When I walked into the MNDFL meditation studio (frazzled and almost late, of course) I was immediately calmed by the zen atmosphere of the small area. There was light music playing but it didn’t annoy me like elevator music usually did. The receptionist directed me to my class – meditation about emotions, ugh – in a relaxed voice almost brought down to a whisper, and naturally I responded back to her in whisper form by default. The room was spacious with circle and square cushions arranged in a semi circle facing the coach and I plopped down on a square, careful not to disturb anyone around me.
Our instructor explained that at today’s session we would be focusing on our emotions and how they physically make our bodies feel. She said we would be able to separate the mental feeling of an emotion from a physical one by paying special attention to our breaths and the movement it causes within our bodies. First, I focused on my breathing. I noticed how the air entered in through my nostrils, the cold sensation that filled my throat, and the contraction of my chest and stomach. The body does crazy things when we think about it!
Now came the hard part. I identified some emotions that were swirling around in my mind for the past few days. Stress, lust, accomplishment, security, confliction, confusion. Quite the variety if I do say so myself. I searched even further back and thought about everything that had happened over the past few weeks. And then the most amazing thing happened. I put those emotions in a mental box. Like an imaginary luggage. It was overflowing so I mentally sat on it until I was able to mentally zip it. And once I zipped it it felt pretty damn good. For the next half hour, all of those emotions would be completely out of my mind and shoved in a closet far far away. I felt completely free, and I noticed that my breaths were getting longer and deeper. Was I… relaxed?!
The next half hour flew by. I’m not sure if I was sleeping or in an altered state of consciousness but the minutes felt like seconds. And I’m not saying it was easy by any means, in fact it was incredibly difficult. But any time any of my stressful thoughts crept their way back into my brain, I just found another piece of luggage and zipped them right back up. The best part about this meditation class was that it could literally be done at any place at any time. No one will even know you’re doing it. Maybe I’m even doing it right now and you have no idea. That’s the beauty of it. This silent exercise is my new go-to workout, because it’s just as important to work out your mind as it is your body.
Hannah Jacobs, newfound wellness enthusiast, is spending her summer trying a variety of fitness & wellness firsts. She will return every Friday to share her experiences and insights.