Come, come, whoever you are..
If you have been to my class, you probably know how much I love to move. Physical yoga asana practice is an essential part of my life, and without it I feel lost. That's why, for me, a seated meditation practice is worlds more challenging than, say, a forearm stand scorpion pose.
What do you mean I just have to sit here?! Can't I do this upside down?!?! I should probably do some core work instead...
But I've discovered that mindfulness meditation is as crucial as plank pose, both for my work on the mat and in the outside world.
And over time, I've discovered parallels between asana and sitting practice. They both teach me patience and acceptance. They both help me to quiet my mind. And I just have to show up for both disciplines to be effective. Just as my asana practice doesn't always have to be two hours and include every complicated pose I've ever encountered, my meditation practice doesn't have to be 60 minutes of a perfectly still mind. I just have to sit, even for a few moments, knowing that my mind will wander, that it will sometimes feel effortless and sometimes be frustrating and hard, that I will usually want to do handstands instead. But I sit, and I return to my breath over and over.
Rumi says Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vow a thousand times before. Come, yet again, come, come.
If you are interested in developing a meditation practice, I urge you to just show up, the same as you would for yoga class. Just choose a time and take a seat, already knowing that it won't be perfect. How many times did you have to practice chatturanga before it felt easy? And really, does it ever feel easy? Approach the practice as you would a challenging pose: with steady breath, an open mind, and a willing spirit.
Stephanie Berliner teaches Tuesdays 7-8am in Crescent Park, and Wednesday's Fleet! 11:45-12:30pm & Heated Flow 6:15-7:15pm at Nava Yoga Center at The Navy Yard.