Why I did 1 week of meditation
So, in all honesty, I wouldn't have usually done a week of meditation by myself. But Jeremie won a week of meditation & yoga classes at Modern Om in Miami. And as he is away this week, he gave it to me and encouraged me to go along.
I have always wanted to meditate more but didn't really know where to start. I know Jeremie uses Headspace but it doesn't seem to work for me. So I figured a free week of meditation with different teachers would open my mind and maybe start a new meditation practice in my daily routine.
MONDAY MEDITATION WITH JASMYN AT MODERN OM
So I started the week off with Jasmyn at Modern Om for a meditation session. Jasmyn started off by telling us about herself. She spoke about how depression and anxiety runs in her family and she uses meditation as her medication. Jasmyn only takes antidepressants when she really does need them, but otherwise focuses on meditation and yoga to get through hard times.
She also spoke about an ex who physically, mentally & sexually abused her for 5 years and how she got out of that abusive relationship through meditation. And this story led onto the purpose of the practice.
We were talking about the heart chakra and how in a lot of yoga, the heart chakra is all about forgiveness. But Jasmyn doesn't think you necessarily should forgive people who have done bad things. Because forgiveness means you will allow that behaviour to happen again. Instead she learnt to accept what had happened in her relationship and to use it as a stepping stone to helping herself move forward and be a stronger person but also to help other people get over bad situations. It made her stronger and she is now a better person for it. Which does not excuse what he did or make it right, but I guess she is trying to make something good out of a bad situation.
During the meditation we were told to count back from 27. If our mind wanders, we needed to refocus and go back to 27. I think this type of meditation calms the mind. I find that when I am silent, my mind goes a million miles a minute and I think about anything and everything but when I am focused on something like counting back from 27, or counting my breaths from 1-10, it gives my mind less chance to be thinking about other things.
Whilst we were meditating she sang some mantras to us. I don't remember what exactly but Jasmyn has a beautiful voice and I found her singing very therapeutic.
I found during this meditation that my right leg went numb due to the position I was sitting in and it was so sore. Jasmyn said that if we are uncomfortable just to sit in the pain and think of the breathing and counting. But I found it too distracting to be able to fully meditate whilst I was in physical pain. I had to move a little bit but I think my sitting position is something I need to either learn to be in pain with or learn how to sit differently. I think I need to sit more forwards with my knees on the floor supporting me.
Anyway, the class with Jasmyn was a good introduction to meditation. It wasn't what I was expecting and I think that's a good thing. She has her own style of teaching and I think I just need to find someone who suits what I want to experience a little better.
MONDAY YOGA WITH ASTRID AT MODERN OM
Even though this blog post is all about my week of meditation, I did a free yoga class at Modern Om that I wanted to touch upon too. This was a great class lead by Astrid which involved lots of asanas. I really liked her laid back way of teaching whilst also pushing us a little.
I would come back for another class by Astrid in the future and would recommend her class to other yoga practitioners.
TUESDAY MEDITATION WITH MICHAEL AT MODERN OM
Tuesdays's meditation with Michael was totally different to Monday's class with Jasmyn. He started the session by telling us a little bit about himself. He grew up in Miami but spent around 10-12 years in India teaching yoga with his teacher Sri Karunamayi. He has recently come back to Miami and is now teaching yoga and breath work to people here.
Michael started by lighting some beautiful smelling scents, I have no idea what it was but it's what I imagine an Indian ashram to smell like. And he played some Indian pipe music to set the tone. We were inside this time so were warmer and didn't have the distractions of other music or people walking around like we did on Monday's class. I also used a seat to help support my back a little bit. I didn't lean on it during the actual meditation part but I did use it before and after and I liked the feeling of support without having to move.
He told us what was going to happen during the meditation which would include doing the Om noise together 9 times. We would then do some breath work by holding your right nostril down with your thumb, breathe through the left nostril. Then hold it in the middle of your eyebrows. Put the ring finger on your left nostril, take off the thumb from the right nostril then breathe out of the right one. Then breathe through the right nostril, hold it and out the left. This would count as 1 cycle and we did 5 of these.
We then chanted this mantra together "Om Hreem Namashivaya". We chanted together until we faded out into silence. Michael told us that if our mind wanders, try not to catch onto the thought, instead let it fly away and if we need to, we can chant this mantra to ourselves silently in our heads. I found that at the beginning of the meditation, I wasn't distracted and I could focus quite well. But as time went on and my leg started to go numb again, I got distracted and found myself repeating the mantra to myself in my head to try to refocus my attention.
After some time, Michael chanted some mantras to us and we did the same as before but in reverse. So we started by chanting the mantra together quietly and getting louder. We then did the breath work and finished by doing the Om 9 times.
This was more of what I was expecting meditation to be. I love the smells, the sounds, his voice guiding the meditation, the different stages and especially how I felt afterwards. I feel like after Monday's class I was a little bit disappointed to have spent the money on the Ubers and time there and back for a short 20 min meditation that I couldn't really fully enjoy. But Michael's class was the opposite. I felt inspired, relaxed, well rested, calm and almost excited. I loved this experience so much and I would 100% come back for more of his classes. I wasn't sure I could go to his class on Saturday morning due to timing but now I know its him, I am for sure going to go!
It was the whole experience that I like and I am similar in yoga. I like when there is music, incense sticks burning, oils given out. I really enjoy a multi-sensory experience.
Something Michael said really stuck out to me and it's something I need to work on for future meditations. He said that if you're not sitting comfortably, you will find it very hard to meditate and I think that is very true. When my leg isn't numb at the start of a meditation, I feel myself relaxing and enjoying it. But as soon as my leg & foot start to go numb and hurt, I can't seem to settle again. I tried to wait it out like Jasmyn had said on Monday but actually someone asked Michael at the end of the class when to stay in pain and when to move and he said kind of the opposite in that if you're uncomfortable, you need to move so that you are comfy. You need to be in a comfortable position and not in pain to be fully able to meditate.
