Despite incessant resolutions to commit to my practice, I have long struggled with creating a daily sadhana that sticks. The stereotype of a committed yogi, though, is one who wakes before the sun and spends hours on their mat followed by a long meditation, incense burning and sitar music playing in the background. Right? There [...]
Because he has been practicing Vipassana meditation for many years, I was eager to pick my friend Max’s brain about his experience. His story was bitter sweet, beginning with the death of his father. But, as you’ll see, his practice was an important tool in helping him to get past that tragedy. And it has improved his life in many ways. Here’s what he told me:
The quest for enlightenment (or whatever) is why I practice meditation, but people come to it for many reasons. Since I am always curious, I asked friends and fellow teachers to share a bit about their personal experiences. Who am I kidding? I was feeling competitive: I wanted to see if other people were better at meditating than me (#TypeA, #youknowIamjokingright?). You be the judge
Of the eight limbs of yoga, four — pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and that ever elusive mistress, samahdi — are forms of meditation. Clearly, Patanjali thought meditation was kind of important and who am I to argue with a great sage?
I have a dirty secret. The truth is, I’m not a real yogi. Lately, I have been going through one of those times we talk about often in the yoga community; a time that tests your faith. A time when you are supposed to tap into all the tools you learn as a practitioner and apply them. So what did I do? I fell right back into old patterns. Now, I’ll never know if my tools worked because I didn’t give myself the opportunity to try them out on the battleground.
I first met the incandescent Linda Naini at a yoga workshop on her birthday, of all days. I was immediately drawn to her. I often say I have a girl crush on her because she just exudes warmth and makes you want to be her best friend. Linda is a student and teacher of meditation. If you’ve ever attempted meditation, you know it can be one of the toughest nuts to crack. But the best part of having wise, old souls like Linda as friends means I get to ask them all manner of questions like: what’s the deal with this whole meditation thing anyway? The interview below captures her response to that inquiry.
I’ve been on my fair share of yoga retreats over the years and I can honestly say that there is none like that conceived of and led by the incomparable Greg Marzullo. After traveling with him to Tuscany last year, I knew to expect more than just the usual vacation with some yoga thrown in for good measure. So I was well aware what I was in for when I left for southern Spain to spend a week with him.
I’ve been practicing yoga for well over a decade. I’ve been meditating regularly, not for as long, but a while. I svadhyaya (self-study) all over the place and yet, I still haven’t felt the effects of a shaktipat or the kundalini rising that I hear about from others. I mean, I can’t even see auras! Sometimes I feel like a yogic failure. Where’s my damn enlightenment, already?! I remember distinctly, during the deepest days of my yoga teacher training, hearing stories from my fellow students about their energetic experiences. In one of the earliest sessions, my teacher walked among us during a meditation conferring upon each of us a shaktipat, a transference of spiritual energy. Afterward, we all compared notes. Some students described it as a bright burst of colors behind their eyes or a sense of warmth in their skulls. I listened with a mixture of envy and disappointment; I wasn’t sure I’d felt anything at all and I was bummed. I wanted a transformational experience. Was I not open enough? Not spiritual enough?