How to re-start your meditation practice

meditation-practiceWe all have the best intentions to keep a daily meditation practice going, but sometimes it’s easy to simply get out of the habit. It could be having an illness, a change of routine in summer holidays or at Christmas, or another life event we can’t control. We might just be too busy or stressed or upset to keep our practice together.

No matter what the reasons for quitting meditation were, here are some simple tips to get you back in the groove.

 

1. Keep it simple
I’ve found that my mind can exaggerate how complicated it might be to restart my practice, so I keep putting off doing it. So I beat my natural resistances by making it absolutely simple – just light a candle. Just sit for 10 breaths. Just sit on my meditation cushion for 1 minute. The more achievable and easy that first step is, the more likely I am to actually do it.

 

2. Get support
Talking to your meditation or yoga teacher is often enough to allay any fears or resistance about practice. I always ask my meditation students to drop me a line or ring me when they’re going through these dry periods – it’s not unusual and everyone goes through it from time to time. That reassurance and encouragement might be all you need to restart.

 

3. New week, new start
It may be a trick of my mind, but I find Mondays a good day to start over. It works for my 5:2 fasting and it definitely helps with my meditation. So – say to yourself that you’ve got a clean slate to start again – and Monday is the day!

 

4. Love and accept yourself
We can feel guilty, ashamed or just plain annoyed with ourselves for not doing the very things that make us feel better (i.e. meditating!). So let go of the self-judgement. Know that it’s a normal part of any journey of self-development, and start again.

 

5. Peer support
The most successful meditation training courses I’ve ever taught were those where the students met up regularly between modules. So get in touch with your yoga or meditation buddies, go on a workshop or retreat, or have a mentoring or one-to-one session with a tutor to be re-inspired to restart your practice. It’s going to be easier than you think, so go for it – one step at a time! Good luck!

jane-saraswati-clapham-small

 

Jane Saraswati Clapham is a Dru meditation teacher trainer based at our head office in Snowdonia.

 

For yoga and meditation holidays, teacher training and local classes visit our website.

Secret One: Top 5 Secrets Successful Living

So… what’s the first secret?

This is one of the biggest and best-kept secrets around! Secret One of a successful life is how you ‘start’ your day. Those first few minutes are crucial to how your day (and therefore your week, and month and year… and even life) unfolds and manifests around you.

In this first secret, let’s explore how you can, very simply and quickly, ‘set’ the energy of your day to help you to get the most out of your life.

meditate-in-bedAbout the technique
Jumping out of bed (or even dragging!) as soon as the alarm goes off and going through the mechanics of getting up and dressed can often feel like a chore, something to ‘get done’ before ‘life’ starts.

This is technique is about pausing for a moment and setting your intention for the day ahead BEFORE you get up. By regularly using this short meditation technique, you’ll be able to perceive a conscious shift in your daily awareness towards that intention you set in the morning.

The Light Appreciation Society
Today, I watched the sun as it rose over the mountain side here at our Dru Centre in North Wales. For what felt like an eternity, I was standing in shadow and waiting – it felt as though I was waiting for the light to bathe my soul – just as water bathes the body… The next moment a sparkle of light peeped above the horizon, swiftly followed by the rest of this wondrous disc of light. My appreciation for that light and what it ‘IS’ took my breath away. Bottom line: without the sun – there would be no planet earth. They’d be no ‘me’ or ‘you’ at all!

As we go through the Light Shower technique below – see if you can hold that sense of appreciation and wonder at the beauty of light, and what that light means to you.

The Light Shower Technique

1. As you wake up – gently move (without opening your eyes) into a comfortable seated position.

2. See if you can begin to visualise sunlight touching the crown of your head, your face, shoulders and body. You could imagine light streaming in through the window and touching your body.

light-shower3. Allow that light to flow down over the crown of your head and down towards the shoulders, chest, abdomen, hips, legs and feet. See if you can ‘feel’ it as it pours over you like a warm, soft, healing, river of light.

4. Have an intention for that light to fill you body internally with light. You can use this affirmation: “My body is filled with light, health and energy.” If you are a visual person you can try to imagine that every cell of your body has a little sparkle of light making you glow with radiance.

