Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Deepening My Meditation Practice

By Lisa Dawn Angerame

I have been practicing yoga asana for over 13 years now. I also meditate, chant, practice pranayama, and study yoga philosophy. For many years, asana was my primary practice. I overcame my fears in pincha mayurasana and can now do fun arm balances like ashtavakrasana. Working through years of tension, my body has become flexible and strong. I love the feeling of resting on my mat during savasana after a delicious, detoxifying asana practice. Most of all, I love the calmness that lingers even after I return to the crowded streets of the city.

Two and a half years ago, I gave birth to my son and the focus of my life changed from me to him. Being a mother has its challenges and luckily all of the practices of yoga help me be the best, most present, mother I can be. Asana helped me regain my body post pregnancy. Chanting allows me connect to my son through sound and I study yoga philosophy during naptime. Recently I have noticed that my meditation practice has become much deeper and more gratifying. I even look forward to sitting in a way that I never did before! In fact, when my son was 15 months old, we started meditating as a family every night. It is such a beautiful way to end the day and send everyone off to bed with a calm, relaxed mind.

Meditation, even for just five minutes a day, is an opportunity to take control of the mind. It is the job of the mind to think in order to function in the world in terms of interacting and conversing with people, problem solving, doing our jobs, taking in new information, etc. But meditation is like a mental vacation, an opportunity to shut out the world and take a break from thinking. A regular mediation practice affords us the opportunity to notice what and how we think.  After a while, we start to notice how often the same thoughts come up. We notice how often we review the past, make our lists, and create future scenarios that may or may not ever come to be. And then something happens. We no longer allow ourselves to get caught up in the drama of those thoughts because the experience of sitting peacefully is so much better. When the mind finally calms down, and is no longer racing, we can just sit and get lost in the beauty and peace of just being.

There are many schools and methods of meditation. I practice the way I was taught the very first time I meditated. At first, it took all of the focus I had just to sit with my eyes closed without fidgeting the whole time and hoping the timer would go off.  Now, I look forward to the time I have on my cushion. I love the whole process of sitting down, getting quiet and clear. On some nights it is harder to focus than on others, but the practice is profound and has deep and lasting effects. I know this because when I get frustrated or impatient, I stop, take a breath, and recall the peaceful state from my practice.

Here are instructions for meditation practice.  

Set a timer for 5 to 20 minutes. Sit down and rest your hands in your lap. With your eyes closed, look at your third eye, the center of your forehead. It is a blank, black screen. You may see colors or lights dancing. Keep your focus there. Count your breaths. If you lose count because thoughts are disrupting your concentration, start over. If you notice your eyes are not focused, focus them. Sit like this and practice until the timer goes off.

Meditate every day. Actively pursue the practice of meditation by studying the way you feel before, during, and after you sit. Give yourself the gift of this special time and truly let it change your life. 


  1. As you prepare to give birth to a new life, remember that life inside you has already started perceiving the world around. In fact, 70% of the baby’s brain growth occurs during pregnancy! Watch this video to know more.

  2. Actively pursue the practice of meditation by studying the way you feel before, during, and after you sit.