As we go about our day-to-days, our bodies and minds are often wandering and disconnected souls from reality. Kotte Aguilar, founder of Yoga by Kotte (YBK) explains this concept further by saying that "we are living here but we are disconnected from there. Being grounded is not the eerie-fairy stuff. Being grounded is about being here, in the present moment." The distinction between mind, body and soul are seperate arenas but one must align all three for contentment; meditation can aid that. Because "that disconnection causes a lot of unnecessary suffering" Kotte reveals.
“Hummmmmm…” is always the noise associated with the stereotypical meditator. Someone doing meditation would most probably have their legs crossed, be sitting under a tree and be intermittently sipping on a kombucha when they have time to come back into the conscious realm. Meditation has always had this exclusive feel to it, as if it was this elitist spiritual realm that you could only get to if you had met your Guru and had enough money to get yourself to their ashram in India. However, that is not the case. Meditating is defined as focusing one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation. So yes, that stereotype has been derived from the type of meditation that the media has wanted you to see. But now meditation is becoming more integrated in a lot of people’s lives. And for good reason too!
Originally from Chile, Kotte Aguilar travelled to New Zealand in 2008. Kotte is the founder of Yoga by Kotte (YBK) which “enriches people’s lives providing quality creative and accessible yoga for everybody.” It is Kotte’s vision to provide “yoga, mindfulness, mediation and public speaking in a fun and engaging way." Kotte has gained many qualifications over her practicing years such as the ‘Power Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training’, the ‘Meditation, Mindfulness & Yin Yoga Contemplative Wellness & Education’ certificate and she has even been a TEDxYouth Speaker, not once but twice! Kotte kindly shared with Born In 2000 her personal journey with meditation, how it has aided her and how it may benefit you if you give it a go.
Retrieving the mentioning of disconnect, Kotte poses the following questions: "where is your mind? Where is it when you are brushing your teeth?" Thoughts that one would not necessarily even consider thinking about, how "meta" right? But it is so important because of how out of tune we are with our conscious minds that you would not even think about comprehending them in the first place. "When I was about 21 or 22, I was really unwell mentally and physically. A friend of mine told to me to try yoga. I was like "no" because I had tried it before and thought it was a bit of a weird experience" says Kotte. However, Kotte tried again and thankfully she did. "From the yoga, it triggered the meditation because it was the first time I experienced concentration in my entire" Kotte shares. "I was like how had no one ever shared this with me before? This is important. I have never felt my body or breath in a conscious way before" she says.
Meditation, no matter what state you are currently in, has the capacity to aid your being. Kotte explains that "you never really change your life when everything is great. You don't go like "I love my boyfriend and I love my job so I am going to get a new boyfriend and a new job!" It is always when things go wrong. Everything had to go wrong for me to discover meditation."
A 2018 study conducted by Harvard researchers revealed how meditation helps you focus. The study showed that “our minds are lost in thought 47% of the time.” Through meditation, you can change the structure and function of the brain. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can increase focus and learning concentration, improve memory and attention span, build a stronger immune system and allow you to have better sleep.
The practice of meditation has historically been deeply rooted in the religious and spiritual context, dating back to 5,000 BCE according to some archaeologists. Meditation still remains in spiritual practice, but now it is moving towards the mainstream. One of the biggest reasons is because of mental health and the modern push to improve it. “We don’t have any practice for our mind. We have endless things to do to look after our body and physical health. When it comes to mental health, all we think about is depression and anxiety” Kotte declares. It is bizarre as Kotte explains that “mental health is the health of the mind and everyone has it. Maybe for me, it is a question to the system: why do we have so many resources for physical health and not for mental health?”
"If you don't have control, then you will lose control and you will leave your mind and be consumed by your mind" Kotte shares. She also illustrates our lack of mental tools, "we don't have tools and it is about having control or some level of control. What meditation gives you is awareness and when you are aware, you are starting to change your life because you are going to start treating yourself and others differently."
I was interested in asking Kotte about how she thought meditation may specifically benefit the Western world as it is a Eastern-derived practice. "The whole world can learn from meditation" Kotte answered. "Being in New Zealand for 12 years since I was 18, I have experienced my whole adult life in New Zealand. The New Zealand culture is a culture that is very reserved. We are fine stepping back, we don't mind and that's okay. But I think that it is impacting our mental health. When it comes to mental health issues, sometimes we are so reserved that we don't know even who to talk to. Even with our friends, we can't tell them if we are having intrusive thoughts. We step back and suppress ourselves because we don't want to be that person to create conflict" Kotte shared.
"If you are aware of who you are and how you behave, you can change" Kotte explains, "in the Western world, we don't know ourselves and we don't know where to start." That is where meditation comes in. "Meditation is a mirror, every time it shows me where I'm at. It shows me what I feel, what I am facing, what I am ashamed of and that is okay because that is how I can work with it" Kotte says.
So after all, meditation is not this elitist, spiritual realm that I alluded to in the beginning of this blog post. It is concentration and awareness. You should start or do more meditation today with no accompanied cost apart from the cost of furthering the disconnect from yourself. Doing meditation is worth way more than not doing it. "Start small, 2 or 5 minutes to be mindful. There are really good resources out there: download an app! YouTube has endless resources out there for free meditations" Kotte explains. Personally, every morning before getting out of bed I have implemented meditation into my daily routine (most mornings that is, mind you). 5 minute meditations on Spotify by Lauren Gomola or anything on YouTube works. Or you could even get involved with Kotte's guided yoga and meditation practices. Find more information about Yoga by Kotte on yogabykotte.com. Meditation is connected to everything, Kotte affirms that "once you understand that concentration is meditation, you can apply it to anything."
Thank you so much for reading! If you have any further questions based on this blog post or anything else in regards to this blog, be sure to get in contact with me through this website or through the blog's Instagram linked below.
~ Link for previous blog post: https://www.madein2000.com/post/45-body-ody-image
~ Link to 'Yoga by Kotte': https://yogabykotte.com/
~ Link to 'Born In 2000' instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellawasbornin2000/
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This blog will encompass the life of a 20-year-old kiwi chica. Composed of stories, advice, life lessons, worldly observations and whatever else Ella's life brings to surface. For all of this and more, read my new found blog 'Born In 2000': established on the 28th of October, 2019. Where Ella Gibson explores her life that exceeds all limitations. Publications should be expected once a week. Also, be sure to take this present moment now and rock it!