Every day since we've been here it's 6 am meditation for an hour and forty five minutes. I can't say I am getting the hang of it.
We all gather in a room and sit cross legged, with of course a straight posture, otherwise, apparently, it is impossible to meditate with a slouched spine (bummer).
We first start with some mantras which are basically like prayers. What I've learned is that yoga existed before all religions and yoga was a way of life with a set of beliefs and rituals.
Buddhism and Hinduism resemble a lot of the yoga philosophy but not exactly. At first I was confused, especially in philosophy class, I was asking is this Hinduism or Buddhism that we are learning? But it is neither. Simply a way of life before religion was a thing.
So anyway, these morning mantras (I think of them as "chants") which are like prayers, the famous OM means the Supreme Power, which most chants start with, acknowledging the higher being, so for those religious people it would be your God... Is how I'm interpreting it.
The chants are asking the Supreme Power to give us peace, happiness and all that jazz. We repeat each mantra five times as a group.
I am so happy when the mantras are over... No offense. (It's about forty minutes long)
One. My singing voice sounds like a dying chicken and chanting or whatever you want to call it is too similar to a singing voice so I'd rather spare everyone who thinks I'm in pain sooner than later.
And two... I get bored easily repeating the same thing over and over again. (I mean honestly is praying at a chapel, church, mosque, synagogue etc. super exciting?)
After the chants we do a few slow inhales and exhales and then sit in silence a.k.a meditate for three minutes.
You're suppose to only focus on your breath and have zero thoughts... That for me is nearly impossible, my mind runs at the speed of lightening with thoughts coming in from all directions.
And in fact, I love day dreaming. I love my subconscious mind drifting off, and linking one thought with the slightest connection to the next.
But apparently that is not how you meditate.
However today I was like, "I enjoy my thoughts" so I did not try to stop them, like I have attempted before. When I do try to think of nothing, it's a struggle and usually leads to thoughts and today those three minutes lasted longer than my back pain had liked.
But anyway once that's all done we head to the pranayama part of meditation, which is breathing. Your prana is your chest area, your breath, so without your prana you are no longer in the physical world.
We do some interesting exercises. Thank god I've matured a little bit and can take the exercises seriously... Well seriously enough that I'm not laughing out loud. Sometimes I smirk to myself because I think it's hilarious that me, out of all people, is sitting in a room with, well more or less hippies / spiritual people (You get my drift) and I am here meditating with them.
To my defensive us westerners do not do this in our life and for me it is odd. For example, we will do this one exercise where you just breath out through your nose. But it's not the typical uijjai breath.
You continuously exhale through your nostrils at a fast pace as your abdominals rise and fall. It makes a weird sound, not like you're sniffing something but the opposite because you're exhaling out the nose (almost like you have a booger in your nose and you're trying to blow it out). And eventually you create a steady beat. Sometimes I loose myself and have to start over.
When we get in partners, like we did today. I try to be on my best behavior because I know they take this seriously and I don't want to ruin their "vibes". So the second partner I had was one of the more serious types who for example does meditation practices on her own... I would rather not sit on my bum crossed legged for another minute if I don't have to.
Anyway, so we sit face to face, eyes closed, cross legged and have our hands six inches apart from each other, making a 90 degree angle with our arms. (And our palms are not touching.)
We do that one breathing exercise for a minute or so then sit in silence for awhile and "observe" what we feel.
Well, I don't really feel anything. What am I suppose to feel? I certainly feel back pain on my right side and my ankle is sore from sitting in this specific cross legged position. But I can't move or else I will disturb my partners feelings.
So I try so hard to concentrate and feel something... and I started to feel movement in my right palm and then into my left. I am thinking, "how is this possible?" I come to the conclusion that I am psychologically putting these thoughts in my mind because when we go around the room and ask what we feel this is what some say.
By the end, which felt like an eternity of discomfort, we can open our eyes and discuss our thoughts...
She said she has never thought to herself, "how much longer are we going to sit like this" before and so apparently my energy and thoughts traveled through to her... My bad... My dang back was hurting!
I told her I felt slight energy in my palm and she got excited... Otherwise I would be the only one to say I didn't feel anything.
I wonder with time if I'll truly be able to feel something or not. Although I think when I might be feeling a "vibration" or energy that I'm just putting it in my head...
Anyway, meditation wrapped up and I was more so a happy camper... I have a long way to improve.
And although I did say I am here to deepen my knowledge of yoga and all that.. I can never see myself personally teaching my yoga class with meditation. It's not exactly me. But I suppose it doesn't hurt to take a few stabs at it.
Philosophy class ticked by at the speed of a snail crossing a six inch - thick finish line. But he made it and so did I.
I've started doodling more, I've been spending a good amount of time naming the 50 states. The last two days I was missing one state and I couldn't figure it out.. Today I named them all... Wohoo. That was my highlight, now I'm stuck naming the capitals however that is going to take a few more days... But philosophy class isn't going anywhere so I hope to concur that one in the upcoming weeks.
Tomorrow the Dalai Llama speaks at his temple! It's a special event so we have the day off, instead of Monday which was when we were going to hike. He starts his speech in the late morning but some are leaving at five to get there early and others plan to leave around 5:30 (not much difference) in order to get a good spot, so I'll be joining the "later" crew at 5:30.
You can't bring cameras or phones with you, which is a bummer. But it will be an experience of a lifetime. He doesn't speak often and the fact we get to see him speak at his temple is special, especially for those who follow his way of life.
And in honor of International Yoga day we are doing 108 sun salutations, surya namaskars... Roughly two hours long of a constant flow... So let's hope I won't be too sore... Despite the fact this is our day off! (Ha ha)
Anyway, that's all I'm going to gossip about today but I will soon fill you in with the juicy details of tomorrow's event.