Friday, 12 September 2008

going in deep

it has been three months since i returned to a daily yoga practice and in that time i have given up alcohol, returned to vegetarianism, got my mental health under control, dropped two dress sizes and have begun meditating again. not surprisingly, i am happy.

for the past few days i have increased meditation from 10 mins a day to 20 mins in the morning (roll out of bed, shower then sit) & 20 mins in the afternoon (after asana practice). this has had a huge effect on my health, making the core of fatigue i have been living with for such a long time now, disappear completely. my eyesight has also improved (clearly there is a relationship there)

don't be fooled, meditation is simple and i will share with you what i have learned;

sit in a quiet place free of draughts in half lotus (legs not completely crossed - left ankle resting on right calf) on cushions or folded blankets. your hips should be higher than your knees. get comfortable. rest your arms with wrists facing upwards on your knees.

be dressed for the season - I wrap myself in a pashmina shawl which is light and warm. when not in use i wrap this shawl in a cake of sandalwood soap, so that when I sit I am surrounded by the scent, which aids relaxation.

it helps to set a timer to the desired length of meditation, so you avoid obsessing about time - its good to begin with 5 mins then increment by 5 mins thereafter, as your practice improves. the longer the practice the deeper you go, the better it is for you.

keep your spine aligned and upright, but relax into the posture with the breath, which can be either short or long, it matters not.

breathe in through your nose and out through your nose.

just observe what happens.

if you become distracted or sleepy, use a mantra such as 'ham-sa' (i am that) - ('ham' on the inhalation, 'sa' on the exhalation) i love this mantra for its simplicity and because it sounds like the waves coming in on the beach.

keep coming back to the breath.

adjust your posture gently if you feel you are slumping, or find that your chest feels compressed. but don't wriggle around! ignore nagging aches & pains, they are only trying to distract you!

think of meditation as housekeeping: imagine that your mind is a desk cluttered with papers and files which require sorting. your thoughts are these papers & as each paper (thought) floats into your mind randomly, read it (observe it), then let it go. eventually you are left with a blissfully 'uncluttered desk' & space for your mind to function effectively. when new thoughts/problems arise during the day, you can deal with them more efficiently. these benefits will follow you into your day to day living.

when ready, open your eyes gently & stretch your legs out in front.

finally, I will leave you with an excerpt from 'Eat, Pray, Love' by elizabeth gilbert

Ketut Liyer, the medicine man from Bali;

"why they all look so serious in yoga? you make a serious face like this, you scare away good energy. to meditate only you must smile. smile with face, smile with mind & good energy will come to you & clean away dirty energy. even smile in your liver."

good advice!


  1. Wow, you've been on quite a journey. I've been on a one myself this year and am also feeling pretty darn happy.

    I've been thinking for quite a while about taking up meditation -you've finally inspired me to stop thinking about it and actually do it.

    Am going off to have a wander about your site now...

  2. Patti,

    You sound absolutely wonderful! Congratulations on making your intentions real. Love, O xxoo

  3. Patti, you have done so much work on and for yourself these past months. Even meditating. That for me is hard . But thanks for your lovely instructions. I think it would be way easier if I had a small group to meditate with. I did once and meditated often. anyway, best of luck with all you are doing. Love the photo. And the quote in sidebar.You are an inspiration. Namaste, Suki

  4. Meditation is very powerful, and I love Eat Pray Love ... its one of those books that can change your life...

    You sound happy!


  5. This is great advice and the results you are getting are living proof it is good. I will try adding more minutes to my meditation today. Good idea. Thank you for inspiring. That Indonesian guy was my favourite character in Eat, Pray, Love. Even smile in your liver. I can just hear him saying it, can't you?

  6. Patti - way to go! This post is really inspiring - you are a true inspiration to so many of us.

    I also enjoy meditating, although I must admit that I have let my practice slip! I took my first meditation course through the Vipassana Fellowship and it really, really helps me.

  7. How great are you?
    Congrats to you!
    I was determined all summer to lose my "winter weight), and get back into yoga. But nothin'.
    You have inspired me here...I've never practiced meditation that way, visualizing the desk/papers, etc.
    I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for this post and the gentle nudge to begin again taking care of myself.

  8. Eat~Pray~Love is awesome! Did you know they're making a movie of it?

  9. Thanks for this Patti, you've inspired me to begin my meditation practice again. Taking time for me has always been a difficult one...I'm much too willing to give it all up to accomodate others. I'm going out to buy myself a timer today as I find that not knowing how long I've been sitting, keeps me from letting go and getting into it.

    Congratulations on feeling so good...I'm so grateful for the circle of inspiration that I have in the online community.


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