5. Now that you are totally filled with light, use these three affirmations from Energy Block Release 4 to set a general intention for the day:

  • Focus your awareness around your head: “May all my thoughts be filled with light and highest purpose”
  • Focus on the area of the hearts and throat: “May all my words be filled with light and compassion.”
  • Focus on the abdomen, hands and legs: “May all my actions be filled with light and be for the benefit of all beings”

6. Spend a few moments in quiet contemplation before gently stretching your body and starting your day.

Advanced option:
Once you’ve been practicing this for a while, and it becomes second nature to wake up in this way, why not start to modify and change the affirmations to suit you and what you are going to do during that day. If you’re ill, you can have an intention for that light to heal you. If you know you get angry, you could hold an intention to have more patience today.

> Go to Secret 2

 

We hope that you’ve enjoyed the first of the 5 Top Secrets to Successful Living. We’ll be posting the other 4 secrets here Dru Online blog so keep posted! Next in this series we’ll be exploring Secret Two – helping you to take the power of the Light Shower Technique and amplify it and turn it into a powerful tool for success!

If you’ve enjoyed this technique you may enjoy attending one of our yoga or meditation retreats in North Wales, or even joining our Online Meditation Course.

Warm Regards,
Anouschka Dack

> Go to Secret 2

FREE meditation video

Sky Meditation – Dru Meditation DVD from Dru Team on Vimeo.

Sky Meditation – Dru Meditation DVD

The Dru Meditation DVD’s Sky meditation helps you regain your perspective on life, broaden your vision, lift your eyes from a situation in which you are bogged down, and see the larger perspective. Use it when you want to regain your enjoyment of life and all of those great things that are really important to you.

February 2013 – Dru Meditation

mediation-for-blogGrounding breath
How often in our modern world do we feel scattered, unable to find clarity or certainly in our life? Perhaps there is nothing particularly traumatic or stressful in our immediate circumstances, we just feel unsettled and unsure of which direction to take. This, in itself, can create stress.

The grounding breath will help bring steadiness to your mind, giving you greater clarity and certainty. If you practice the grounding breath regularly, you may begin to find stresses of yesterday no longer hassling you today.

1. Sit comfortably, with your spine upright. If you are sitting in a chair, keep your legs parallel; feet flat on the floor or on a rolled up mat.

2. Close your eyes and for a few breaths, become very interested in your breath as it comes in and out of your body.

3. Follow the passage of your breath with your awareness, moving inwards down to your lungs and outwards back up and out. After you become comfortable with this moving flow of awareness, extend it right through your body:

4. As you breathe in, take your awareness all the way down through your body to the ground beneath you. And as you breathe out, bring your awareness back up through your body. Try not to change your breathing in any way, just allow your awareness to move up and down through your body  as your breath comes in and out.

At the end of the next in-breath, allow your awareness to rest on the ground for a moment before returning through the body.

5. Repeat this a few more times, until you feel a calm steadiness wash all over you.
Invite your awareness to rise through the body for the last time and become aware of your body in contact with your clothes in your sitting position, allow your breath to return to normal and begin to notice the sounds in the room.
When you have completed the grounding breath, sit for a few moments and notice how much calmer your mind and body feel. Imagine how you might feel if you practice this simple breathing exercise every day.

Remember, if you are feeling a bit scattered, ground yourself with your breath!

There’s so much more…
Our online Dru Meditation course makes meditation easy, even if your mind won’t stop!

www.druworldwide.com (yoga holidays in North Wales)
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Online Meditation course
Online Gita Course

December – the dog

dog-for-blogAdho Mukha Svanasana – downward facing dog

This is a great posture for helping you to settle into the moment – and let go of any Christmas tension!

As an inversion it’s important not to do this posture if you have high or low blood pressure, glaucoma have had recent abdominal surgery. It’s also advised against doing this posture on the first 3 days of your menstrual cycle.

Physically this posture stretches out the hamstrings and gastocnemius (calf muscles) and latissimus dorsi in the back. Its enhances circulation to the head and brain helping us feel refreshed and invigorated. This posture helps us let go of the past and brings us totally into the present. On an energetic level you may be aware of energy flowing from the base, mooladhara chakra, though all the chakras up to the crown.

