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Up For a (Meditation) Challenge

by Milissa on January 22, 2012

in Meditation,Mindfulness

My husband is leaving me in the dust. At least as far as meditation practice goes. Even on dark, cold January mornings he’s getting up when his alarm goes off and sitting for around 20 minutes, while I read or journal in bed.

For me, meditation of any kind, has slipped by the wayside. As I’ve had some kind of meditation practice (japa, metta, mindfulness) for over 30 years, the absence of a regular way to touch in to my center feels off.

Time to get back on the meditation cushion.

So I am, right here and now—publicly!—committing to resuming a regular meditation practice. I started this morning. I was awake early and did my sit right on top of our bed, wrapped in the duvet.

I am going to challenge myself to 40 days of meditation practice. Does this sound a bit daunting? It definitely is for me, if done rigidly.

It’s a setup for failure to commit to more than what is really workable. A day is missed—because a half-hour couldn’t be carved out of the schedule to meditate—then another, and it becomes an excuse to quit. The meditation cushion starts to gather cobwebs again.

“All or nothing” is the way many of us tend to approach meditation.

The secret to success? Start small and work your way up. Begin with a commitment to a little, and then feel free to do a lot more practice.

Judith Hanson Lasater, author of the restorative yoga bible, Relax and Renew, shared at a yoga workshop a few years back that she commits to doing just 2 yoga postures a day. Some days it’s hard to drag herself onto the mat, but when she keeps her commitment she almost always finds herself happily doing more.

Former Kripalu president, Jonathan Foust, recently admitted at a national yoga conference that he feels so much resistance to daily practice that he commits to just 7 minutes of yoga a day. That’s what gets him on his mat. And, once there, he gets into the flow of his practice.

Many meditation teachers, including Sharon Salzberg who introduced me to metta, recommend a similar approach. Start with a little so it’s doable. Commit to a certain number of days to make it a daily practice, with 40 days being the traditional duration.

Take the Meditation Challenge. It can be for as little as 5 minutes daily.

Here’s what I’m committing to: at least 5 minutes of sitting practice a day. Even this might be a challenge some days, but I know that if I get myself on the cushion, knowing it’s just for a few minutes, I may stay for longer.

Want to join me in your own personal meditation challenge? If so, leave your comments below AND come join me on Facebook so we can compare notes.

Need a little more guidance to get started on a meditation or personal yoga practice? Contact me to set up a private session at Tree of Life Yoga. Packages are also available.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

dj January 23, 2012 at 6:08 am

This sounds doable and realistic. I’ll give it a try. Thanks, Milissa!

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Milissa January 23, 2012 at 9:09 am

Yay @dj! Keep us posted on how it’s going. We can compare notes on Tree of Life Yoga’s Facebook page too.

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