It’s a busy world we live in. Currently, people are trying to do more and be more than ever before in human history – and it’s taking its toll. Which is why Yoga Studio App felt the need to create something to make it easier for people to slow down, pause, breathe & simply be. That lead us to connecting with Carlye Cole, a yoga and meditation teacher from Boulder, CO – to create a series of meditations for app subscribers exclusively that helps to ease anxiety, erase worry and inspire fulfillment in the present moment. We chatted with Carlye about her meditation journey, and why she finds it so essential to our livelihoods:
Carlye Cole: I began my meditation journey about seven years ago when a teacher I really looked up to offered a series of introduction to meditation classes. Was meditation really just sitting with eyes closed and breathing? I was curious to know more and if there were other ways to meditate other than just being still and noticing my thoughts.
CC: I am a much calmer person because of meditation. Growing up I struggled with high anxiety (still a work in progress) and I didn't feel like there were ways to deal with this without dissolving all my problems. Of course, we can't make our problems disappear - but we can change how we respond to them - and meditation has helped me immensely with this. There has been a dramatic change for the better of my nervous system due to yoga and specifically meditation. Rather than take me away from my "problems" it allows me to work with them in a safe and non-judgemental way.
CC: My advice would be to first, start with guidance - whether that is with a teacher, or listening to guided meditations online. Secondly, you just need your body to meditate so practice everywhere - while you're in a waiting room, before you watch tv, after you're done working out at the gym - a few minutes is fine to just pause and notice. Finally, get into a rhythm where you can make it a part of your day or week in a space that is comfortable and (relatively) undisturbed. Through this you will eventually notice the effect meditation has on your whole being and how you engage in the world around you.
"When my mind is calm, my body is calm and it allows me to be more receptive to physical sensations and embrace rather than resist."
CC: Meditation has impacted my asana practice in the most important way: slowing down. When my mind is calm, my body is calm and it allows me to be more receptive to physical sensations and embrace rather than resist. Asana also compliments meditation by strengthening our spine and opening our hips so we don't feel pained as we sit - but don't be fooled, you can certainly meditate against a wall if sitting for a duration of time strains your back!
CC: At 18, I was drawn to yoga by a former dance teacher who introduced me to it and I thought it could help with my flexibility and back pain (it of course did). I could say that I was really inspired to share the practice of yoga to others right from the get-go which is why I took my first training, but truthfully at 21 I was looking for direction and thought teaching yoga could be an option for me. However, upon my first day of training I realized that being a teacher of yoga, you are taking on a form of practice that dates back thousands of years and just how special these teachings are. Teaching yoga has given me a strong sense of purpose, and being of service to others so they can learn about this practice and ultimately be their own teachers continues to inspire me to be a better teacher.
CC:The meditations I've created for YSA are all guided and revolve around an idea that most of us can relate to wanting to embrace more self-care and peacefulness or diminish anxiety/fear. Meditation is an opportunity to open up to whatever we're working with currently in a safe and neutral way rather than push and hide from it. And once these thoughts arise we can sit with them and not judge ourselves, but rather feel curious and nurture the gentle peace that is always existent within us.
Carlye is a 500hour E-RYT specialising in hatha, vinyasa, and yin yoga and meditation. After studying hatha yoga in Michigan and teaching in Taiwan, she went to Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga, to further her training and study before moving on to teach diverse and unique classes in Costa Rica, Michigan, and Colorado. Her work focuses on bringing students a holistic understanding of yoga while creating peaceful and positive experiences through her classes, workshops, retreats, and recorded meditations. Insta: @yogawithcarlye