I have been going to the gym now since October. Since then I have hummed and hawed over going to a fitness class, specifically a yoga class. My personal trainer suggested it would be a good way for me to gain some strength and I liked the idea of being in a class with other people. I figured it would give me the opportunity to meet more people in the community. Also I really wanted to try to blend the reflective and contemplative sides of Christianity with the health benefits of yoga.
I have committed to trying yoga out once a week until the end of the month when I will sit back down with my trainer and talk through the next leg of my exercise journey. So far I have to say my results are mixed. I am happy with most of the exercise poses, but there is one where I am lying on my back with my knees in the air and I am told to rock back and forth which makes me feel…idiotic to be blunt. For the record I am also not a big fan to turning towards people and thrusting my pelvis forward.
Never the less the first 45 minutes of the 60 minute class normally go well. The final 15 minutes are where things begin to fall apart for me. That is the time where we are supposed to enter into a quiet, prayerful, meditative state. The problem is I am lousy at entering into prayerful, quiet, meditative states.
I didn’t have the audacity to snap a ‘selfie’ of myself trying to meditate but here is a pretty good visual representation of what was happening in my mind;
Whenever I try to, as we Christian say, ‘be still and know God’ I feel like some part of my mind is lobbing random thoughts at me like dodgeballs. It is almost like I am two people. One part of me wants to be still, to pray, to meditate while another part of me just wants to chit chat about every little thing! It is like there is a Christopher that wants to meditate (CWM) and a Christopher who is easily distracted (CED). If you were to eavesdrop on my thoughts during yoga today this is roughly what you would have heard;
CWM– (Quietly reflecting on God)
CED– Oh wow, look at me meditate, I am doing good, I’m not thinking really at all. Yep I am just sitting here soaking in God’s presence. Oh wait! I am thinking about how I’m not thinking.
CWM– Be quiet…
CED– Oh now I am thinking about thinking I’m not thinking. Oh and NOW I am thinking about thinking about thinking I’m not thinking. I think that’s right…is that too many thinks? I am not sure
CWM– Shhhhhh, quiet I said I am trying to meditate on God!
CED– Right, right, right
CWM– (Trying to reenter prayer posture, focusing on breath prayer e.g. Bless the Lord, Oh my soul)
CED– Oh did I hear that phone chime, I wonder if it’s the instructors to say we are almost done (opens eyes) Nope, nope it’s only been like 3 minutes, what is that music she is playing? It kind of reminds me of music from Final Fantasy.
CWM– Praying……Bless the Lord….
CED– HEY! I should do that! Next time I try to do this contemplative stuff I should listen to music from Final Fantasy. I wish they would make a Final Fantasy game as good as IX, and X again. Actually I wish they would make a new Mega Man game, the board game looks cool but kind of pricey, but maybe if enough people buy it
CWM– OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CHRISTOPHER! STOP ‘TALKING’! Multiple times a week you speak on behalf of God to people can’t you sit and be serene in God’s presence for 10 freaking minutes?! (Back to prayer posture)
CED– What should I have for lunch. I kind of want to pick something up, should I though? I really shouldn’t
CED Sorry, sorry prayer right
CWM– Bless the Lord, Oh my Soul
CED– I should probably blog about this….
CWM– Oh I give up!
I think out of the 15 minutes worth of silent time I spent 3 minutes doing something remotely akin to prayer and meditation. I guess there is always next week, right?
LOL! I need to do more yoga…
I need to learn how to do it better!
LOL! I have always struggled with meditation, my brain sits there and thinks about not thinking, too! and then it just devolves… 🙂 Good luck!
Well good I am glad I am not alone 🙂
You described that so well! It is exactly what happens to me too.
It can be so hard to be really still and quiet for sure. I have never really been very good at it.
Lol! sounds familiar, I had a similar conversation with myself yesterday and blogged about it. ha! It takes continual practice to quiet our thoughts/ego but I will tell you it does get easier and those meditative moments do last longer. Keep practicing!
Oh boy does it ever. That is funny I hadn’t read your post until you commented here. Good to know I am not alone.
LOL too funny. This is why I don’t do yoga. I can’t relax enough
It is unreal. I tried on Tuesday and I didn’t get much further.
Hahaha. Ok, love the conversation you have with yourself during meditation. And TBH, you aren’t the only one. Happens to me all.the.freakin.time. But that’s why I keep getting on my Matt. You’ll find that it’s almost like a muscle, the more you use it, the better you’ll get. The more time will be between CED’s comments. People that say meditation is easy have no clue what they’re talking about IMO. It’s hard, but that’s whats so rewording about it. Guess I should have put a corny alert out there for that last comment….
Corny doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
I think this is the hardest part about yoga! haha, I know I’ve had almost the same conversation in my head.
Good all of these yoga confessions are making me feel much better.
This is always my problem too! If you figure out how to quiet all the thoughts, let me know your trick!
Deal if you do the same
I do believe that you have entered my prayer world, (without the distraction of yoga).
Oh I know Bonnie, I am just as bad with prayer unless I am praying out loud.
Happy baby pose is what you are describing! It is a great hip opener! I personally use an online website for yoga (even though I have subscribed to it, I don’t use it as much as I should) but I am finally taking an actual yoga class in an actual studio this semester at school. 🙂
If you don’t necessarily like the meditation aspects of yoga and like more of the stretching parts, I would recommend a simple stretch class (or a roll class, with foam rollers) which would suit the non-meditative people best. Even though meditation is good…. 🙂
Happy baby, good to know. A stretch class doesn’t sound like a bad idea they just don`t offer them at my gym
I do sometimes think meditation or focused contemplation is pretty impossible, especially if you have a busy or slightly obsessive mind! Though, I think having music on in the background is good otherwise that annoying song lyric we had stuck in our head earlier would resurface and repeat itself over and over and over again just to antagonise us (or thats what would happen to me anyway!)
Goodluck with your future meditations! Xx
You are so right I would get a song lyric stuck in my head.