When I was first introduced to meditation, through yoga, it felt like coming home. I would heat my body through yoga to calm my mind and then sit — and every time, even when my emotions became a swirling storm or my thoughts felt like a race track, there would also always be a piece of me that just said yes. This place. Here. Soon I began to read about mediation and mindfulness and in my late 20s I found Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. It changed my life.
Fast forward about seven years and I was now a part of a yoga community in Los Angeles that I cherished deeply. I practiced yoga for an hour a day at the very least, taught weekly yoga classes and a daily meditation practice was so easy to get in because every class I took and taught I also ended with a sitting meditation. My practices and their teachings were such an integral part of my life, I find it interesting that I never really considered the impermanence of it all.
And just like you never know how it will feel to swim in the ocean, until you do, or how a ripe peach fresh off the tree will taste, until you taste it, no parent can grasp exactly what parenthood will be like until they get there. No parent really knows the depth of commitment that will be asked of them, until that little human with big needs is in your arms.
When I had my first son I lost all of the freedom that had previously fed my soul in an instant. My partner worked long hours our new family of three lived on the other side of the continent, in a different country, from all our extended family. I had no one to watch my son so I could take a yoga class. There was no one to watch him so I could teach a yoga class either (paying for childcare to make this happen just didn’t seem financially feasible). In truth, having someone come over to watch our boy just so I could take a shower wasn’t happening. I began to wonder, how would I even find a consistent 10 minutes to meditate, let alone the hours I had devoted to yoga and mediation before?
Then one day, as I was flipping through the well-loved pages of Tolle’s A New Earth, very late at night when I should have been getting the few hours of sleep that I could back then, I came across this:
“Even if you meditated on your breath for two hours or more, which some people do, one breath is all you ever need to be aware of, indeed, ever can be aware of.”
These words felt like a tiny light-beam piercing its way through a foggy desert. And even though I didn’t fully incorporate the idea Tolle’s words held into my own life in that first season of motherhood in as a consistent a way as perhaps I could have, I’ve never forgot this quote.
So when I came to write my capstone project for the inaugural Our Mediation Channel’s first teacher training (now one more child, and another seven years along in my parenting journey) it was the Tolle quote above that I returned to. I wanted to create a program for new parents. I wanted to create what I wish I had back in those early days.
The result? A program, which at its core, centres around the idea of micro-meditations. Five present breaths, taken twice, or three times, or many times a day, while caring for children, or others, when getting in any kind of consistent formal sit feels impossible (and may very well be in that current moment).
The added bonus of a practice like this is that ANYONE can call it into their life. Here’s how: set your alarm for a few random times a day. Don’t think too much about what times, where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing then. Just pick a few different times and set daily alarms at those times. Then, wherever you are, as soon as you hear your alarm go off, drop out of your head and into your body. Become aware of your breath. Stay present with your breath for the next five. Then, when the fifth exhale ends, continue to move on with your day.
Do this everyday for one week and see what’s possible.
Thanks for reading 🙂