Monday, February 26, 2007


This morning, I sat in meditation.

My morning practice usually begins with a half hour on an elliptical trainer we have in our finished basement. I tend to start the day slowly, so the slow warming into a few minutes of cardio helps me wake up. Sometimes on the machine, I work through a lovingkindness meditation. Other days, I read. This morning, it was reading -- I'm mostly finished with Stephen Batchelor's book, Living with the Devil: A meditation on good and evil (lots of interesting ideas for later posts).

When I finish with the cardio, I turn off the lights and move into yoga. The yoga is on a mat I put facing a glass doorway out to a sunken patio. If I start the whole process early enough, I often start the practice in the darkness, with the morning sky beginning to lighten. The yoga starts in samastithi, hands together at the heart. I recite the anusara invocation, then start the asana practice. Sometimes it's as simple as a few minutes in downdog or child's pose. Sometimes it's 30 minutes of vinyasa, but at an introspective, rather than heart-thumping, pace. Today, it was brief. Enough to transition me from cardio and book thoughts to meditation.

Once I've yoga-ed my way to meditation, I roll up an old blanket as a cushion, place it on the mat, and I sit/wiggle for a minute to get my sitting bones comfortably seated on the rolled blanket. I usually sit in siddhasana, easy pose. Then I wrap my legs in an afghan my wife made several years ago. I do that because it's usually cool enough in my basement to chill me if I sit for very long, but maybe also because I'm following the practice of Manorama, who taught me a lot about meditation and yoga in a workshop last year.

Then I close my eyes, recite inside my head the second verse of the Yoga Sutra, and move from there into vipassana meditation practice.

So what arises then? Awareness of the ways that the space where I practice is really not adequate for yoga and meditation, followed by an elaborate process of thinking about what a really good space to practice meditation and yoga would be, the implication being that if I were in That space, my meditation practice would really be better.


Meditation indeed.