In the zone

Monday, September 2, 2013 Permalink

I’ve mentioned a few times recently that I’ve started yoga. At this stage I’m only doing Yoga Chi Gung which doesn’t involve a lot difficult poses. It’s more about the breath and it’s weird that I kinda enjoy it as I’ve never been great at being ‘still’ and zen-like.

I spend A LOT of time alone and to others I probably have very little on my plate… so it’d be easy to think that I sit about all day doing nothing and communing with nature. Or catching zzzzzzzs.

But it’s not quite like that. Even now, when I’m not-working, I spend nearly all day at my desk. I will occasionally have a nanna nap and at night I watch TV. I never really just ‘sit and be’.

I’ve mentioned before that I struggle to sleep. My mind goes crazy and it occurs to me that it’s cos it’s the first time all day I’ve NOT done anything or been preoccupied with other stuff. My still mind can be a bit manic – if that makes sense – but it is also when I’m at my most creative and inspired.

I am not sure everyone who knows me will agree, but I actually feel like I’m a temperamental person. I’m uptight and sometimes I feel like I’m ready to unfurl at any moment. And if I did / do… then it may get ugly.

I want to be zen. And not in a Edina (from Absolutely Fabulous) way, just cos I think it’s cool. And not in too much of a hippy-trippy way so that I become TOO laid back or appear a little mentally-spacey (and yes, I do know people like that!).

I suspect it’s the control freak in me that wants to be able to calm myself and control my thinking. But, more than that, I want to be able to let go of stuff. I want to be able to move on from things from my past that keep me stuck, and I want to be able to move forward without being overly-angsty about things that might or might not happen.

I like the idea of meditation but have only dabbled in a passing flirtation to date. My end-of-yoga meditations are teaching me a bit about myself and my style of blissing-out.

A couple of months ago, for example, a person specialising in sound alchemy took the meditation and – I’m not sure why – but it really affected me. I’m an auditory person, I’ve realised… so sounds are important. I’m not visual so struggle to visualise during meditation sessions (being in a forest / by a creek… #meh!).

Last year I won a Jennifer Polle CD, which I loved but lost during my move. I recently bought another (though via MP3…. so I didn’t have to wait for delivery!) called Clearing Emotional Blocks, a meditation of sorts.

I love this CD (Jennifer’s voice is SO calming!) and have listened to it A LOT. Mostly I tend to zone in and out. Almost every time I’ve heard something different. I’m not sure if that’s normal. Last week for the first time I sat (rather than lay down) to listen to the 30min meditation and was impacted in the same way I was the first time. I cried in a certain part. But because I was ‘in the zone’ I couldn’t cry properly…. tears just escaped from my eyes and trickled down my face and I was powerless to stop them or wipe them away. (A strange sensation!)

But what I’m wondering I guess is whether I need to go to meditation classes or lessons, or whether it’s something I can do myself? I’m not big on ‘acceptable-places’: in that… I’m not religious, but I don’t feel those who are need to go to church to prove it. And… I feel no need to visit the crematorium where my father’s ashes lie, because he is with me all of the time.

So… is there a right / wrong way to meditate, I wonder? Should be perfecting my technique before trying it at home?

In any event, I’m finding I’m less concerned about NOT doing weights or Body Pump classes. I’m less anxious about Zumba, running or high impact cardio. I’m starting to imagine a life where I walk daily and yoga several times a week (my budget permitting) and in between, I focus on stilling my mind and unleashing more passion and creativity into my world.

Does this make any sense at all?
Do you meditate?
Do you think there’s a need to learn how?


  • Char
    September 2, 2013

    I think I get your need to feel Zen. It’s all about letting things go that don’t matter. Not fretting about the small stuff. Just tapping into a source of inner peace. Or at least that’s how I see it. That really appeals to me too. And sometimes I feel like I come close to achieving it but other times (like a couple of weeks ago when I was PMS central) there’s absolutely no way of reining in that dragon that wants to breathe fire and brimstone over the earth.

    • Debbish
      September 2, 2013

      Very very true Char!!! That’s exactly how I want to be (not the dragon part, obviously!) 😉

  • Lou
    September 2, 2013

    I find meditation is one of the hardest things. I have done Yoga in the past but now am a fan of Pilates instead for some reason. I’m really glad to hear you are enjoying the ride…

    • Debbish
      September 2, 2013

      I actually did a bit of yoga in the early 2000s and then switched to pilates and did private lessons (neighbour was an instructor) for years. I had probs with yoga as I often injured myself hyper-extending in certain exercises.

      I haven’t found a pilates studio locally, plus there’s the cost. But I’m liking the yoga chi gung for something different.

