Meditation. It has been the bedrock of spiritual practice for centuries. My grandmother, a former catholic nun, would spend hours a day in meditation. With that kind of history, you’d think the practice would come easily to a yogini such as myself…as if my family tree lends itself to easygoing efforts in this direction. But, truth be told, I was utterly challenged with meditating.
So I gave myself a new goal of doing nothing for ten minutes in hopes of kick starting a practice. Just ten minutes, I told myself…this I can do. “Just be” I would say to myself when getting started.
Yet in this seemingly short time span (ten minutes is, after all, only 600 seconds), my mind took off, actively summoning distraction with thoughts ranging from analyzing the last conversation I had to planning my next yoga teaching sequence and considering why I chose the color of the paint on the walls.
Whether the setting was ideally pristine for meditation or as mundane as sitting in my car, I definitely had (and continue to have) a pattern. When settling into my attempt at practice, my mind resists…sometimes for the first five minutes, sometimes for the entire ten minutes. I keep encouraging myself to "just be," then to "wait it out." And on those days when I can compassionately do this, when I can wait out my mind’s protests, a break point arises, the clouds of resistance part, and a calmness is realized.
I’ve got a long way to go to honor my grandmother’s daily practice of hours of meditation. Maybe I’ll add a minute a week. Meanwhile, the practice of practicing, of allowing the process to take place, of telling myself to “just be” and to "wait it out", while often challenging, is very satisfying.
Kate Douglas began practicing yoga out of curiosity at the age of 16. She immediately fell in love with the practice, and has been a student ever since. She brings to class her history of music training with rhythmic flow of instruction, a love for anatomy and alignment, and a steady goal of greater clarity within the mind. Her classes include clear, concise, and warm instructions to increase breath, decrease distractions, and bring calm to the practitioner. She leads workshops, offers private sessions, and teaches classes in the San Francisco Bay Area.