Meditation: Early Lessons


The lessons learned over 10+ days of meditating (I was with the grampies last week, meditation wasn’t happening there) are less of the altered-world-view type, more practical.  But they’re still lessons.

  1. Brush your teeth before you start.  Morning dragon breath is a distraction when you’re doing deep exhalations.
  2. In a completely unshocking twist of events, sitting still with your eyes closed before 6am is difficult to do without falling asleep.  What IS surprising is the fact that if you can persevere and make it through a mere 10 minutes, you actually feel more awake when you open your eyes than you did when you started.
  3. Apparently mind exercise triggers the same physiological response as full body exercise because without fail, 3 minutes in, I will have to get up and run to take care of business.  Then come back and start over.  I need to figure out a system, like I did with running, so my morning sessions don’t take twice as long as they should.
  4. Breathing exercises (like simply counting your breaths–odds on the in breath, evens on the out breath, up to 10, then start over)  are very, very similar to doing hypoxic sets in swimming (breathing every 3/5/7 strokes) or getting into a breathing rhythm with running.  It makes it easier to focus without having to focus on focusing.  The thought centering just kind of happens.  And I like it.



Being back in California has been great.  Adjusting to this new life of part-time daycare, working from home, Paul always gone: less great.  I’ve struggled to get into a groove and spent a lot of the past four months feeling exceptionally tired and stressed, like I was spinning my wheels.

I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions, but there is something nice about the beginning of a new year and a clean start.  So I decided to step back and evaluate: what can I change?  Starting from the top…of the day.

Mornings, to me, have always set the tone for the rest of the day.  They are also one of the few windows during which I have time to myself.  And I get to choose how to use it.

In 2014 Paul started his intern year, and I started actually adhering to my own rule about not running in the dark alone (especially with a kid in tow).  This threw a monkey wrench into my previous schedule of early morning runs or swims.

So instead, I’ve been getting up around the time that Paul walks out the front door (at 4:45…yes, seriously, sucks to be him) and squeezing in some work before the Kraken arises.


It’s great because I get work done.  It sucks because by 7am I feel lazy and drained, have already spent over 2 hours staring at a screen, had 2 cups of coffee, and am usually still in my PJs.  Apparently 20 years of voluntarily subjecting myself to various forms of physical and psychological torture before the sun comes up is a special kind of masochistic behavior that is hard to de-program. Because slow mornings make me feel lethargic and crappy and like I want to go back to bed.  All day long.

So I started there.  I decided to change my mornings.

First up: movement.

Despite my contentious history with Lululemon, I’ve loved doing yoga the past few years (WHATTUP PEACOCK).  But I cannot afford to pay $15 per yoga class right now.

As someone who still can’t touch her toes, I’ve always been skeptical abut the value I would derive from instructional yoga DVDs.  But I decided if I was serious about this then I had to risk it.  So I sucked it up and spent $3 on the Pocket Yoga app.  Five different types of workouts, three options for duration, difficulty, and environment for each.  Good place to start.

Second: peace of mind.

My father has been on my case for years…YEARS (like almost a decade)…about meditating.  I know it wouldn’t hurt to slow down and be more mindful.  I also know that as soon as someone tells me I need to do something for my own good, I will refuse to do that thing.


After 7 years my father finally gave up on trying to convince me to meditate, so I finally started to seriously consider it.  But every time I actually tried to sit down and do it I had trouble starting.

Enter Headspace: the super hot meditation app that everyone and their mother is talking about.  10 minutes of guided meditation first thing in the morning.  Turns out the guidance, for me, is very helpful.  I’m still on the 10 day free trial, so we’ll see if I’m ready to buck up and pay money by the end of this.

SO!  New morning routine, as of last week:

  • Up by 5:30 (give myself that extra 45 min to sleep)
  • 10 min meditation
  • 30 min yoga
  • Shower, change, maybe coffee and news (depending on how long she sleeps)
  • Deal with Crazyface.

It’s not the normal cardio extravaganza that I’m used to, the risk that she will wake up and I won’t be able to do a complete yoga sesh exists (and has happened once), and I realize that an n of 7 is too low to reach any sort of real conclusion, but so far my days have been better.  I’m diggin it.

To be continued.