Last April, after wandering around the host’s farm house in Fribourg surrounded by beautiful green fields, hills and mountains, me and the Dutch friend, who was also volunteering for Dalai Lama visit in Switzerland, got back in our shared room. She put on her earphones, sat straight and told me she was going to meditate. I started straightening my back and meditate on my bed as well. We were talking earlier about how you can feel the tense muscles soothing when you sit straight and meditate and yes I did feel so. She showed me how you can spare even just a few minutes to meditate any time, anywhere!
Two months after that I was lying on the grass in front of Belfast castle, looking down to the hill, looking up to the sky, the chronic pain in my back was not there for those moments. I realised how tense my muscles were normally when I’m in a crowded, busy and fast city like London. Later on, one night before sleeping during my travel in California, I received a post from Zen Habits about choosing a ‘trigger’ when creating a new habit. The author of the blog also shares in other posts about doing the most important things in the morning after waking up. Thanks to him, I also get to know about Coach.me – an app that helps you to create and keep new habits going with a healthy and positive community. I started practising meditation and light exercise/ yoga on bed while travelling.
Last year, I tried several meditation apps, did sitting meditation and yoga from time to time but not often enough. I was still suffering from the pins and needles in my left side of body and back pain. I did go to the GP and doctors in London for almost two years, did several tests and tried massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, herbal medicine – scattered appointments depending on outsiders’ touch did not help with the root of the problems. I gradually learn that the discomforts are results of stress and sitting too much, too often without frequent exercises for years.
A few travels overseas refreshed my mind and recharged my energy. I felt in love with nature in Fribourg, enjoyed walking along the gorgeous Aare river in Bern, hiking up Land’s End in San Francisco. Switzerland and the Bay Area inspired me with people jogging around, energetic start-up people on trains, health-concious stores. Coming back, London’s weather was at its best – the sun was shining into the bedroom – I started doing meditation and yoga the first morning after travelling, until now! I decided to meditate and practise yoga after breakfast everyday – before anything else. I was living in a single room in a student house and practised meditation and yoga in bed. It was not the best condition but it was time to take actions and work on my health. After each yoga and meditation session, my body is well-stretched, energy fully charged and my mind balanced; my face brightens up, the skin looks better as well.
In the beginning, it was not easy for me to sit still for even just a few minutes. I started by counting from one to nine and increase the time gradually. Starting small and counting along your in-breath and out-breath helped. I started with 9 seconds for each yoga position as well. Now I do up to two hours of meditation, yoga, added with aerobic workout every day. I normally shut down my computer – my biggest distraction together with the internet, put it in a closed drawer unless I practise along a video online or a DVD.
For me, meditation is yoga for the mind and yoga is meditation for the body. They have become my close friends now – whenever I feel unwell during the day, I pause what I do or think at that moment to sit down, meditate, do my favourite yoga positions to lift myself up mentally, physically – which then will make me feel better emotionally as well. I highly recommend using ‘EyeLeo’ for the computer – I set 7 minutes break every 30 minutes I use the computer when I stand up, clean a few things, go to the toilet, do some stretches, yoga positions or meditation.