By Robin Tolkan-Doyle, Beauty Editor
Over the last few years I have dabbled with meditation, mainly to help alleviate the stress I deal with from running a business, a household, raising two teenagers, making sure my dogs are tended to, making sure my husband doesn’t think I’m ignoring him… you get the idea. At the end of the day, all these tasks are really just responsibilities, but when they pile on day after day, I have a tendency to let them stress me out. Meditation is supposed to help you refocus your mind, create a sense of calm, and learn how to not let the small stuff stress you out. It’s easy to say, not so easy to do. After a few minutes of attempting to shut out the world, my mind usually starts to wander as it makes organized and color coded mental lists of all the things I need to do once I get through my “meditation.”
On the days I feel extra burdened by the cross I chose to bear, I’ve caught a glimpse of myself as I passed by a mirror or reflective window and noticed how tense and unapproachable I actually look. Not only is the stress making me feel gross on the inside, but it’s also not doing any favors to my physical appearance either. All the potions and lotions in my beauty cabinet won’t remedy my stressed out and exhausted 40-something self. According to Yogmata Keiko Aikawa, that beauty secret comes from finding true inner peace from within.
Given the chance to interview Yogmata, about this very topic, I jumped at it. She is the first non-Indian woman to realize the ultimate state of Samadhi (the highest state of mental concentration that a person can achieve while still bound to the body), and only one of two Siddha Masters to appear in public to this day. (In case you don’t know what that means, it’s a big deal.)
Yogmata’s presence in the yoga and spiritual realm has been widely recognized by political figures worldwide for her blessings and messages of peace, love and unity, and has been featured on BBC, CNN, TV Asahi, and Reuters, to name a few. She has also performed 18 public Samadhis, most notably at the Maha Kumbh Mela, a festival held once every 144 years in India and attended by over 70 million people, including prominent celebrities and figures such as the Dalai Lama 14th, Madonna, and Paul McCartney.
If there’s anyone who could help me learn how to properly meditate while saving me a few dollars on anti-aging products, it’s Yogmata. Her teaching are truly enlightening, and if you follow them, they can act like a toxic-free dose of Botox.
How can meditation elevate your beauty routine?
Meditation is a practice that transforms a person into a virtuous and beautiful being. It is the process of organizing oneself and returning to one's original pure form. When your mind and body are purified, you become invigorated. You will also be awakened to cosmic love and your intrinsic beauty.
While we work so hard to live, it increases our ego, but it also stresses us out, and ages us faster. It makes the mind becomes stubborn and somewhat inflexible. If we continue to live in this way, we will lose our vitality and thus the beauty of our youth will also be lost. In order to live a beautiful life, we try to polish the outside. We carry beautiful things, wear beautiful clothes, and do various things to make our body lines beautiful. At first glance, this is beautiful, but if it goes too far, we become tired as it is not true beauty. It is not a beauty that brings comfort to us or others. It is merely a satisfaction of the mind, caught up in the act of dressing up. True beauty is about refining the inside. And to achieve this, it is better to live a meditative life.
How can meditation make you physically look better and younger?
Meditation has the power to rejuvenate you rapidly from the inside out. It makes your appearance better, younger and more beautiful.
We all have karma, the result of our past actions that are ingrained in our mind and body. Some karma makes you stubborn, obsessive, drains your energy and creates stress. There is no way to purify them and we just have to live with them as our destiny. But if we practice meditation or Himalayan Siddha meditation, which is my preference, we can be reborn as beautiful. And so, we will be younger. This meditation also relaxes the nerves and revives them, which makes you younger still.
It rejuvenates the whole body with life force. A person's energy is pure, undisturbed, balanced, and stable. You will be a person who shares peace with those around you. You will be loved by others. You will be trusted by others.
As you believe in yourself and the invisible essence, you will be able to live with cosmic love, vitality and wisdom beyond worry. If you practice Himalayan Siddha meditation, you can achieve true growth and true beauty.
Please explain what stress can do to your physical appearance.
