I find it very easy to skip my meditation at the moment. When I came back from my teacher training, I meditated twice a day, for 20 minutes first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Whilst I was at the Ashram I couldn't imagine not continuing this practice. And I did manage to keep it up, I even managed to meditate on my wedding morning which was great, I can remember that moment clearly, that calm that I experienced, the bright sunshine coming into my bedroom. However now I tend to bulk my meditation in with my asana practice, I tell myself that my savasana at the end of my session is my meditation for the day. But I am starting to see that that isn't enough, as I continue learning through yoga, going through different phases is all part of the journey. I have practised asanas and meditation fanatically, every day and punished myself for not doing them, I have rushed through my asanas as something that I had to do, and not listened to my body and what it needs, and I have gone to the other extreme and not practised anything at all. I have meditated, chanting as I go with my mala beads, but I have not really been mindful about it, another box to tick, yes I've done it. And again, I have received no real benefit from this practice. Something then shifted in my practice, I moved to a different understanding of my asanas, I now practice every day without fail but not because of a sense of HAVING to, more because I want to and I take a moment to listen to what my body needs. I still know that I have to do my asanas for my own peace and health of mind but it isn't a chore now and sometimes when I have taught 2 classes in one day, I give myself time out and I take a savasana and I know that is okay. The difficult thing for me sometimes is distinguishing between my body's needs and my mind's ramblings. It took me some time to recognise when my body was telling me something as opposed to when my mind was whinging about having to do sun salutations, let's miss them out today….
Now to my meditation practice. As I said I find it easy to bulk it in with my asana practice, I bolt it onto the end in my savasana. However, as I look at it now, that is not mindful meditation, that is meditation for the sake of meditation, a bit like I used to see my asana practice. I just want to be able to tick the box, yes, I've done that for today, I can move on. And by doing that I am missing the whole point, the whole meaning behind meditation. To really gain any benefit from meditation it needs to be mindful. Without meditation I find it easy to let my mind take control of my life again. For example, I made a decision a while ago to stop drinking alcohol during the week. However, this decision has not been easy for me to keep. Every morning I vow to not have a glass of wine in the evening, and every evening I find myself giving myself permission to pour a glass of wine! My mind equates fun and happiness with a glass of wine, and then after one glass I have no control at all, any ideas of abstinence and mindfulness go out of the window.
So contemplating this dilemma on my yoga mat I came to the conclusion that I need meditation to bring this unruly, out of control mind back under my control. So now instead of letting my mind wander I will go and meditate mindfully and see if that makes a difference. I know that I am on a journey and that things take time, however I do want to be able to control my mind, without judging myself, without emotion and I now realise that the only path for me to follow to achieve this is the path of mindful meditation. I'll let you know how I get on.