MindBodyBrew is ultimately about providing a space for written reflection at every step along the yoga path. We hope that by sharing assignments from our Teacher Trainees, we can expand their deep investigation into community-wide dialogue. The following is a piece written by one of our newest, current trainees, Lorena Delgado, regarding a mindfulness meditation workshop with Shastri Ethan Nichtern.
Ethan's lecture brought me back to my first class of yoga and meditation. I always thought that I was not able to meditate. I tried different methods, but I could not find meditation—not because I did not look, but perhaps because I was looking in the wrong place.
When I first started yoga, I had two primary motivations. First, I needed to work on my groundedness and weight-shifting skills as part of my dance training; second, I felt the need to get closer to myself. Although this second reason was part of my motivation, I was not very clear that yoga—or anything for that matter—would help. So I narrowed my motivation down to one.
My first yoga class was a great physical experience. The moment the teacher began the meditation, however, my struggle began. Several questions came to mind: what am I supposed to be doing? Am I doing it “right”? What images let my mind relax? Is it the ocean? Is it colors? White? How long am I supposed to be still? It was a nightmare—my monkey mind was racing, and I could not do anything about it.
At that time I had just decided to pursue a professional career in dance, which meant I had to move to another city to make my own living, to leave my family and friends, etc. A lot of things were happening: things that usually happen when you grow. Frequently, though, we do not get to know our struggles—instead we store them up so they can grow with us. Ha!
Several years have passed since that first yoga practice. Some changes have happened, but others, like meditation, are still a challenge.
During our weekend with Ethan, I was excited to give myself another opportunity to revisit the meditation practice. At the same time, though, I was afraid to fail. When the lecture started, Ethan’s calmness and honesty drove me into a new and interesting state of myself: a state that I believe has been maturing since the yoga teacher training practice began, but that I maybe couldn’t appreciate until that moment.
Just as before, some questions arose. This time, though, I was not expecting to understand theories, or find explanations for everything. Instead, I felt like an empty cup. This time I wanted to notice and breathe. I wanted to be present. Ethan told us to “admit that we are having a hard time,” and at that moment I suddenly realized: the result was not important anymore.