Image shows a wooden statue of Woman with stretched ears and a pronounced belly in lotus position. It is in front of a mirror on a wooden surface.
So as promised I thought I would write a post about my experience of meditation classes so far. Most of the meditation I have done up until this point has been on my own through using apps or videos on YouTube. I have experienced one class before but the experience of trying to get into the building was so difficult I didn’t go back.
This time I have found a four-week course which takes place in a fully accessible building. I’m halfway through so I thought I would talk about what I’ve learned so far. Initially I was quite nervous, going on my own and knowing that I would probably be the only wheelchair user, which always makes me self-conscious to start with.
It turned out to a small group so I soon felt quite comfortable. The first part was mostly things that I was quite familiar with, but even then during the first guided meditation I was fully expecting to have a big spasm, or for my body to do something odd, so I was hyper aware of that for a while. We also did an exercise where we had to close our eyes and just be aware of our hands, to see if we could be aware of the electrical energy, which I have to admit I had a bit of trouble not judging.
The second week was all about learning to see the space between our thoughts, this was really useful as I have had quite a hectic week and I have been struggling with using my mindfulness to help me stay calm. With this in mind I wanted to talk to the teacher about being able to more effectively apply mindfulness when I am feeling anxious, as until now I have always been least able to use mindfulness when I most need it. In answer to this question, my teacher showed me a technique borrowed from yoga, where you breathe through one nostril at a time, closing the other nostril with by putting a finger on the side of your nose and this allows you to shift your focus away from anxious thought loops.
Another thing that I have been struggling with was keeping my eyes closed during meditation. When I mentioned this it was suggested that I try keeping my eyes semi-open. You can try this by closing your eyes and then opening them again slightly. Not entirely sure this is working for me yet but it’s great to have new things to try and having people to talk to about techniques is definitely helping to develop my practice. It also proves that when I make myself ask questions, even if I feel a bit silly, it helps me get the most out of things.
This course has another two weeks to run, so I will let you know how that goes. Then I am hoping to look into whether group meditation online can be an effective way to access and develop meditation and mindfulness.
*This blog was mostly typed with speech recognition software, please forgive any mistakes or oddnesses that have slipped through my proofreading process. Thank you.