Guided Sitting Meditation For Beginners

"Sitting meditation is very healing. We realize we can just be with whatever is within us- our pain, anger, and irritation, or our joy, love, and peace. We are with whatever is there without being carried away by it. Let it come, let it stay, then let it go. No need to push, to oppress, or to pretend our thoughts are not there. Observe the thoughts and images of our mind with an accepting and loving eye. We are free to be still and calm despite the storms that might arise in us."

 

-The goal of meditation is not about control your thought, it's to stop letting them control you.-.png
Sitting meditation is like returning home to give full attention to and care for our self. 

— Plum Village
  1. Find a comfortable sitting position, you can choose to sit in crossed legs or sit like a Japanese. If you found it hard to sit with your spine straight, feel free to sit on a block or pillow or a fold blanket to allow your pelvis tilt forward and lower down your knees.
  2. You can close your eye or keep your eyes open, focus on one steady point in front of you and soften your eyes gaze.
  3. Let go of your expectation, idea or experiences how meditation should be.
  4. Take couple deep breaths to relax your body and mind, by inhaling slowly through your nose and then exhaling out your mouth. After a few cleansing breaths, continue to breathe at a normal relaxed pace through your nose with your lips gently closed.
  5. Then, put your full awareness on your belly or belly button. Observe how your belly raises when you inhale; how it falls when you exhale without any judgement. 
  6. Don't try to stop your thought or force yourself to stay calm. Always remember meditation is not about "not thinking" or "being calm", it's indeed a process of us being aware of your thought, emotions, even distraction. So you have to be prepared you might think a lot! It's really okay if you are distracted, when you caught yourself distracted, just simply remind yourself to come back to your breathing point (belly or belly button).
  7. Practice, Practice, and Practice! The benefits of meditation are greatest when practiced daily, even a few minutes of daily meditation is beneficial. Start with whatever amount of time you can, and slowly build your way to 20 to 30 minutes. 

 

What to do when we are suffering: Simple Steps to Take Care of Our Emotions

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It’s Okay To Have Negative Emotions

For more than 20 years, I used to deny my “negative emotions” because I thought it defines me as a weak, shameful, pathetic person. I have tried different approach to keep myself positive but none of it work on me. However, later I have found that by denying my emotions, I am also denying myself, which means I have never accepted myself truly and unconditionally.

According to my teacher, our emotions itself is neither good or bad. It is the language of our souls, the tools that our souls communicate with us. To create balance for our life and heal ourselves, we first need to take care of our emotions.

 

Reasons Of Taking Care Of Our Emotions

Have you been angry and said something you didn’t really meant to? Have you been hurt so bad that you are not able to feel anymore? Resisting our feelings causes them to simmer and intensify while compressing our emotions will turn us to numbness; both ways are disconnecting us to our souls.

Holding our suffering, looking deeply into it, we find a way to happiness.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

In Buddhism, suffering is a must for self-transformation. When we intend to feel our emotions rather than resisting it, we create more space for our bodies and also our minds. Once our negative emotions are no longer controlling us, we are able to look deeper and discover the seeds (cause) of suffering. As a result, we learn to transform it into peace and happiness.

 

Simple Steps For Taking Care Of Your Negative Emotion(s)

1.       Find a comfortable position, sit down or lie down are both fine.

2.       Close your eyes, check how do you feel at the moment without any judgment.

3.       Allow yourself to feel your emotion(s) and recognize the area you feel it the most.

4.       Start to breathe particularly to the area you feel your emotion(s) the most.

5.       Consciously breathing to that area; when you feel ready, simply talk to your emotions                       (silently) by saying, “Hello (anger/sadness/anxiety/jealousy, etc), it’s ok that you are here and I           am here taking care of you, let’s breathe together”

6.       Keep breathing until you feel relief.

The Journey to Self-Acceptance with My Stiff Body

“I’m not flexible, will I be able to do yoga?” The most common yoga question I ever heard. The answer is “Yes”, a BIG “Yes”. Of cause you are able to do yoga, yoga is for everyone.

A lot of people think they have to be flexible in order to do yoga, some people feel stressful and awkward in group classes where they can see very flexible people (advanced practitioner or naturally flexible). They feel shame when they are not able to touch their toes in forward bend. However, believe it or not, stiffness could be a blessing for our body to prevent us to over stretch ourselves.

After studying Yoga Anatomy, I understood more about body’s limitation of movement because of body proportion, bones, joints etc. I realized that neither being stiff or being flexible is perfect. Non-flexible people might found it very difficult to do various yoga poses while flexible people are easily over-stretch and lead to serious injury due to lack of body sensation.

In fact, stiffness is also a blessing on practicing self-acceptance. In a period of time I hated to go to yoga classes. Because I felt so upset whenever I see teachers or people who can easily make “perfect” yoga poses. I blamed myself and I forced myself to practice even I had injury in order to master those perfect poses. As a result, I never became “perfect” but ironically my injury became more serious.

I also realized I have never accepted who I am in the past. I always see perfection in others but being judgmental to myself. I see being stiff as a sin, I see imperfection of myself as a shame which is not true, totally wrong indeed. 

I believe our number one priority in our life is to love ourselves. In order to spread our love to others we first have to love ourselves. To love ourselves fully we first need to accept ourselves unconditionally. Accepting your imperfections is a primary approach of self-acceptance. Let’s be imperfect and grow together on and off the mats! Have a nice day :)


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