Updated: Mar 12
I have been meditating every day for one year this month (I did miss a few days here and there but very few). I started meditating, as in sitting down and observing my thought patterns, back in 2008 when I was living in NYC. The yoga school where I took my very first yoga training is also an ashram, which means they offer (I assumed they still do) sessions of meditation open to the public every day. During my time in NY I would attend those sessions whenever possible. Each meditation would last 30 mins and would always start with some pranayama followed by 20-25mins of silent meditation.
As much as I enjoyed it and could see how helpful it was, I was not strict in my practice of meditation; I would go weeks on end regularly meditating and then stop for weeks on end. I didn't stop because I was bored with it or was too busy, it just happened, and I let myself go with whichever flow I was in. Sometimes it was daily meditation, and sometimes it wasn't. I would also like to add that I find swimming as well as reading or being creative or practising yoga (obviously) to be super meditative so, even if I wasn't practising seated meditation, I was still engaging in activities which gave me similar results.
I'm not sure what changed for me last January, but I know I couldn't imagine starting my day without breathing practices and meditation now. I think what shifted is that I needed perspective from what was happening in my life at the time and, rather than stepping back, I stepped into myself. At first, I would sit in silence for whatever period of time, sometimes 10 mins, sometimes 40. I didn't time it to begin with. Then my practice evolved gradually and continues to. Last June I started to add pranayama before meditation and a month after that I began to focus my meditation on the chakras. Now my morning routine is 30 mins of breathing and 30 mins of meditation (each day focusing on a specific chakra while using various meditation techniques) and, as of 3 weeks ago, I have gone back to timing it so that I sit for 30 mins.
This routine may change again as I discover more about myself, but I love that this process happened organically for me and that it is now so consistent. The one hour I spent with myself every morning is magical. It's not always peaceful, and it's ok. I have moments of being overwhelmed and agitated, other times I am overwhelmed by a deep sense of inner peace and the sensation of being infinite, not bound by my physical body. Neither of those mental states last, but I find myself to be calmer and more content with the ups and down of who I am outside those 60 mins, so I guess that's something.