How Meditation Led to Creation (Mind Body Melt)
I was never into meditation.
I was raised by parents who practiced TM (transcendental meditation) in the main living space of our small Long Island apartment, while I saw in front of the television watching Sesame Street. I wasn’t invited to sit and be present, or taught how to do it. It was my parents’ thing.
When I was about five years old, I visited an ashram in Connecticut, where I met Swami Satchidananda. I remember feeling overwhelmed by his kindness. He lifted me up, this unfamiliar bearded man, and when he did, I remember feeling really seen. After years of reflecting on this moment, I believe that there was something about his divine love that stayed with me.
When I came to meditation, it was with resistance and totally out of need. I was lost. I needed to slow down, clear space in my mind, and take a breath. I had a strong dislike of the word, “meditation” only realizing here, as I write this, that it was probably because it had been presented to me as this thing that was difficult and attainable only by people who were already connected to their spirituality.
It wasn’t until I did a workshop with Light Watkins in Vermont that I felt myself desire the practice of meditation. Light Watkins told us that it was okay to move, scratch itches, and even open our eyes to check the time. M A G I C .
I began meditating daily, looking forward to that time. I felt my connection to Spirit, and to the sparkly, golden space that held my soul. It felt like falling in love.
During one meditation no different, really, than any other, I opened my eyes and felt this incredible download. It showed me holding a class where people could sit and move, connecting deeply to the breath. TThe name of the class came through, as well: Mind Body Melt™. I love the idea of the mind and body connecting with the breath, allowing the entire body to just melt.
The class was never intended to be one that included the warrior series, or even downward facing dog (though as I moved into teaching it, I sometimes throw those poses in to build a teeny bit of heat, mostly in the winter). It was to be gentle movement, eyes-closed-let-it-all-go hip swishing mind body connection; supported bridge, gentle twists, hip openers, and neck releases. And it would end with 5 minutes of silent meditation, sitting against a wall for support.
I began teaching, weekly at one studio, monthly at another. As the class began growing it’s own roots, I began moving into guided meditation before savasana. People really liked that. Each class, I’d ask what people wanted, silent or guided, and more often than not, it was guided that they chose.
I love guiding. I feel into what people might need, or what the moon cycle calls for, or maybe even the season, and then I freestyle. (Once, during a guided meditation, I took people back to the womb, and then I realized I had to guide them back out via birth… not my finest moment.)
As a society, relaxation and rest isn’t applauded unless it looks like feet up in a hammock somewhere tropical, a massage/facial, or unwinding with cocktails. Napping and slowing down doesn’t log hours, it doesn’t put steps on your fitness tracker, so it’s tougher to attach to. However, when relaxation is build into a yoga class, it’s wellness. I love that I can offer a class that I created, something that people like and choose to come to. Every time I walk into class and see my students, my heart swells with gratitude. I love the softness of being in someone’s ears when they are in a comfortable space of rest.
My Mind Body Melt class is currently available in two studios, with a potential third studio on deck. Can you imagine what that feels like? Having something that I created, something that I breathe life into, being offered to people, and having people show up? Heart full.
My friend, Lou Redmond, wrote Find Your Truth, about his journey toward meditation. I highly recommend his book. He also has beautiful meditations available on Insight Timer, and leads beautiful meditation classes at Qwell Meditation Studio in Montclair. Check him out on my podcast, Access + Expand.
Be sure to check out the book, Bliss More by Light Watkins. It will make starting a consistent practice super attainable.
I also love 10% Happier by Dan Harris. It’s a journey toward meditation that you won’t want to miss.
Photo: Me at NEPA Yoga Festival by Clark McMillian for Socialife Designs.