I Tried Online Meditation to Calm My Mind in These Anxious Times and Heres What Happened – PureWow

Posted: March 23, 2020 at 2:52 pm

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Even before we met the four horsemen ofCOVID-19(illness, panic, isolation and toilet paper shortages), meditation was a cultural darling.Businessmen are bullishon investing in it,brain scientistsare quantifying itseffects andOprah practices it. Ive dipped in and out of the discipline over the years and found it helpful in a variety of ways, from making me more patient to helping me feel more energetic and break addictive behaviors. And whilesolo meditation in the comfort of your own home is certainly effective,I find this practice hard to sustain; quite simply, its more difficult to focus when Imhome alone than when I am in a class setting. Something about thecombined energies of theother meditators together with a teacher make the shared experience more like a warm bath. When I try meditating alone at home, the wholesetup feels like thedrafty floor time that it is.

But given the events of thepastfew weeks,some mindfulness was definitely in order. And withgoing out to a class no longer an option, I decidedto tryonline meditation. Here are a few tips from my firsthand experience.

When I found out thatDen Meditation, a local studio with locations on La Brea and in Studio City, was inaugurating regularly scheduled online classes led by their usual teachers from the privacy and virus-free security of their own homes, I was curious. Would itbe creepy to just close my eyeswhile facing mylaptop? It turns out that the guided meditations offered in both studiosprogramming are wide-ranging,with all sorts of different formats beyond just sitting cross-legged on a cushion. There is yoga nidra, which is alying-down meditation thatsgood for people with insomnia; intention meditation, which is useful forsetting goals; and self-compassion meditation, which helps quiet your inner critical voices, plus many more.

The first class I took was a 9 p.m.breathworkclass. The descriptionwarnsusers tobe prepared for some big emotional shifts.For someone who basically ping-pongs between heightened awareness (read: anxiety) and detachment all day, I certainly did experience a big emotional shift when I leaned back on my pillows withmy laptop screen balanced on my lap. The teacher began leading me (us?were otherslogged into the $10 class? could the teacher see me/us?) through deepbreaths, alternately holding and releasing them in a regular rhythm, while she coolly and calmly counseled on the importance of breath. Thirty minutes into the session, I awoke with a start, with no idea where I wasand for amoment noidea why this woman wasspeaking to me/us/whomever from my laptop. Abashed, I shut the screen, rolled over and fell into a deep sleep.

While I ve only once taken a kundalini yoga class (which I found not yoga-like at all but instead a sort of hyperventilation-inducing pillow party), I registered for one the day after my breathwork class. It was advertised as releasingan ecstatic and electric energy running through you.Sign me up! Led by a kindly older woman in a white turban who giggled fetchingly as she let on that this was the first remote class shedever taught, the class did turn out to be the sort of pulse-quickening midday pick-me-up I was looking for without being a sweaty workout. Small hand gestures, abdomen stretches and syncopated breaths, with a big crescendo of meelephant walking,or holding my ankles in my hands while I walked around the room, made me feel uplifted ifa little dizzy. My three dogs, however, were upset that I seemed to be moving in a playful manner around my bedroom without wanting to play with them.

While solo home meditation for me has alwaysbeen amind-clearing zazen practice of sitting in silence and counting my breaths from one to ten, the last class I tookthree classes in three dayswas a sound meditation. I settled back in the dark, against my pillows, for this nighttime aperitif of a teacher rubbing crystal bowls, tinkling chimes and tittering wooden blocks. And unlike so many meditations in which I tried to build a wall against my dark thoughts, here I just let them in and allowed them to wash over me:What if we run out of food?How long will our California shelter-in-place order endure?What about getting sick?The teacherscalm, clear and encouraging voice rose out of the sounds, drowning out the anxiety. Today I canteven remember what she said, but I realize nowthat thesemeditations workedwonders, and the common thread is that, during all of them, I luxuriated in havingsomeonespeak to me in a soothing voice for 45 minutes.

So maybe Ima little bit hooked on online meditation right now. Try ityou might find your own high in it.

Sign up for drop-in meditation classes atdenmeditation.com.

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I Tried Online Meditation to Calm My Mind in These Anxious Times and Heres What Happened - PureWow

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March 23rd, 2020 at 2:52 pm

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