Stress is a reaction to an external stimulus. The mind's reaction can be fear, frustration, sadness, impatience, and so on. Various emotions show up on your outer appearance while the experiences are engraved on the mind. When you look at a person from the outside, they can look tired. They may look fearful or cautious. They might seem tense and uncomfortable. Their face is not peaceful nor neat, and always radiates a confused energy
When we are faced with negative energy, we should accept it for what it is, trusting that everything is a learning experience. If we receive it with negativity, we will feel more and more stressed. Instead, we need to accept every encounter with gratitude. This will allow us to see the present moment with an unburdened peaceful mind.
How can someone incorporate meditation into their day if they’ve never done it before?
Meditation is a deep resting of the mind. Unconsciously, we are always trying to do something out of desire, or we are taking some action. We are scared to rest. Maybe we are afraid to take a break, in this competitive world, as we fear others will take our place.
We always worry about the future and are obsessed with the past. We are unable to rest. Even when we sleep, we toss and turn a lot and inside we are working in our dreams. It is necessary to rest and relax the body and mind deeply, and to be in the present moment. But due to accumulated habits of the mind, we are unable to rest.
The best way, though, to practice meditation is to follow the right teacher.
It is difficult, for some people, to continue meditation when they practice on their own. They often lose confidence and motivation and give up. Therefore, it is best to have an enlightened master in order to keep meditating.
Getting close to nature is also a good way to relax and rest your mind. Look at a river, green trees, the blue sky, etc. To relax the mind, you also have to release attachments of the mind. Selfless acts, such as volunteering, remove greed and lower your ego. It is also a good idea to practice doing nothing, for now anyway, until you feel comfortable with meditation.
When is the best time to meditate?
The most suitable time for meditation is in the morning. All activities have calmed down during the night and the morning is the quietest time. The body and mind are also more relaxed after a deep sleep, and it is easier to organize the inner world and enter deep silence through the sacred Himalayan Siddha meditation.
How long should you meditate?
For beginners, five minutes is good. If you meditate for too long, it can be frustrating and counterproductive. If you follow the guidance of a good teacher, you will be guided safely and can gradually extend the time. Sitting meditation is better as you will not fall asleep. If you meditate while straightening your spine, you are deeply relaxed but awake. You can cleanse well, perform a lot of maintenance and then purification can proceed. However, if you meditate lying down, your whole body relaxes; you will relax, but the purification will not proceed.
How can meditation make you feel less stressed and clear the clutter in your head?
In general, meditation is a way to relax the mind. But there are many ways to relax that are not meditation. Even if you enjoy working, spending time away from work is a way of relaxing. Doing what you love and playing without stress is another way to relax. You can get lost in all sorts of things. When we focus on doing fun things, we don't feel so tired compared to when doing things we dislike, however, we actually still use our mind and body and get tired.
Meditation creates a state of sitting in the here and now. It is all about being in the present, away from trying to see something, hear something, or do something. By not using your eyes to be in the present, you stop your mind from working through your eyes. By not using your ears, you stop your mind from being turned on and working by hearing words. Then your thoughts relax. As you walk around, you encounter various things and your thoughts work. When you stop going out, your mind becomes peaceful.
Can you recommend any readings/websites/apps to help with meditating?
I wrote a book called “The Road to Enlightenment”. This is a story of how I practiced and reached ultimate enlightenment in the Himalayas. I try to enlighten people and guide them on why they are not happy, why they are bored, why they are envious, and how to live a happy life.
It can help you evolve your consciousness, understand what kind of mind you should have, how to prepare yourself for daily life, and how to deal with the ego mind. By understanding the mind, you will be able to let go of it quickly without being attached and meditate. However, if you only read books and don't put them into practice, you will not be able to truly change.
What does your daily meditation schedule look like?
I meditate in the morning and at night. In the morning, it's easy to enter into meditation quickly in the silence. I don't want to miss that moment. If I start working on various tasks, I will be in work mode. Currently I have freedom to choose what I do. So, if I have urgent work to do, I give it priority. Then I do an evening meditation to release the fatigue of the day. I tell my students to do the same.
Photo Credits - Yogamata.com