You wouldn’t know it from attending one of her deep relaxation and mediation classes at Green Monkey, but Hilary Packin worked in the corporate world for years before she became an all around yogi. “Yoga was always the calm in the storm of the big business stuff.” So much so, that she eventually left stormy weather for clear skies and never looked back. “Yoga wound up replacing everything else.” Packin in now a full time yogi and meditation guru. As the official teacher for the city of Miami Beach as well as Green Monkey Miami veteran instructor, she passes on her energy to others daily and aides inspiring yogis and those looking to clear their mind to that next level of their inward journey.
“Meditation is all about creating a clear space rather than having clutter,” she says. In other words, think of it like cleaning your apartment, only you’re sitting down comfortably and sweeping your mind of all thoughts (both positive and negative). You might be thinking you barely have time to clean your apartment, let alone your mind, but Packin encourages beginners to make time, even if it’s just five minutes a day. “The health benefits are endless.” So how does one start? “It’s about not judging and simply sitting with whatever happens that day. Just making the commitment will make you feel better.”
Can you picture a day when you wake up in the morning and don’t brush your teeth? Probably not a great day to talk to people. Mediation, Packin says, is the same. “It’s all about fitting it into your routine. I do morning and night, but you don’t need to feel that you need to bite off more than you can chew.”
Simply put, don’t overthink it. The whole point of mediation is to quiet the mind, so just be. And let it get the most out of you and vice versa.
How? Try Packin’s tips:
Start small: Use a timer and commit to sit for a time you feel you can achieve. Even if it is as little as 3 or 5 minutes. Every few sessions as you build confidence, you can increase the period little by little.
Be comfortable: Set yourself up so there are minimal potential distractions. Find a calm space, wear comfortable clothing, sit in a comfortable way – and this doesn’t have to be cross legged! Sit tall and upright whether on the floor, on a cushion, in a sturdy chair or bench, on the sand facing the sea, etc. simply in a way you can maintain as effortlessly as possible.
Pick a technique: You might close your eyes or focus softly at a candle flame. A mantra or positive affirmation could be repeated silently while passing mala beads through your fingers. Mindfulness of long, calm breathing could be your focus. Work with a technique that helps you to keep your mind quiet. It is only natural for thoughts to press their way back into your mind. Each time you notice this, whether it is once in a while or once every second, simply return to your technique again and again allowing the thoughts to drift away.
Let it be: Whatever arises during your session, just let it flow it’s course. Thoughts might arise that surprise you. You may only muster just one fleeting moment of clear mindedness during your meditation. Emotions might surge. Perhaps you don’t feel anything at all. This is all part of the practice. Let this all remain just how it is, you need not judge it. In time, perhaps long or perhaps short, everything will reveal itself.
Stay regular: The more you practice, the more you will feel it’s effects flowing throughout your life. Setting a regular time and making it a part of your daily routine like brushing your teeth can help you to maintain consistency.
Embrace the ebbs and flows: Some days you might feel like you’ve had a breakthrough session. Other days, not so much. Sometimes, those not so much sessions can stack up and last for days. Weeks. Whatever it is, it is. The more you expect something out of your meditations, the longer it will take to reveal itself.
Create a safe space: A great way to help you accelerate you into that routine is a tiny corner in your apartment that you’ve made for meditation or a candle that signals the mind.
Try using props: Oils and aromatherapy are great. If you keep your chosen fragrance — I use a classic meditative blend that when I put that on signals my mind that it’s time to go into the meditative state. It’s the same thing as turning off the lights before going to sleep.
Just start: The biggest obstacle to meditation is too much thought. Just stop for a few moments and do it. Some days, you may only manage a few minutes in your car in a parking lot. That’s ok!