adore yoga blog

Does this sound familiar: you really, really want to meditate. But within seconds of sitting still, your mind’s a riot of buzzing thoughts. You love the idea of meditation, but it just isn’t working for you. Why?


Let’s ask that question another way. When did you last enjoy a refreshing cup of tea without going through the ritual of boiling the kettle, putting the tea in the cup (or pot) and pouring the hot water on the tea?


It’s the ritual of preparing the tea that makes drinking the brew both possible and pleasurable. Now think about the way you approach meditation. Do you just sit down, close your eyes and jump straight in? It could be that lack of preparation is sabotaging your practice.


Don’t just sit there.


After more than 20 years of practice, I still find it very difficult to simply sit still and meditation. So I don’t.


It took me a long time to figure out how to meditate without being driven crazy by my own restless mind. Here’s the secret – use all eight limbs of yoga to prepare. If you’re not practicing all of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs (or you don’t know what that means), it’s about to change how you meditate forever.


The ancient text, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, forms the foundation for the yoga we practice in the west today. Patanjali knew a thing or two about human nature. His observations of our busy brains and ability to delude ourselves are as true today as they were when he wrote them nearly 2,000yrs ago. He used his deep understanding of the human mind to create a road map to help us to let go of the things that cause suffering and move towards a state of yogic bliss.


Patanjali makes it very clear that yoga has eight components, or ‘limbs’, and we need to engage with all of them if we want to enjoy the benefits of practice. Deep meditation comes right down the bottom of Patanjali’s list, suggesting that there are a few things we need to cover before sitting down to silent contemplation.


Patanjali’s ‘road-map forms the basis of my own meditation practice and is at the heart of all the meditation courses and trainings at Adore Yoga. It looks like this:


  • Yama – 5 guidelines for living in harmony with others
  • Niyama – 5 guidelines for living in harmony with yourself
  • Asana – physical postures
  • Pranayama – breathing techniques
  • Pratyahara – how to avoid things that are distracting you from concentrating
  • Dharana – learning to focus the mind 
  • Dhyana – deep concentration
  • Samadhi – the state of bliss that arises with deep meditation


Following the Eight Limbs perfectly prepare your body and mind to experience the bliss that arrives when the mind settles. I went to an audience with a high Tibetan lama once and was amazed to hear his followers describing how he’d broken his hip due to long hours sitting in mediation. I couldn’t figure out how that could be a good thing – if the body isn’t comfortable, that can only add to the many distractions that get in the way of meditating.


Yoga embraces the WHOLE being.  When you mindfully practice yoga, including movement, sound and breathing practices, you start to relax muscle tension, calm the nervous system and settle the mind. All the things that make meditating possible.


Don’t forget the first two limbs, the Yamas and Niyamas. These are guidelines for living a good life, teaching us ways of thinking and acting that reduce conflict – both internally and with those around us. Sitting in meditation is much easier when your mind is clear of the stories that arise when we are not living in harmony with ourselves and our community. You can learn more about the Yamas and Niyamas in this blogpost.


If you're a beginner and want to make meditating easier, my advice is ‘don’t sit still’. Well, not at first. Learn how to prepare yourself to sit comfortably using all Eight Limbs of yoga and you’ll discover how much more pleasurable meditation can be.

Nikola Ellis is the founder of Adore Yoga, yoga therapist, counselor and teacher trainer. She conducts regular Meditation Facilitator Certificate Trainings for people who want to share meditation with clients, friends and students. She also offers Level 1 200hr Teacher Training;  150hr Post Graduate Yoga Teacher Training in Mental Health, Adaptive Asana and Yoga Therapy and a highly regarded professional 650hr Graduate Certificate of Yoga Therapy. Got a question about yoga or ayurveda? Ask Nikola here.  

Comments through Facebook

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.


Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Subscribe by email

Like us on Facebook


heart health meditation for beginners yoga alliance yoga therapy Yoga of the mind cancer council Seane Corn Yin Yoga adore yoga in mosman Spring Yoga Intensive cancer survivor yoga new to yoga body image yoga for bigger bodies Autumn yoga yoga detox retreat beginners yoga guided meditation Teacher Training yoga for women yoga therapy australia Summer Yoga Belinda Gurd Asthma yoga cardiovascular meditation for children Self Acceptance Reiki yoga chain beauty yoga retreat india Pranayama Photography teaching bali yoga retreat savouring people yoga alliance A Sound Life yoga manifesto Yoga Reach Anorexia creativity Head massage counselling Yoga for bulimia Balance hayfever yoga guide Manipura chakra Level 1 yoga teacher training Pink Yoga yoga classes Brook McCarthy Yoga day retreat yoga for winter Sukha yoga 4 cancer happiness Level 2 Yoga Generosity yoga Fresh Start Retreat Therapeutic yoga yoga therapy accreditation Mastectomy community yoga Student yoga teacher recipes Guinness World Record daintree yoga body image shitali Jala neti allergies yoga competition feminism easy meditation Tropical yoga retreat January yoga retreat chakras detox retreat emotions Yoga relaxation Weekend yoga retreat curvy yoga yoga in Bali Yoga workshop Transform your life meditation teacher teaching yoga savoring Yoga routine yoga for cancer yoga commodification making yoga accessible become a yoga teacher India yoga for older students Metta Meditation KYM Philosophy insomnia Edo and Jo yoga teacher Yoga inspiration Start yoga Yang yoga Bali Paradise Retreat yoga for over 50 Capturing Gratitude World's Longest Yoga Chain samtosa niyamas guided relaxation life change yoga modifications October yoga retreat 200 hour yoga teacher training yoga student profile yoga teacher training sydney santosha Maurice Eberlein Meditation Teacher Training CCNSW India yoga retreat chanting Yoga in Paradise kids meditation Bali yoga mosman yoga negative body image Eating disorders Relaxation learn to teach yoga yoga in nepal yoga for men Yoga and Money back pain, yoga for back pain Niyama yoga styles Trikonasana yoga cleansing advanced yoga teacher training Ahimsa yoga therapy training yoga lifestyle patanjali Love cardiovascular disease Yoga for anorexia yoga for eating disorders asana city yoga retreat learn yoga yoga for trekking yoga in mosman Ayurveda yoga detox Lucy Proud cancer yoga Marianne Elliot breast cancer women's cancers yoga alliance guidelines Sarah Powers shatkarma new yoga teacher anger KHYF men's yoga Frittata Loving kindness meditation July yoga bali Compassion cooling yoga Mindfulness yoga therapists yoga therapy psychology how to become a yoga therapist yoga philosophy yoga e-book Gratitude kids relaxation pancha kosha daintree rainforest Dr. NC yoga and body image Koshas Adore Yoga Teachers holiday yoga classes consumer capitalism meditation Rachel Zinman adore yoga retreat yoga for over 40 spring yoga unyogic pink ribbon yoga Sthira cleansing yoga yoga christmas yoga asana try yoga contentment yoga for mums Valentines yoga yoga, sleep, insomnia meditation made easy Yoga retreat NSW Warrior 2 Nikola Ellis detox yoga retreat yoga teachers kausthub desikachar Seva Elizabeth Armstrong relaxation for children Dharma detox Yoga poses Yoga Nidra yoga retreat Pizhichil ayurvedic massage yoga and body image coalition Villa Boreh detox yoga Adore Yoga Angelina Jolie stress anxiety AG Mohan yoga and alcohol birthday yoga teaching meditation Bhakti Yoga yoga blog yoga for heart day retreat Yoga for Spring Insight Yoga yoga for asthma massage in india learning meditation Yama healthy eating Sydney yoga retreat Sarah Corbett 2014 500 hour yoga teacher training yoga injuries Feminist yoga Off The Mat intermediate yoga Lauren Tober yoga cleanse mosman blog ageing yogi Yoga Gives Back Eve Grzybowski mature age yoga anti ageing yoga Festival of Mosman Queensland yoga retreat Yoga teacher training anti ageing yoga practice Yoga journal one on one yoga Yoga retreat sydney Mentoring yoga instructor autumn recipes New years resolution sitali yoga for sleep private yoga class Feminist soup Ali Dear neti