With a world that likes immediate gratification, meditation might not seem important. Sometimes nothing happens but frustration that you should be doing something else. It is a long haul journey, as opposed to a “right now” sensibility.
Grace Dubery, yoga teacher and Lolë ambassador gets it. Even with a life dedicated to mindfulness, she sometimes finds it hard to sit (there’s hope for the rest of us!). Grace says that what matters most is to take time in silence. Part of Tuja wellness’ 30 day meditation challenge last year, Grace was uncharacteristically on North American soil prior to leading a yoga teacher training in Africa. Grace spoke about her unexpected meditation teacher and what her students have crowned her the queen of:
Chicken and egg question time. What came first: the yoga or the meditation?
I started yoga first. I was introduced to meditation through yoga. The first time that someone sat me down, they told me that I had a lot of resistance! I was so used to movement. You can do asana all your life, but in the end you have to sit and get to know yourself.
When you find it difficult to make time to sit, what do you do?
When you move, your gaze point and connection to your breath is a meditation. It’s so challenging to do. If you try to keep focused on your breath through a whole yoga practice, it’s exhausting. It is a training in itself; training the mind to not be all over the place.
When you were introduced to meditation, what did you find challenging?
At first, the biggest challenge was sensations. My hands would feel boiling hot. All mind stuff!
Do your classes incorporate meditation?
I have a lot of students who say that I am the queen of savasana. It is because it was a challenge for me. I have the mission of helping them to try to do poses they didn’t think they could do.
How do you encourage fidgety folks to stay put?
It has to do with slowing down the practice at the end. Restorative poses can help trick the body into meditation by making the body melt. Sometimes I ask people not to leave. You have to teach people that it is important.
Why is important? What does it do for you?
It’s space. Space between thoughts, space between emotions, space in your body. It allows me to be more open and more present in any given space that I am in. It also makes me more sensitive and aware. You get rid of the waste in your mind. It helps us to become more human.
Our busy lifestyles certainly aren’t helping…
Children are in the now. It’s coming back to that and peeling all those layers. A sense of wonder is so important. I learned that from my mother. In the middle of the concrete jungle, she can see a beautiful flower growing. She is actually my teacher! Looking at things with an open awareness. Looking at the beauty of the world. People like this have an ability to be totally present. That is what meditation calls us to return to.
Cue the Enigma soundtrack. Did you like participating in the tuja meditation challenge last year?
I got really good feedback in general from the challenge itself. It was amazing to see that people were so grateful to have something during the winter tundra. It helps me when I get caught up in my routines and have to come back to a structured, guided format. I need to be pulled in again every once in a while.
Courtney Sunday is a yoga teacher, meditation instructor and writer whose own family is shocked that she learned how to sit still after a childhood of Pop Tarts and cartwheels (she has kept the cartwheels, lost the Pop Tarts). As a regular contributor to tuja wellness, she has the lucky circumstance of relearning what matters most on a daily basis.