This is how I meditate. I just didn't realise until it was gone.
Updated: Oct 14
During Victoria's first Covid lockdown, I made several discoveries about myself and my family - the way our lives operate, what we need and what we don't. One thing that became blindingly obvious was how much I relied on my weekly Pilates class. For the body and for the mind.
Meditation is not something I thought I would or could do. When I hear the word, I instantly think of someone sitting with crossed legs, hands resting on knees, eyes closed and gently humming. That’s not me.
Of course, I can’t deny the many benefits of meditation, or even the need these days to be able to switch off my thoughts and de-stress. But again, when I hear the word, I just don’t see it happening for me.
I am not good at clearing my mind. Sitting still at home, I’m always thinking about what there is to do next. The only way to stop is to watch a movie or read a book. Massages are the same. I’m quite happy to lie still, but my mind doesn’t stop.
However, one thing I have learnt since the Covid lock down is how badly I’m missing my weekly Pilates class. My body is feeling it, but more than that, my mind is. You see, without even realising it, Pilates was my weekly brain-break session. Or meditation if you will.
Many people use exercise for mental health as much as physical. I have always felt better, mentally and physically, after any workout. But during all my workouts, my brain is still on full power. I am still able to think of all the things happening at home, work, school etc while exercising. So, it’s not restful.
Pilates is different. To do Pilates exercises properly, you have to focus and you have to breathe in a pattern. It has a rhythm to it. Take your mind off the movement for even a moment, you’re likely to lose balance and quite literally fall. Or to a lesser extent, start using the wrong muscle group.
So, while I may still be using my brain with all this focusing, I get a solid 45 minutes break from thinking about life’s “to do” list; and it’s the most rejuvenating activity I do all week.
Now I’ve been home for several weeks, I am acutely aware of just how much I need those brain-breaks. I haven’t heard if or when I may be able to return to classes. Therefore, like so many discoveries I’ve made during lockdown, I’ve had to discover how to meditate at home.
It’s much harder than I thought it would be.
Firstly, finding the alone space. Everyone is home all the time. Alone doesn’t come easily.
Secondly, it’s the time. It’s just as hard to find as the space when everyone is around all the time.
Third, it’s finding the right thought process. Being able to put my mind in a place where the stressful thoughts can’t creep in. I need to be distracted enough to not think about the “to-dos”, but not so focussed as to give myself a whole new level of stress.
The online world has exploded since we’ve all been home, and I’ve been doing some Pilates classes remotely. It gives me the physical workout, but the brain-break is still a work in progress. It requires a lot more practice. So I’ll keep plugging away at this, all the time keeping my fingers crossed that Pilates will be back. SOON.
Since writing this tale, Ballarat has moved to Stage 2 restrictions, meaning I am back in the studio with the gorgeous Jess Ure at Mind Body Balance Pilates. Her story coming soon...
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