Today’s new thing was to try a community yoga / relaxation / meditation session, which was held in central Auckland. It was a free event, or you could give a koha (donation) if you could afford it.
The first half was great, some simple hatha yoga stretches with a lovely teacher. The second half of the session, which focused more on the meditation side was interesting, but put me a little outside my comfort zone.
The teachers covered three different types of meditation. Mindful breathing, reciting mantras with the mala beads (For those not in the know, mala beads are a strand of 108 beads used for keeping count during mantra meditations. You move from bead to bead as you recite the mantra), and a meditation led by the teacher that involved repeating (singing) back mantras with the emphasis on the feel of the vibrations in your body.
Now, I’m sure there’s a certain amount of zen to be had from singing, and feeling the vibrations of your own voice, but I was tenser than a tightly coiled spring after that particular exercise. And it went on for aaaaaaages.
I’m probably just too British to fully relax into that sort of meditation, and I couldn’t keep a straight face, which was probably off putting for the more earnest meditators in the group, so it’s probably not for me. Although I did make eye contact with a couple of people who were clearly as uncomfortable as me, so it’s nice to know I wasn’t alone!
While I did find the breathing exercises and the mala bead mantras very settling, what I took most from the experience was the amount of kindness in the room. The three ladies leading the meditations and the yoga explained that the reason that they ran the group for free / a koha, is that they believed that meditation and yoga is a gift. It was passed onto them, and they want to pass it forward – not to make money, but just to share and help others.
Sometimes, with things happening in the world, and your own day to day stresses and worries, it helps to remember that there are some people in the world, who are just good, and have the best intentions towards others.
For a strange, yet not unpleasant experience – 3 out of 5 stars