I’ve always wanted to get into the habit of meditation but to no avail, there are always so many distractions out there. I tried all sorts of methods in the past, having a set routine – time and space for meditation, setting alarm reminders, downloading meditation apps like Headspace but I just can’t seem to get into the habit of meditating. However, now, midway through our 20 weekends of YTT sessions, whilst learning about yoga mudras and chakras, I started to really grasp and understand the deeper benefits of meditation. With this newform knowledge, I decided to put what I learned into practice and it really elevated my approach to meditation – not just in the ‘doing’ but also in the ‘knowing’ and ‘internalizing’ what I’m doing. It was definitely a eureka moment for me when getting the discover the different types of mudras and their benefits.
For a start, I’ve decided to incorporate 3 simple mudras into my meditation practice –
- The commonly used Chin Mudra (tips of the thumb and index finger lightly touching, palm facing up) Elements involved are Space and Air. This helps with concentration, our memory, relieves stress, and unnecessary tension, smoothing the mind. I’ve discovered that doing this as and when something is troubling me, whether work troubles or a personal issue, it helps center my mind. Also, on days when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, sitting comfortably, eyes closed with my hands in a Chin Mudra helps me to start the day right.
- Another Mudra for deeper concentration and control is the Dhyana Mudra: the Buddha gesture – to bring about tranquility and inner peace. All elements are involved in this Mudra. Personally, I’ve always had problems focusing, with the constant beepings/notifications from social media, emails, messages, etc. it gets hard to stay at one task and complete it without doing something else midway. I practice this for about 10 to 15mins whenever I feel like acting on a temptation e.g. getting a snack, watching a 5 mins Youtube video, looking at my phone, etc. I curb my temptations by refusing to think about it, instead, I think of my inhales and exhales.
- Lastly, I recently came across the Prana Mudra – “the energy or else spirit of life”. It activates our dormant energy – increases our energy and health. The elements involved are Space & Water. For when I’m feeling winded or just breathless – after an intense workout or just simply because my involuntary breathing becomes erratic/unsteady – it does help to control my breathing. Sometimes, I do feel that my breath is a good indicator of how stressed I am at the moment – choppy or short breaths, uneven inhales and exhales are clear signs that my body and mind are in a funk and I need to cool down and take a break.
You’d be amazed at the results after just 10 minutes, in today’s fast-paced, digitalized way of living, sometimes we forget how to stop and simply observe, not just our surroundings but observe ourselves – our breaths, our mind, our thoughts, feelings. We don’t have to escape to the countryside to find ‘peace’, what most people fail to realize is that with proper effort, peace can be found every day, within ourselves.
All in all, I would say that meditating is starting to come more naturally to me. Before, I had to talk myself into sitting still and calming my mind. Now, after a long day or stressful situation or even in the mornings, I simply sit in a comfortable crossed leg position, close my eyes and practice centering my mind. I’m still a beginner at this and there’s still much to discover but I believe that this is as good a start as any!