My Issue with Doing
I am going to write a memoir someday with the above title. I am a 'Doer', less of a 'be'er' (I know a 'be'er is not a word). I come from a long line of people who are always busy and always have a project to work on. I used to think that made me a productive part of society. I am also an aficionado of the To Do list and get all giddy when I mark something as completed. I have even found in my files, ancient To Do lists, stored away like priceless gems. Oddly none of those say Enjoy Life and Be Present.
The present revelation of my nature should not be a shock to me as others in my life see it. But I have been so good at keeping busy that I didn't have the time to realize that it was impacting my relationships with others and myself. I needed to practice stillness and fast (more doing). One such practice to stillness is meditation. I have been dawdling in meditation for many years now, trying various styles but none stuck with me. I had to find a practice that connected with my self as a doer.
I have now found a way to meditate that can incorporate some 'doing' and bring about some stillness. I have been using mala beads to meditate. These are the prayer beads that you see monks using during meditation or now adorning yoginis wrists everywhere. I sit comfortably, begin with an "Om" to set my intention and as I focus on my breath, I move the mala beads through the fingers of both hands one by one. I like the tactile feeling of the beads moving through my fingers. I feel gratitude that these natural seeds were sowed from somewhere in the world by someone in the world and now I can harness that energy to become still.
|My meditation place|
Paying attention to our breath known as Conscious Breathing, can also be a tool to use to be present rather than do. This is a way to begin our practice together to realize where we are starting off from. The article "Conscious Breathing" below presents an awakening on the breath and its role to lessen our doing and increase our 'being'.
My meditation practice may change again. Perhaps I will take less of an active meditative practice. (see Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation in sidebar for another example of active meditation) in the future. This serves me now. Explore your own meditation practices and the stillness it may bring.
Benefits: Gently stretches the lower back, relieves shoulder tension and quiets the mind. Give a sense of security. Feeling support and release.
Extras:sandbag for sacrum
Place the two blocks at either the lowest or medium height, equidistant from each other bolster lengthwise on top of blocks. A s-fold or triple fold blanket on top of bolster. It may be more comfortable without blocks. Legs straddle the props at one end, and lengthen body over them. Head will rest on props. Additional blanket(s) may be used behind knees. Ideally props should extend all the way to the pelvis area but this may not be the case with your body structure. Stay here for 10 minutes to begin with, rotating head side to side.
Benefits: Stretches the torso and provides a gentle twist which allows a release in tension in the lower back area. Emphasis on three-part breath. Elongates side body.
Create a bolster fold from one blanket. Fold a blanket into smaller rectangle from a a full half fold. Lay flat on floor and fold in thirds, the final third folding under (s-fold) then fold 1/3 in and other third in with fringe on top third. Lie on right side with hip at the base of the blanket. Torso should rest on the blanket. Right arm rest on the floor with the palm up. The left arm can reach over the head to increase the stretch. Close your eyes and allow your body to relax and release any stress or tension. Slowly sit up and switch sides for the same amount of time.
Focus on your breath. Breath into your right side allowing that gentle stretch to travel from the tip of your fingers down your lower spine. Sense the left side of your body gently melting and surrendering to the ground beneath you. All tension and stress being recycled by mother earth. Sense the gentle letting go of your muscles and knowing that you are safe and supported. Breath deep and exhale soft and long.
Props: bolster, 4 blocks (or firm cushions, pillows or rolled-up blankets), 4 blankets and one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow
Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline, add another block under bolster for stability. We used the wall in this week's class placing the bolster at a higher elevation. Place a double-fold blanket on floor next to low end of bolster and a long rolled blanket on top next to bolster (for sacral support). Sit with your back to the short, low end of the bolster. Place two blocks where your knees will rest (can top with a soft blanket or use other props as necessary for propping knees) Bring your legs into Bound Angle Pose with the soles of your feet together. Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment. Lie back on the bolster. Place supports under your arms so that they are not dangling and there is no feeling of stretch in the chest. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.