majority of them. I tend to live very much in the moment and lose interest in things quickly.
Last month I started practicing Bikram’s Yoga for the first time in almost 2 years. During my first class I found myself in the deepest meditative state than I have ever been. When I first started practicing Bikram’s a few years ago, my mind used to race with endless thoughts of what happened during the day, what I’m going to do later, day dreams… it was inner chaos that I could never seem to silence. I was consistent with the practice but never achieved a true meditative state. I practiced purely for the fitness aspect, but not the spiritual.
This time as I was lying in Savasana, I realized how calm and clear my mind was. It was truly a moment of magic. I was focused on my breathing, the sensations of my body… spell-bounded by the present and completely at peace.
I’ve recently been aware that I have been immersed in meditation many times because this is what happens on my bike rides, but it was an eye-opener to be able to compare this experience with a previous Bikram’s experience.
On the other hand, I’ve never done Bikrams with such a well rested body! A couple years ago I was working out 5x more: endless bike rides, crazy intense circuit training, Grouse Grinds… I was intensely active every single day. I felt great and my energy levels were good but my legs were constantly tired, muscles tight and all the poses were always a struggle. But back then, I also loved and craved for that pain of holding a Standing Bow Pose or a Triangle Pose just a little longer, to see how much I can take. The harder it was, the more satisfied I was.
This time, I was also not too satisfied with the classes (fitness-wise) because it felt so easy even though I pushed harder than I ever did! But that was fine because I was there for another reason. I just had to keep on reminding myself that it was because my body was well rested. One of my goals this year was to slow down all aspects of my life, including fitness and in doing so, I found peace. And guess what? I am still happy with my health and how my body look like.
Meditation is when you become the observer who is fully present in the moment.
Meditation isn’t solely about the “quieting of the mind” or focusing on a single object, but it is when you are suddenly aware of everything around you due to the infinite nature of mind. This, then automatically “quiets your mind” from internal chatter because your focus is on the beauty of life around you; the sweat dripping off your nose, the rhythm of your breath, the feeling of the wind, the chatter of the birds, the feeling in your hands… When you completely immerse yourself in this state, you will feel an incredible sense of peace and awe.
You can meditate anywhere: a yoga class, taking a walk, brushing your teeth to riding your bicycle. It’s too inconvenient for me to practice Bikram’s consistently right now but luckily, I can still find my peace daily… on my bike.