Vulnerability + Meditation
I’ve been spending the month of July studying yoga with senior teacher, Annie Carpenter. While I generally only practice Ashtanga yoga, Annie’s philosophy, approach and discipline are what attracted me to her training almost 2 years ago.
I’ve always wanted to train with Annie, but for many reasons like: money, timing and work commitments it took me over 2 years to take the plunge.
Looking back, I have learned so much over these past few years that I don’t think I would have been ready for the intensity and focus required for this type of training.
I have learned so much about self. How I perceive myself. When I hold on to my ego and how I respond when it gets crushed.
I’ve mostly learned that I have a very hard time being still with my thoughts. (Anyone else feel this?)
So much so, that it terrifies me to meditate. I keep myself busy with a 2 hour Ashtanga practice, then work, and at night I go boxing or maybe see friends to continue to run away from being still.
I’ve been under the assumption that when I’m down I need to fill myself up with the company of friends, good food and activity to feel whole again.
But maybe there is a way to feel and to sit with the discomfort? If I can’t sit with my own discomfort, how am I going to be able to sit my partner, my friends, family and even students.
I think going into these feelings of suffering can be freeing in the way that it allows us to be vulnerable with other people and that there is true power in that feeling - because on the other side of fear is joy.
And if we can explore the good and less desirable parts of ourselves with love, maybe we can fully feel into how expansive joy can be.
There is a shift happening in my mind and I’m starting to realize that how much we know ourselves is extremely important.
But, how much we love ourselves is the most important.
I’m still working on this and it’s not easy everyday. I feel very raw at the moment and unfortunately life doesn’t slow down for you to feel into those moments, but you can create community and a life that supports your vulnerability and empowers you to find contentment in whatever emotion is filling your mind. Simply loving what it is.
Here is a simple meditation practice anyone can do at home before you start you start your day. You can use your own mantra or try mine if it resonates with you.
Sit in a cross-legged position or in a chair. I like to sit against a wall to support my back and head.
Relax your belly and bring your hands to your lower belly, just below your belly button.
Breathe into your soft belly first and watch the breath as it expands your belly, side ribs, back ribs and chest. For this exercise focus the breath in the belly.
Exhale with long, smooth even exhales and feel the breath leave the body as the sternum drops and the lower belly draws in and slightly up at the very end of the exhale.
Repeat this breath pattern for 6 minutes using the following Mantra:
Inhale: “In with the new”
Exhale: “One with the new”
I encourage you to try this exercise on for 40 days and see how you feel at the end of the 40 days. If 6 minutes is too long, set your timer for less. Consistency is more important than the duration of the exercise. Once you feel comfortable with 6 minutes, try 10 minutes.
Just remember to keep your mind focused on the breath. Think about the quality, the texture, the length and note any energetic shifts.
Also, it’s okay if your mind wanders off – yes this is true! Don’t shame yourself for thinking about other things, just give them a mental nod and acknowledge they are there and bring your attention back to your breath.
Lots of love,