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Rodney Yee Answers 5 Beginner's Meditation FAQs
Gaiam: In your second book Moving Toward Balance, you highlight two meditation poses: hero pose and seated crossed-legs pose. Why are these good poses for beginners?
Rodney: I picked these two poses because you can prop them up to many, many levels. These facilitate movement of energy in the body. You get a lot of grounding just by doing them. There's already a connection to the earth that you don't get in a chair.
It sets up a neurological pattern in the legs in relation to the spine. Full lotus is the ideal pose to meditate in, but it's not accessible to everyone.
Why is it so hard for people to sit still?
We're so used to avoiding anything that comes up. A lot of us are not used to the physical sensations that come up. We're not used to some of the thought patterns that come up by not staying constantly stimulated. We keep needing to be more and more stimulated all the time. We want some kind of orgasmic feeling all the time. Isn't there something ridiculous about that? We're going to "adrenalate" ourselves right out of our bodies. Let's go subtle.
Meditation is the gateway to returning to some of the simple qualities of life. We're still convinced that more is better. One of the best ways to ice-pick away at that philosophy is meditation.
What advice do you have for beginners to feel more comfortable with the idea of sitting quietly with themselves?
Starting in small increments is important — 15 minutes is good — and sitting with another person really makes it a fun thing. So do have partners. Do it daily. Save the same time every day for it. Then you might have a good possibility of sustaining it.
What do you think about walking meditation?
Most of us can meditate while walking, but it's a more advanced form of meditation. It's a less optimal form than seated meditation. Of course, for someone who can't sit still, maybe walking would be better. Ideally, you want to teach people how to sit quietly, because they will have the best benefit from that.
How can I keep my mind "empty"? Thoughts come in constantly when I try to meditate — what's the best way to keep them out?
Meditating is a silent way of looking at resistance; it's not necessarily silent inside, but basically you're sitting with the resistance. You're not running away from it — you're sitting with it, you're stewing in it, you're fidgeting with it, but basically you're trying to follow the resistance. And I think that's very interesting. You might have your own little conversation inside your head about it, like, "There I go again, I'm thinking about what I did yesterday, and I'm supposed to be just sitting here and watching my breath." You have your own little conversations in your head, but after a while in meditation you are bringing yourself back to now.
And if you feel resistance, just feel the resistance. It doesn't mean you have to go anywhere with it. It's not necessarily something you have to figure out. But if the resistance is rising inside you, you really have no choice but to be with it, in some sense, until it resolves or dissolves in its own right. And sometimes you have nothing to do with it resolving or dissolving. But to live it, to be in it, is a profound thing.