I practice meditation because it allows me to sit slightly outside of myself and look in at what’s going on with me - mentally, emotionally and physically. I normally don’t try to get my mind to do anything other than what it’s doing. If my mind is whirring with excitement or worry then I may give it a helping hand to calm down by focusing my attention on breathing.
I try to sit for at least 10 minutes a day because it sometimes takes a good 5 minutes or so to settle into position and allow my mind to slowly settle, like sediment sinking in a glass of water. Once I’m settled I just watch. I try to observe without judging or responding to my mind’s activity, but sometimes that’s hard. When I sense my mind has drifted off, I bring it gently back into view and we repeat the watching - over and over. And really that’s it. I’ve rarely experienced a ‘clear’ mind, but a few times my mind has settled so much that all I can sense is my heart beat.
Despite the discomfort of moving through the urges to breathe, I always feel stilled after practising statics, just as I do in meditation. I’ve certainly learnt a lot about myself by meditating and freediving. I believe we can often reach mental and emotional stillness, and self-awareness, by going through discomfort than trying to avoid it.
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