Monday, February 27, 2012


Yogi masters say that the true yoga is meditation. We twist, contort and exhaust ourselves with the physical practice so as to open up the physical and energetic body for sitting still with mindful breathing. Easier said than done, right? My mind is going 20 miles a minute with plans, thoughts and reruns of the last scene I just played out with my boyfriend, best friend or mother. “I like it when...” “I wish I had...” blahblahblah. Seriously, sometimes it seems impossible to stop the mental whirring. Some say that the breath is the bridge from the mind to the body. It carries with it the life force energy which can be spread throughout the entire physical being. It is a tool, and I find that when I breathe, I feel more. My emotions are released, and while at first that can be daunting, it is that release which allows the openness that I long to feel.

Meditation is simple, mindful breathing, watching the thoughts go by like clouds. Stilling the gaze and stilling the mind. Turning inward. But how? Lloyd Ingber, my dad, was the original meditator in my life. I remember his 70's comb-over, glasses off to his right, those same yellow sweat pants. He would sit... and sometimes glance over in that silent but oppressive way letting me know that I was disturbing him. No wonder I felt intimidated. Yet, I have always known that this is something important, have been attracted to meditation, and have practiced in different ways at different times.

Different types of meditation include mantra (repetition of a phrase), kirtan (chanting), mindful breathing, visualization, meditation groupVipassana (silent meditation retreat), shaktipat, contemplation on a spiritual teaching, becoming present.

Here are a few great ways to get started:
  1. Start a meditation group. My friend, Helen who was a big meditator, decided to start a small women’s group to use the buddy system to stay on the track. We would gather once a week and create a sacred space with candles and sit for 20 minutes together. At the end of the sit, we would have tea and share where we were at. This was a great way to keep up a consistent practice and spend time connecting with friends.
  2. Find a group. There are many places to find people who are meditating. A Kirtan may seem intimidating, but losing yourself in a group and song can help you to quiet your thinking mind. If you feel hesitant to get out in public, there are online meditation groups.
  3. Travel to a meditation retreat.

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