So next time I do a meditation, I need to get as comfy as possible and if I get a numb leg, I need to move it to not be in pain, without moving too much that I break my attention.
Anyway, I loved this class and can't wait to meditate with Michael again on Saturday morning.
WEDNESDAY SELF MEDITATION AT MODERN OM
So I tuned up to Modern Om early at about 6.45pm and I was told upon arrival that there wouldn't be a class today. I don't think they had a teacher or something because of Thanks Giving coming up next week. I think maybe it was announced on the app that the class had been cancelled but on Instagram it still said it was on. It was a shame because it's not just a waste of money on the Uber ride there and back, but it also takes me around 45 mins each way.
Anyway, I was offered the space inside (or outside) to do a self meditation. I am very new to meditation so I felt a little bit nervous to do this as I wasn't sure I would be able to self meditate.
I went inside at 7pm and they had very kindly put on some candles and some relaxing spa/meditation music. So I got myself settled and meditated.
I started by being silent and trying to quiet my mind myself but that doesn't work too well for me. So then I tried counting down from 27 using the technique Jasmyn had taught us on Monday. I still felt like my mind was wandering all over the place so started to say the mantra from yesterday in my head. And after a couple of minutes, I was humming the mantra to myself. I was alone so didn't mind looking silly as there was no one there to be silly infant of. Although saying that, I didn't feel comfortable enough chanting the mantra out loud. But I found that by humming the mantra from Tuesday, my mind was able to slow down and focus on that. It felt very special and therapeutic to hum a very powerful mantra by myself, for myself.
I found myself really enjoying the meditation but then I started to worry about what time it was and how long I had been meditating for. I had no idea if it had been 5 minutes or 1 hour. So I checked the time (it had been 17 mins) and tried to get back to meditation but once I had moved I was kind of out of the state of meditation. I tried for another 5 mins but then decided to pack up and go home.
I actually think it was good to practice meditation on my own, and to know that with the right set up (music, candles & smells) and mindset, I can meditate on my own. But it was a real shame that the class had been cancelled and no one had mentioned it on Instagram. I was looking forward to learning from a different teacher who might have been able to ignite something special within me.
THURSDAY MEDITATION WITH MYK AT SOUNDSCAPE PARK
Myk, who is the founder of Modern Om, had organised to partner up with the creator of Life Cube, Scott Cohen for a special meditation event at SoundScape Park in Miami Beach. This instillation is the 12th and final cube in a series of Life Cubes that have been all over the US.
The idea behind the Life Cube is that you write a goal or dream on the Dream Tag. Then you hang this intention on the instillation with the hopes that it might become true.
Before the meditation, Myk explained that in a study done of Harvard graduates, 84% of them didn't have goals. 13% of them did have goals but didn't write them down anywhere. And only 3% of them wrote down their goals and plans on how to achieve them. "After 10 years, the same group of students were interviewed again and the conclusion of the study was totally astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals, but did not write them down, earned twice the amount of the 84 percent who had no goals. The 3 percent who had written goals were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97 percent of the class combined."
I found this super interesting and very inspiring. Maybe there is some truth to all this journalling that people do!
So I wrote "my dream is to have a healthy baby".
Below that we had to write how it would feel if we ever got our dream come true or if we met the goal, so I wrote "I feel incredibly grateful and full of love & joy".
The meditation practice today was to repeat the "I am" or "I feel" mantra to ourselves for around 15 mins.
It sounds easy but actually I got chocked up a couple of times. When I was repeating it to myself over and over without really thinking about the words, I was fine. But as soon as I thought about having a healthy baby and how incredible that would feel, I got teary eyed and emotional.
This was such a beautiful meditation and it is something I would like to try at home with work related goals. I think it could be very powerful and very inspiring.
I really wish we had done this meditation inside as I think I get too distracted being outside. Especially somewhere like south beach with the sound of planes, cars, horns, people coughing, people talking, ambulances, music etc. There was too much going on for my mind to totally be at peace and be able to meditate but it was a beautiful process and something I might recommend to friends who are into the meditation thing!
FRIDAY SELF MEDITATION AT HOME
I really wanted to continue the meditation at home but I don't think I did for the whole weekend. Saturday I didn't go as I had photoshoots to do and Sunday, Jeremie wanted me to be at his Gratitude Training graduation. I'm glad I went to support him and wouldn't have it any other way.
What I learnt
I think this week of meditation classes made me realise that finding a meditation practice is similar to finding a yoga practice. You need to experience different teachers, different techniques, different venues, sounds and smells in order to find what resonates with you.
I think my favourite class was Michael because I really felt immersed into a culture and country that was different to Miami. I have always dreamed of visiting India and I think the sounds, smells and meditation itself felt very much what I imagine India to be like.
I also really enjoyed the meditation at Soundscape Park as it made me realise how powerful meditation and setting intentions can be. I was very emotional during the meditation and I guess that's a good thing.
I really want to continue this practice into 2020 and want to invest in Calm or Headspace to have a tool to use on a daily basis to keep me going! Let's see what happens in 2020.
I kind of wish we lived closer to somewhere that held yoga classes & meditations sessions as I really want to find somewhere that I enjoy, without having to pay a fortune on Uber!
Anyway, I had a lovely experience with Modern Om. Its a shame I chose such a busy week and missed a couple of sessions but I really would recommend it if you live close by or have a car!
Thank you Modern Om for the free week of classes and thank you Jeremie for giving them to me!