As we turn over a new leaf into 2022, we are all seeking feelings of a fresh mindset focused on pursuing goals and implementing new practices. It is easy for me to hone in on my daily checklist and let my mind become productivity-based. Life becomes go-go-go, so when do you have a break? As a fast-paced, productivity-minded individual, it is not often that I take a moment for a deep breath, much less make it a part of my daily routine. When thinking about ways to better my everyday life, meditation was one of the first things to come to mind because it is so far from my natural instincts yet can be incredibly healthy and helpful.
Knowing how easily distracted I could become, having not meditated before, I began my search for a meditation class. I stumbled upon Studio 87 Yoga in Downtown Norcross that offers a wide variety of classes each month. Focusing on health, strength, flexibility and clarity, the well-known S Peachtree Street studio has provided instruction to metro Atlanta residents for years.
The class focused on compassion and forgiveness, two subjects extremely beneficial when heading into the new year. David Cronin—teacher, writer, photographer and minister—hosted the class. David has been teaching spirituality in some capacity since the 70s, and even owned his own spiritual and inspirational book and gift store. Needless to say, my first time practicing meditation was put in good hands.
Walking in, I had no idea what to expect. I had a vision of what meditation might involve; closing your eyes, deep breaths and the feelings of being at peace, but it didn’t go much farther than that. I was instantly greeted by calming colors, smells and sounds. Earth tones surrounded the room, and I could quickly tell the practice of mediation was about more than just the act, but the experience.
Everyone sat in a semi-circle facing David. Each person was able to pick from various mats, cushions and blankets depending on what they felt would be the most comfortable. We began with a meditation warm-up that involved freeing our minds. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I often find it hard to feel mentally free. We took slow, deep breaths, releasing our stress. With every breath in, we thought “I am,” followed by an exhale thinking “at peace.” The repetition of slowed breathing, thinking “I am at peace,” left me feeling like jello. Despite the white noise or other sounds that came about, my mind was truly resting for the first time in forever. It is a feeling that is difficult to explain because of how at rest I felt.
The class continued with similar exercises and discussions about how the brain tends to run in every direction and greatly benefits from meditation. Things came to a close with a ceremony created with the intention of releasing what may have been heavy on our minds. We wrote down whatever was looming over our heads on small slips of paper. After lighting them in a candle, we released them, where they disappeared into thin air. The symbolic act of our everyday stresses being released, and not just disintegrating, but vanishing in thin air left everyone feeling like a weight had been lifted off their shoulders.
I had no idea that taking a moment for my brain to truly rest was so necessary. As important as eating right and exercising is, it is just as important for our brain to be at peace. It is easy for us to get caught up in what we want to accomplish or even what we want to make for dinner, but going about each day with a clear head will only help us grow further.
Be sure to stop by Studio 87 Yoga… and know that you will feel light and free as you walk out the door.