Teacher's Blog: 90 Minute Meditation? Are You Crazy? by Suzanne Szabo

That is exactly what I thought every time I heard the teacher say anything about a "90 minute meditation” in the beginning of class, usually during the pranayama breathing exercise.

My mind, already racing, was saying things like, “let’s get this breathing thing over with so I can get my sweat on,” or “can we please get this workout going - I need to stretch my back!” 

It took me a bit of practice to begin to make any sort of connection with the breathing exercise at the beginning of class, let alone any connection with the breath during class at all.

I am sure that I am not alone in this thought process.  In the beginning of my yoga journey, surviving a 90 minute class was my only goal.  Once I became proficient at survival, my focus moved to the poses themselves.  This focus on the physical movement and what each posture entailed consumed me for a very long time.  I had an idea of what I was trying to accomplish, how it should look, and that was the goal - to string 26 of them together for a "successful" class.

So, if any of that sounds familiar, know that you are not alone.  Give yourself the time and space that you need to get comfortable and feel confident about your practice.  When you reach the point that you have your “groove" know that this is where the fun really begins with your practice.   Sure, you will see benefits:  a few less inches, a healthier complexion, a quieter mind, to name a few.  That is really only the beginning.

Now, back to the breathing...

At some point, the breathing will resonate with you.  It might happen through one of the poses that you try to improve.  It may be an explanation from a teacher (Cristina’s belly on the chair demo).  Maybe it will be boredom that allows you to sense into a feeling that you derive from focusing on it.  Whatever it is for you, allow yourself to relax into it - feel what it it feels like to move the air in a controlled way.  You will look forward to the release that the pranayama breathing provides.

It will open up your body, and more importantly, it will open up your mind. Open it, relax it, and see what happens.

As your practice develops and evolves, allow yourself to appreciate the peaks and valleys, to appreciate your commitment and what this yoga brings to you.