Jane Lee, a certified yoga teacher, shares her personal experience with practicing yoga and meditation for 18+ years.
– By Munira Yusuf –
- Can you tell us about yourself and what inspired you to teach mindfulness meditation?
A couple of years ago, I was blindsided by an unexpected colon cancer diagnosis while pursuing fertility treatments trying to have a second child, and that gave me the jolt I needed to re-examine my life. I had been dealing with years of infertility and dissatisfaction in my corporate career, and as I recovered physically, the daily meditation practice I cultivated helped me to heal on even deeper levels. Once I was cleared to go back to my corporate job, I decided to quit as I knew it wasn’t where I was meant to be. Meditation has been pivotal in my healing process, and I simply wanted to share the practice with others. I teach yoga, meditation, offer life coaching, and am writing my first book. I’ve taught yoga for over 8 years and have a personal yoga & meditation practice of 18+ years.
- Can you explain the purpose of mindfulness meditation and its importance in everyday life?
Mindfulness meditation brings you into the present moment, to become more aware and non-judgmental. It helps you to tune into yourself, to connect. It is normal for our minds to wander; however, we often cause ourselves unnecessary harm when we stress about the past or worry
about the future. When we are constantly stressed, anxious or worried, our bodies are expending more energy reacting to the stress and less on our immune system, which can make us more susceptible to illness and disease. Mindfulness meditation helps to bring us back to the present moment and focus on what we can control.
- What type of meditation would you suggest for the average person and for front line workers in particular?
I always encourage people to try different kinds of meditation and see what resonates with them, what feels best. Breathing exercises can be a great way to start practicing meditation because your breath is always with you, it’s always accessible. I have a free Intro to Meditation Guide on my website PureLeeJane.com that walks through three different meditations – breath, body scan, and heart-centered. Another suggestion is to practice being more present and mindful in daily activities, like when you brush your teeth, shower, or eat.
- What are the misconceptions that people may believe about meditation?
Some people think that meditation is religious, or it’s about stopping your thoughts, or they can’t do it because their mind is always racing. Meditation is not religious. It is open to everyone and for everyone. It is not about stopping your thoughts or not thinking, but instead about focusing on something – your breath, an image, a mantra, a body part, a feeling, etc., and allowing your mind to relax in awareness. And it is normal for your mind to wander when you start meditating – don’t worry or put yourself down – simply let go of the thought your mind wandered to and bring it back to your object of focus, it is all part of your practice.
- The SJT community is located downtown which is often surrounded by noise pollution and limited green space. Is there an ideal setting for individuals to practice mindfulness meditation?
You can be mindful and practice meditation in any setting. You don’t need any special equipment or space. When you’re just getting started, it may be helpful to be in a quiet space where you’re undisturbed, but it is not absolutely necessary. I’ve practiced meditation on the subway, in a bus, with my daughter running around me, walking down the street, and also in a quiet space by myself. Don’t worry about waiting for an ideal time, setting or space, just give it a try.