Paris, France. Photo credit G.Gupte.

In the past five years, meditation has become an important part of my life. My interest in meditation developed through my yoga practice. The last pose in yoga is shavasana, essentially a 5-10 minute meditative pose where you lie on your back with your arms and legs stretched out comfortably and shut your eyes. For a long time this pose was challenging. I always had an itch or a twitch and found it hard to keep still, much less center my thoughts. Over time, and through the guidance of my yoga teacher, I started draping a towel over my eyes, which helped me stop fidgeting. Slowly, I began to notice changes — I didn’t always have to act on my impulses to scratch or move. I began focusing on the breath, much like other yoga poses, and breathe through challenges to get to poise.

Browsing a Barnes & Noble in late fall 2013, I picked up a book by Lodro Rinzler, entitled, The Buddha Walks into a Bar: A Guide to Life for a New Generation. It was a modern-day secularized take on mindfulness and seemed to be a good entry point into meditation. Previously, my hesitation with further exploring meditation had been its rooting in religion and dharma. Through reading Lodro’s book, I started to view Buddhism more as a way of life and a practical set of teaches versus ritualized dogma.

From there, I began listening to regular meditation podcasts and reading books by zen masters such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron. I simultaneously started attending a weekly meditation class that followed my yoga class. After doing that for awhile, I decided to start a daily meditation practice — starting with just five minutes per day. I gradually built up to twenty minutes, but ultimately found my sweet spot at ten. I also began journaling my experience — thoughts that distracted me, how I felt, etc.

After immersing myself in meditation for close to five years, I have recently taken the step to apply and get accepted to a nine-month mindfulness teacher training program. Through this program I will have the opportunity to learn from some today’s foremost mindfulness teachers.

I have decided to chronicle my journey on Holiday for Hanging in a series entitled, Meditated. Each week I will post a new article on the topic of mindfulness. I hope you will find it helpful and inspiring and contribute to your own journey with self awareness and connecting more wholly with the world.

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