How to do this posture
Come onto your hands and knees with the knees directly below your hips and your hands below your shoulders. Tuck the toes under, engage your core muscles and with the exhalation lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted. Lengthen your spine and lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling whilst gently easing the heels towards the floor, straitening the knees.

Keeping the head relaxed in line with your arms once again soften your knees and lift the heels. Take the weight slightly forward onto the hands. Then lift the tail bone and gently take the heels back towards the floor.

Enjoy this flow for a few moves before bringing the knees back down to the floor. Rest the head to the floor and drop the arms down by your sides for a few breaths. Make sure you pause for a few breaths before you stand up in order to balance your blood pressure.

www.druworldwide.com (yoga holidays in North Wales)
Online yoga studio
Online Meditation course
Online Gita Course

Autumn – time to pause!

This autumn; pause, catch your breath and allow yourself a bit of time for clarity and perspective.

With a nip in the air and the leaves starting to fall – it’s important we regcognise this time of change; both inside us and out in nature. If we are awareful, this time of year can be very beneficial to us and our journey forward. As the earth begins to cool and the nights draw in, how about reaching inward to the warmth inside?

In Dru Yoga we often talk of ‘Dru Points’ or places of internal and eternal stillness that we can encounter through our yoga and meditation practice. It is where we find ourselves in perfect balance and harmony with ourselves, our loved ones and the world around us. Dru Points are a  powerful way to stay connected to your inner self – even when things are a little rough round the edges.

By pausing for a few breaths each day and taking just a few minutes to anchor yourself in reality, it is also less easy for people or situations to knock you off balance. How you sit or stand to do this is really important as your posture effects not just your physical body, but also your emotions. If your spine is tall,straight and strong – those are exactly the qualities you will feel inside too.

Practical Tip – Vertical Alignment Breath

Tadasana
Stand tall; ideally out in nature. Iif this is not possible, sit comfortably with your spine straight – not slouched! Close your eyes and begin to take your awareness inwards towards your physical body. Take your awareness down to the feet, where they are in contact with the earth or floor beneath you. Feel a balance between the left and right feet and the toes and heels. Feel perfectly centered and balanced.

Draw the awareness up the legs feeling a wave of strength moving upward into the hips. Engage your core muscles by gently pulling in at the lower abdomen and up from the pelvic floor muscles. Feel that wave moving up the spine, to the top of the head. Feel as though the crown is being lifted slightly, so that the rest of the body feels light. The shoulders and gluteals are relaxed.

Vertical Alignment Breath
Once more focus at the feet. This time take you awareness down into the earth beneath you. See if you can tune in to the trees around you the soft earth, the leaves on the ground. Then spread your awareness outward so you feel the hills around you, the fields, rivers and lakes. From here take the focus downward again into the solid strength of the earth. You may be able to touch a feeling of light and warmth from the earth.

With a conscious in breath, draw warmth, strength and light up from the earth to the souls of the feet and up through the legs to the heart. At the heart allow yourself to pause and as you breathe out continue the journey of the breath up to the crown of the head. Breathe naturally as you focus here. Become aware of the air and spaciousness around you. The birds in the air, the clouds, the wind and the blue sky. Move the awareness upward as in your mind’s eye you see the sky above you filled with stars, solar systems and planets. You can feel the warmth from our sun. With the next in breath draw that warmth, spaciousness and openness down to the crown of the head, and down through the chest into the heart once again. Pause here as the focus starts to move down again to the earth.

Once you have identified your visualisations of Earth and Sky, you can move through this process a little quicker. From the heart take a breath in and then breathe out and push the awareness down into the earth. Connect with the earth and with the in breath raise the awareness again to the heart. With the next out breath, push the awareness upward from the heart to the crown and beyond into the space above you pause in that expansion and again with the next in breath draw those qualities back down to the heart. Repeat several times. When you are ready to complete; rest your awareness at the heart centre for a few breaths. Touch the deep stillness within.

This technique is very powerful for helping you to establish your place on this earth. You are walking firmly anchored to the world around you, but, as Gandhi said, “your head is crowned with the stars”. At the heart is a place of balance – this is your centre. Your equilibrium. Come to rest here daily and you will feel calm and peace pervade everything you do.

Enjoy the peaceful earth this autumn!

by Anouschka Dack
Dru Yoga Teacher trainer and holistic therapist in Manchester

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