I learned yoga and meditation three years ago in Nepal. I’ll always remember these days. The start, so it appeared…
During my trip to Nepal in 2014, I had my first encounter with yoga and meditation in a yoga center. Not entirely coincidental. Whenever I read about it, it raised my interest. So why not learn it in one of the best yoga/meditation countries. I hadn’t booked anything in advance, except my first night in Kathmandu. But apparently I had something encouraged in my heart. And before I knew I spent my first week in Nepal in a yoga center, where I learned different forms of yoga and meditation. Relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, yoga exercises and meditation were distributed throughout the day.
And yes, I sometimes had to giggle over some absurd pose during the hatha yoga. I don’t know which one of you practices yoga as well, but at ‘the lion pose’ I really thought: “WTF?? Okay, don’t think, just do it.” I had the company of two other travellers, including a very interesting and attractive man. This often caused lots of hilarious situations in my own head. Can you imagine? Being in your most “flattery” outfit, completely natural, both undergoing nose rinses and weird yoga poses. Where this interesting man had total control over everything, I sometimes felt very clumsy or couldn’t even do the pose.
Fortunately, these two fellow travellers were pretty cool. During our free moments and walks in the beautiful surroundings, we had so much fun. The English of our Nepali teacher was English with the well-known Asian twist. We had such a laugh over the phrase he ended each lesson with: “May all the beans be happy.” What should of course be: “May all the beings be happy.”
And let’s not forget about all the beautiful moments. The tranquility I felt as a result of many hours of meditation and yoga, new experiences, beautiful conversations, sleeping in a tent with dazzling fireflies in front of it… I’ll always remember these days!
The start, so it appeared…
For those who don’t know me. I’m sober, realistic, enthusiastic, often happy, I love music, dancing, partying, good food, a nice glass of wine, campfires, barbeques, friends, my family, coziness, the beach, shopping, my hammock and so on, and so on…
Why am I telling this? Because this can simply all go very well together with yoga and meditation 😉
Yes, I’m curious and very open minded. I achieved my reiki when I was 16 years old (however, at that time it was more my mother’s idea. But I’ve always supported it and gratefully made use of it since then). I also followed various lectures, training sessions and courses (I’ll spare you the titles, because they don’t always tell you what it’s all about) and I’ve read several books.
Since my return from Nepal, I’ve been faithfully doing my yoga and meditation. One of my weekly activities is joining the yoga and meditation classes at Satje-Joega. They offer Integral Yoga, which corresponds to the form of yoga I learned in Nepal. Each lesson involves relaxation, hatha exercises, breathing exercises and meditation. I truly love going there!
In Nepal, I learned that yoga and meditation isn’t something you do for just one hour a week. According to the Nepali, every day 20 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes of meditation are the best for body and mind. And yes, there are periods when I do this every morning. But there are also periods when I do nothing (although these periods are getting more rare). And then there’s everything in between 🙂 It’s becoming a part of me more and more and the fact is: I’m just feeling better when I’ve done my yoga and meditation in the morning. To sum up: I feel calm and I’m more satisfied. A busy day at work doesn’t feel like ‘stress’ but it feels like ‘I have a lot to do’. With emphasis on the ‘feeling different’ part. I don’t feel the pressure in my body, I feel calm from the inside. Very nice! Another benefit is that I’m literally feeling better physically. My back problems have diminished and I’m feeling less ‘small pains’.
And well, what does meditation exactly mean? I always say: I switch my head off. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have any thoughts at all. But just sit down and focus on yourself. Just shut off everything and everyone around you. It includes so much more and I can probably explain it even better, but I won’t do that now.
Besides my daily meditating routine, I occasionally go to a retreat center. I stayed a week in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal. This involved starting my day at 5AM by listening to the monks meditate and sing their mantras. But I’ve also spent five days in a Buddhist monastery at the Nunnery in Sri Lanka. And last but not least, in January and April of this year I went to a Buddhist center in the Netherlands.
Besides the special experiences and personal insights, the most special thing about a retreat is the connection with others. The day you arrive and the moment you meet the others; the people who are in charge of the retreat, but also the other participants. You can see and feel all those different people who are there, with their own beliefs and experiences. Everybody is slowly becoming more and more connected. Whether in silence or not, this is a band that will be created anyway. I really think this is so cool! Like living in the same bubble without any interruption from the outside world, because your phone is switched off and you’re in a nice and quiet place. And when you eventually say goodbye, you often give these people a genuine hug and say nice words to each other. I really enjoy it! The observation and being part of this process. Last January, the retreat was almost completely in silence. I was wearing leggings, a wide sweater and no make up. When saying goodbye, somebody told me “Thank you for your sparkling presence!” This just feels really special!
However, I often wonder why many people use a special “meditation voice” during yoga or meditation classes. I’m sure you know what I mean, an extremely gentle, friendly and delayed voice. A kind of voice you usually don’t hear during an ordinary conversation with them. Okay, I understand that meditation exercises have to create a feeling of relaxation, but why not use your normal voice in a quiet way. Yes, these teachers also exist; you just have to search for them. Finally I’ve just put this aside and to be honest, you’ll get used to it, I promise!
No, I’m not a Buddhist, but I can relate to many of their believes. However, this also applies to many other directions or theories that I sometimes come in contact with. I respect everyone’s choice. And I’m following my own way. I usually describe myself as: I have many interests and I listen to many different believes and ways of living. I learn and take with me what appeals to me, what is in line with who I am and what I stand for. And I try to apply these new insights into daily practice.
I’m curious about your ideas in relation to yoga and meditation. Have I raised your interest or do you practice it already?