I am at the very, very beginning of my meditation/mindfulness/yoga journey, but I wanted to share a few resources that have helped me dive in deeper. While I’ve practiced the physical practice of yoga (hatha yoga, the yoga of asana or posture) on and off for 12 years, I’ve really only been exposed to the spiritual aspects of yoga for the last four or five years. And now that I’m in yoga teacher training, I’m delightfully immersed!
*A book that I’ve written about previously that really opened the doors, so to speak, to meditation for me is Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana. It’s exactly what it sounds like — a simple, well-written guide to beginning a meditation practice. I absolutely loved reading it, and will re-read many times in my life!
*I like when I have a time limit and a person talking to me during meditation. This is a stepping stone toward being able to do it on my own for extended lengths of time. One great way to have both is to listen to the “Learn to Meditate — Meditation Podcast” put out by the Meditation Society of Australia. The FREE podcasts are usually 20-30 minutes and include a small talk and then guided meditation. I love them so much. One may download the podcasts through iTunes/the App Store or listen via their website (link above). Their website also has yoga class videos, email subscriptions for daily meditations, and more.
*In addition, I have found that I really like the [free] app called Headspace. I’ve just begun using their app, which as 10 days of 10-minute meditations, among many other features. I haven’t fully explored all that their app and website offer, but I’m looking forward to it. They have a meditation reminder alarm, interesting and well-designed videos, aesthetically pleasing infographics, and great information about the science behind mindfulness. Check it out!
*I’ve also just begun using an app called Transform Your LIfe by Cheri Huber, author of There is Nothing Wrong with You. I am not familiar with the author, but the app has daily thoughts to which a user responds. The app stores responses like a personal journal. Today’s “thought” was this:
“Let us be kinder to one another.” -Aldous Huxley
…and the “assignment” was: Today, let kindness direct your every movement. And then there is space to write thoughts, reactions, goals, etc. It’s quick, easy, and a great way to cultivate loving-kindness on the go!
*Lastly, for yoga teachers and serious practitioners out there interested in learning the Sanskrit words for your asanas, there’s a flashcard-style app called Yoga Quiz by Drishti (available at the App Store for $1.99). I strongly recommend taking a course, picking the brain of a Sanskrit-speaker, and/or paying very close attention to YouTube videos (like this one by Stephen Thompson) to learn how to pronounce Sansktrit words. I had my introduction to Sanskrit today, and it was quite challenging but very fulfilling. It is thought to be a divine language that, when spoken correctly, creates specific vibrations that can positively affect one’s mind and body, particularly when chanted.
I know you’re all super busy people, and you’re probably thinking, “Kate, you’re in yoga school full-time, so no wonder you have time for all of this!” The reality is that I don’t do each of these things every day, and the other reality is that I want to! If you want to make mindfulness more part of your life, you have to start somewhere and you have to start by carving out five or 10 minutes each day to practice. Maybe start with Headspace, which guides you through a quick 10-minute meditation. See how it makes you feel; you may be inspired to continue down the mindfulness path!
Questions? Comments? Other resources? Do share!