When did you first experience meditation?
I don't recall my first experience specifically, but I remember the period where it became a part of my practice quite accidentally. I was lucky to have teachers who prioritized it in class, but also made it accessible by never labeling it as such.
Like a great teacher of any subject, one is often most effective by making it fun and sliding the lesson in after the experience.
Physical yoga is a gateway drug to mindfulness. It is unfortunate how many yoga studios today don't offer classes beyond the physical so that students can grow their practice once they discover its potential depths.
What changes or shifts did you see in your life from your new practice?
I craved more of it. I sought it out. I looked for teachers and experiences that might take me further on my journey. Meditation is as much muscle memory as riding a bike. Once one gets a sense of what it can be like, the door is open to try more.
It also had an impact on the people I chose to surround myself with. We are naturally predisposed to seek out and belong to tribes of like-minded people. As your own emotional intelligence develops, the mirrors around you become cleaner.
"As your own emotional intelligence develops, the mirrors around you become cleaner."
How did you deepen your meditation and mindfulness practice?
I have attended a 10-day Vipassana, spent time practicing in an ashram in India, and experimented with different styles and offerings.
However my greatest leap in my practice came from teaching meditation. In order to teach any subject adequately, we need to be able to break it down into its simplest terms for beginners, while at the same time holding space and encouraging progress for more advanced students.
Do you have any 'funny' meditation stories or reflections on your journey so far?
I taught a Sunday morning meditation class in Yaletown for 2 years. The regular students were so open to experimentation that the practice became play. Sometimes we would practice "throwing" colours at each other during our mediation.
After mediation we would go around the room and discuss everyone's experience that day. On several occasions someone would report seeing endless amounts of a particular colour, only to have the person across from them admit with a giggle that they were sending them that colour during the meditation.
These meditation paintball fights created an environment where we evolved our practice as a group, and were eager to sit, and play, together each week.
Chris Brandt is the Executive Director at Music Heals, BCIT Music Business professor, and a RYT-200 who teaches Meditation, Yin, and Contact Partner Yoga.
Connect with Chris on Twitter, Instagram, or go catch a class!