Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you ~ John C. Maxwell
I didn’t feel up to doing Yoga With Adriene’s 33 minute Balancing Flow this morning, so instead I did a new video by Fightmaster Yoga – a 20 minute Morning Stretch . It was okay, but I wasn’t a huge fan of needing blocks (which i didn’t have at the time!) for the first pose (so I did my own thing), or a strap for the 2nd pose (so again I did the stretches without a strap which was fine), and the rest of it was just…okay. I did get a bit of a stretch, but i wouldn’t necessarily call it a suitable morning video (maybe it would be to some, but I just wasn’t feeling the ‘morning yoga’ vibe from it – at least not at just before 6am!).
I followed it with the Daily Calm meditation which talked about how tiny choices can add up to big changes in your life. If you just make one small change, and stick with it for the long term, them you will end up seeing big changes! Maybe that’s in your health (swapping out cream in your coffee for maybe the low calorie nut milks), or financially (not buying a Starbucks coffee one day a week), or in your relationships – if you leave the house in the morning without saying goodbye to your partner (who might still be in bed as is the case with me!) maybe leaving a goodbye, have a good day, love you note!
After work I’m going to do Yoga With Adriene’s Balancing Flow. But I wasn’t up for a vinyasa flow so early in the morning!
I worked on some assignments for Week 4 of the De-Mystifying Mindfulness Course. First the peer-reviewed assignment, which was to consider Commercialization of mindfulness.
The topic was: The relationship between commercialization and mindfulness is controversial. In this short reflection, you should spend some time formulating your own opinion on the ethics of commercial mindfulness, making use of reasoned argument and material from this module, but also balancing this with your own felt-sense of this relationship from your own experiences. Perhaps you believe that commercialization of mindfulness is a great way to assist and support people in their practice, or is a legitimate way to support productivity in corporations and businesses? Or perhaps you believe that commercialization exploits the vulnerable? Whatever your view, use this as an opportunity to make your case as persuasively as possible.
And here was my (rambling and ranting) answer:
I subscribe to Yoga Journal magazine – and about half of each issue is advertisements – yoga clothes, jewlery (malas etc), , health-foods, retreats in exotic places etc. And in this months’ issue, there were a few ads for new and re-designed meditation benches! (very fancy and futuristic looking and I’m sure also quite expensive). I’m all for popularizing mindfulness in order to bring awareness of mindfulness to more of the general public, so that they can learn to practice it and reap the benefits, but I have to say I am a little bit put off, (or even shall I say disgusted?) when I see all these tons of ads hawking their wares to the so-called ‘ethically minded’ population of yogis (and meditators in the same vein). It is verging on too much and too in your face. I subscribed to the magazine to advance my yoga practice and read some educational and enlightening articles, not to feel as if I’m being bombarded by sales people asking if they can help me the second I walk into a retail shop! (I HATE that!). I’m not all about needing to wear the fanciest yoga (or meditation in this case) clothes, or jewelry (though I DO want to get a mala necklace), or herbal supplements… I understand that these companies are jumping on the mindfulness trend in order to make money (and help their own businesses) but I feel it does take away just slightly from the whole mindfulness ethos. I get not wanting to practice in threadbare clothes, but do you really need to spend $100 on a pair of flashy pants?
I do agree that commercialization of mindfulness does allow for assisting/supporting people in their practice (like Prof. Goto-Jones said, if they want to buy a new cushion, or some mala beads to help with concentration, then that’s fine, if it helps your practice). But at the same time turning it into a fashion-trend of sorts, really bothers me. Or making ‘celebrities’ of mindfulness gurus (or yoga teachers). These people (in my opinion) shouldn’t be put on a pedestal (not even Ghandi or Thich Nhat Hahn! Yes, they do great work and spread a great message, but they are just people too). People will jump on the ‘bandwagon’ to look cool and trendy in jewelry and clothes, not actually taking into account (necessarily, I’m sure there are many people that do!), the actual spiritual or cultural meanings behind what they’re using (cultural appropriation perhaps?). It just kind of rubs me up the wrong way. Which is why I’m stopping my subscription to Yoga Journal once it ends (it was a Christmas gift last year).
If people are serious about mindfulness, they will explore it, and come across the commercialization of it in some form or another. And it’s not bad, as long as the intention behind it isn’t bad (in my opinion). If they’re (businesses) are just out to make money, I don’t agree with it. If they make money plus help with education about mindfulness perhaps, or maybe support some sort of charity or something, that’s another story. But jumping on the mindfulness bandwagon for capitalist reasons only seems entirely antithetical to the entire mindfulness ‘movement’ as it were!
Sorry, I feel I’m starting to rant here…but the commercialization of something that I find so personal and sacred just rubs me the wrong way (but that’s also not to say I’m entirely innocent myself – I have bought a new meditation cushion fairly recently (only because my old one wasn’t the best, and I do plan on buying a mala bead necklace to help with my practice – and they are available, so why not?).
Then I did the journal entry after this week’s meditation practice:
This week’s meditation was a 30 minute silent meditation with a bell. That was really tough, i have to say! Maybe because I was listening to it on my phone…and so got distracted about halfway through when a thought arose, and I stopped to look stuff up on my phone (bad, I know!). I found the 30 minute silent meditation very difficult. Usually I only do 10 minute silent meditations (if i do them at all), so this was a challenge. Mind you, really it was a 40 minute meditation, because I had done a 10 minute guided meditation just before it, and then I thought it would be a good time to continue with meditation (since I was alone in the house and it was quiet). Maybe if I hadn’t just already meditated for 10 minutes, the 30 minute silent one wouldn’t have been so challenging! I do enjoy the bells chiming in every so often to bring your mind back to the present if it has wandered off… but another thing I’ll do in the future is not to do any silent meditations with my phone (or at least have my phone far away from me and not right next to me as a temptation for distraction!)
At the moment, I am not a fan of silent meditation. I feel like I need to be DOING something (e.g. focusing on my breath, or doing a body scan, or counting my breath or paying attention to sounds), but just sitting in silence (with a bell to bring you back to the present moment) seems to FOREIGN to me. Maybe that’s why i’m so averse and struggle with it. But what is it that they say, that the thing you struggle with is what you need most? So I know I need to be patient and gentle and compassionate with myself, and not ‘run away’ from the silent meditation practice, and not be harsh on myself if I get distracted and ‘fail’.
I think it is probably one of the more powerful practices out there, if only I can manage to make peace with it and learn to just be with the practice, whatever it ends up being like. It’s funny, because I’m an introvert, and so you would think I would enjoy a silent practice, but I do prefer to have some object or something to help guide me (even just a few words here and there to lend me something to focus on). My goal is to continue with the silent practice until I make friends with it, as challenging as that might be (but it would definitely help me grow in practice.