It's been a really, really hard for week for me (you can read about it on the Yoga Forum, if you like), so I'm trying to get back to the basics because my body does not respond well to stress. It physically freaks out. Side note: Did you know that stress can exasperate inflammation in the body? It's crazy!
Anyway, so it's back to basics for me. Simple yoga, daily meditation. Meditation is something I do frequently but I'm often doing something else and it's more a meditation in motion rather than your traditional meditation sitting in stillness. For example, working out is a meditative experience for me. I know it might sound nuts, but it totally transforms my mood and how I feel. I think about absolutely nothing, and I breathe and work and sweat, and the next thing I know my time's up and I'm ready to leave and I feel on top of the world. It's the best.
The yoga practice works similarly for me if I'm not too stressed out. I can usually flick off the switch that controls the constant stream of thoughts and focus. But if things are kind of nuts in my life it's much more challenging to focus. I also notice that poses that usually come quite easily to me are infinitely more challenging, if not totally unattainable when I'm really stressed out.
When this happens, I go back to traditional meditation, although I usually put on some music. I thought I'd share a new playlist for meditation that features chanting.
A few years ago, when I first got to Thailand, I felt so, so alone. It was my first time in Asia, and I was jet lagged and full of anxiety. I didn't know anyone (my teacher training program hadn't yet started and I hadn't met anyone), and I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb everywhere I went. I was nervous walking around a place that was just so, so different from anywhere I'd ever been. I felt really out of my element not understanding even a word of Thai besides hello and thank you. I was overtired and it took all I had not to cry. I was walking along, realizing I was lost, and started to panic. I was in this sort of run down area, and every scenario of kidnapping played in my head (I told you, I am crazy about my safety). And just when I was starting to really lose it, I stumbled upon in this temple. There were monks in the front in meditation, and beautiful music playing, and I remember this wave rushing over me, washing away all the self-doubt and stress. It was so incredibly peaceful.
I think that's why chanting holds a special place in my heart. My absolute favorite is the Om/Invocation below by Steve Ross.
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