When you become a yoga teacher there is this expectation that not only are you a master of the asanas, but you are a skilled practitioner of meditation as well. This is because the history of yoga teaches us that the asanas and meditation are inextricably linked along with breath control (pranayama).
Now, I don’t know about you, but this terrified me! When I became a yoga teacher, my meditation practice was inconsistent at best; how was I going to teach people how to meditate when I struggled with the practice so much myself?
If you have a rockstar meditation practice already, amazing. Pass go and collect 200 points. BUT, if, like me, you suffer from an inconsistent meditation practice or, dare I say it, no meditation practice, than please read on.
First off, it’s ok! This is normal. Building a meditation practice can be challenging without discipline and it does take time.
Secondly, start now. If you’re thinking about taking a yoga teacher training or even thinking about taking your yoga practice to the next level, learning to meditate is ESSENTIAL to your development.
The key to meditating is to make it easy. Here are some quick and dirty tips to make this practice realistic for you!
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! Start slowly with a 6 minute practice and then work your way up to 20 minutes.
- Don’t try to sit and quiet the mind – you will only get frustrated. Instead, give your mind a focus like an affirmation (‘I am tranquil’) or tune into the breath (observe the breath entering and exiting the body).
- Consistency is a MUST. Practice every single day until it is a habit (this usually takes around 21 days but sometimes more). An inconsistent practice equals no results.
- Build your practice into your existing routine. Try to add meditation first thing in the morning or right before bed.
- When your mind wanders, as it will, graciously bring your awareness back to your meditation. It is important NOT to get frustrated when you catch yourself thinking about your groceries or your to-do list. This is part of the practice and the more you catch yourself and bring your mind back to your meditation, the easier this will become.
To get started with meditation it can help to have someone guiding your mind. I’ve developed and recorded a few meditations specifically for beginners (however they work just as well for advanced practitioners, too!) in the Yoga Teacher Prep Academy.
Bonus Tip: The meditations are great to listen to in bed if you have trouble falling asleep! Use these guided relaxations to help cure insomnia and get a good night’s rest!