  • Erin
    September 2, 2013

    Deb- I love this. I’ve been working with a health coach for the past few months and over the past few weeks gained the courage to let go of my ambitious diet and exercise plans, take up meditation, slow down, quit my bootcamp and join a yoga studio full time. It felt like a huge plunge to let go of the things that I perceived to be keeping my health and well being in check- when really I was feeling guilt ridden, lazy, inadequate and deep down felt I wasn’t at all good enough to fit the fit woman mould. Yoga though- it comes from a completely different place. Every time I practise I feel like I’m peeling layers of myself away, rather then forcing my body and mind to change. It feels natural.
    Through meditation and journaling, I’ve become less concerned about my weight, and instead am focusing on accepting my life in its present moment, and relishing my health for what it is.
    It’s an ongoing journey, but the more I delve into meditation, the more I feel it to be a necessity- your experiences so far are just beautiful. I hope that it’s bringing you a certain sense of comfort and acceptance. You’re great xx

  • Debbish
    September 2, 2013

    Oh wow Erin… what a great achievement for you! I hadn’t seen you tweet as much about exercise etc (since our old 12WBT days!!!!) and I’m really happy to see you doing so well!

    That’s exactly where I want to be. My overeating is so much about the mindset for me and lately I realise that it’s just my go-to position. Ages ago someone told me I needed to learn to ‘sit with’ the feelings I get which cause me to binge (rather than race out to the shops and buy everything in sight) and I struggled to see how I could do that. I’m not there yet, but I really like that notion of coping better!

    PS. Plus – in reality, my weight issues are more about what I eat (at the moment and at this size!) than exercise. I’d like to get / be fitter but am conscious that a walk or a Zumba class is easily negated by eating 1kg of hot chips!


  • Julia
    September 2, 2013

    This is a really wonderful post, Deb. Wonderful for you to be exploring your inner self. Unlike Body Pump or Zumba, which helps you feel better on the outside which then makes you feel better on the inside, Yoga works from the inside out. Meditation does too. Your story about crying is very powerful. There is so much going on inside of us that we don’t understand, and all of that affects the outside of us. I think the route you are going on with meditation now is excellent. My boyfriend reads a lot of about meditation – he likes Allan Wallace in particular. I’m excited to read more about your adventures in meditation!

    • Debbish
      September 4, 2013

      Thanks Julia. It is unusual that I’m doing something more for the spiritual / emotional me! (Oh, and I’m sure I’ll be sharing again!)

  • Lana
    September 3, 2013

    It’s so nice to find some one else who spends a lot of time alone & watches tv til late…
    I do yoga at home alone, with a DVD, & am learning to meditate. When I was younger I couldn’t sit still & was so busy busy, now at a mature age I’ve slowed down & can meditate & spend days alone – I loved the busy but now I love the aloneness. I see it as part of the circle of life. Loved your article & the music recommendations thank you.

    • Debbish
      September 4, 2013

      Thanks for your comment Lana. I actually have a yoga DVD somewhere and I definitely should dig it out now that you’ve reminded me of it. I’m wondering if you’re learning to meditate with someone / a class or doing it yourself.


  • Satu
    September 4, 2013

    The way you describe your reaction to the tape sounds very interesting. Was that sound alchemy? I guess I’m a visual (and language) person myself but my visualization tends to be bit patchy if I do that.

    I used to meditate more in past, especially when I still did yoga. I learned it mostly from mindfulness books, but I also visited a local Buddhist center’s meditation classes for a few times. It didn’t feel especially religious and it was ok as an experience.

    I think that the most common misconception about meditation is that the goal is to still your mind or something like that. Sometimes it happens, most often it doesn’t – at least for me. The purpose is to be aware in whatever happens at the moment, including your inner chatter. 🙂

    • Debbish
      September 4, 2013

      Satu, the meditation in my yoga class was sound alchemy. I’m thinking of buying a CD from the woman who did it. She’s a classical-trained singer and her voice is AMAZING! She does the singing bowls thing and plays some bamboo flute type thing as well. I’ve downloaded a CD from iTunes and it features a lot of singing bowls plus relaxation sounds – but it’s just not ‘doing it’ for me.

      The other reaction (I’ve had on initial listening and when I sat to listen) was to the Jennifer Polle recording. It’s when she talks about ‘being enough’. I’ve written here before about that, but decided not to go into it (on the post) again….


  • Aqilah
    September 5, 2013

    That’s so true Deb. Whenever I’m shitting myself with whatever that’s bothering me I tend to hide in a little corner and meditate. It works, I worry albeit a little less and I feel fresher too. The only problem is, it’s so hard to just focus on meditation and clearing the mind and I think that requires practice. It’s a good start!

    Great post Deb!

    • Debbish
      September 5, 2013

      Thanks for your comment Aqilah. I remember being at a health retreat years ago and the instructor had been a buddhist monk or something and he told us that he could get himself ‘into the zone’ pretty quickly. He said he still got frustrated or grumpy but could head somewhere private (toilet cubicle was the example he gave) and start breathing and then he was fine. I like that notion. I know I’ll never stop getting impatient or grumpy or stop stressing completely, but being able to breathe through it and release it sounds ideal!!!


  • Lydia C. Lee
    September 6, 2013

    Works for some, doesn’t really work for me. I do find archery is very zen for me – I have to concentrate on one thing only (my brain is usually all over the shop), I have to control my breathing and aquire a stillness that is not in my nature. I love it. Just can’t do it at home 🙁

    • Debbish
      September 8, 2013

      Archery?! Hadn’t considered that. I’m hoping to start kayaking in summer and hoping it will prove calming and zone for similar reasons (nature!).


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