Updated: Mar 12, 2021
Zephyr Wildman has been a Senior Yoga Teacher in London since 2002. She currently teaches at The Life Centre, yoga centres around London, privately, online platforms and at London-base treatment centres for addiction, depression and other dependency problems. As well as the physical side to yoga asana, she has a great interest in integrating psychology, yogic philosophy, and the attraction of self study within her practice, teaching and lifestyle. Zephyr continues studying with her main teachers drawing on their living wisdom of Yoga and passing those lessons on to her own students. She integrates the transformative teachings of Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Mary Taylor & Richard Freeman’s Ashtanga methods and Para Yoga – Rod Stryker in her teaching. She has also conducted workshops globally using Doug Keller’s “The Therapeutic Wisdom of Yoga” passing on these key teachings to her students. Zephyr is registered with Yoga Alliance US & UK as a 500 hour Yoga Teacher.
1- What advice would you give a novice meditation practitioner?
Meditation is different for each of us and how we prepare and find a meditative state will be very personal, however here are a few tips I can offer to someone who is new to meditation:
When practicing the goal is not just to clear the mind of all thoughts and stop thinking rather you should try to increase your capacity to recognize when thoughts are present.
Practice training your experience of conscious embodiment to rest in the present moment. This moment is the only time you truly can experience contentment, happiness, connection and awakening. To be present two things need to occur; to have the intention to be present and to turn the attention back to the present moment.
Try to train the body, breath and mind like a puppy to sit and stay. The mind-puppy will wander into the future and start planning your day, wander into the past and fix a problem of yesterday or fantasize about playing in the park with others. Try to devote a dedicated regular daily practice to lovingly train yourself like a puppy to sit and stay in the moment, building the mental capacity to rest in being, lessening the doing and awake to the truth revealed to us in moment-by-moment loving awareness.
2- What suggestions can you offer to a practitioner who finds it difficult to be still and sit quietly with themselves? for example a High School or College Student or people who prefer more athletic activity?
Sitting still in meditation is not the only way to practice. Walking, moving and sound meditations are extremely helpful for those who struggle. Having the intention to practice while in an activity and to be fully engaged with every movement, gesture and sensation becomes a delightful experience of embodied meditation. Instead of ‘doing’ meditation, let meditation ‘do’ you. Notice when the mind wanders, catching thinking and returning it to moment-by-moment awareness and fully celebrate the richness of wakeful experience. The goal is to place an emphasis and enthusiastically be fully present in what ever is happening. Breathe more fully, move more fully and awaken more fully to your embodied experience. Be here now!
3- Are there tools that can facilitate a practice of meditation such as mantra, breath, sound/music?
Yes, there are many tools to help the mind find it’s way back at home within its embodiment. Mantra is a great tool to protect and stabilize the mind in using the positive meaning of the words to redirect the mind to an open and receptive state. Working to consciously follow the inhale and exhale of your breath is also rewarding as the inhale pattern opens light, clarity and vitality to the experience and the exhale helps the cathartic letting go and letting be, to our experience. Using sound or nature or music to guide a journey into moment-by-moment awareness is also very beneficial. Try out many techniques and utilize their benefits to support you at different times of your life, situations and states of mind. Add to your ‘tool box’ of resources so you can bespoke your practice if and when you need to.
4- What advice do you have when boredom, apathy or self-judgment kick in during meditation practice?
Thoughts and feelings of boredom, apathy, self-judgement and fear are a part of our human experience. Gaining the tools to be able to recognize and acknowledge these thoughts and feelings and productively use those tools in a practice will provide more skill to take useful action with loving awareness. The continued practice of exploring different tools and observing different situations creates a mind/body and soul resilience to continue forward in our lives. Meditation is not about transcending and trying to bypass this body of thoughts, emotions and sensations, but rather a method help you fully occupy your embodiment in loving awareness.
The best technique I have been using recently is a practice I received from one of my teachers, Tara Brach. It is the practice of R.A.I.N. This is a practice to learn how to self-regulate when strong thoughts, emotions, sensations and events are present. To apply this, it is recommended to create time and space to pause and breathe, look in. R is to recognize and acknowledge what is present. The thoughts that might be ruminating, emotions that might be expressing and sensations that might be felt. This allows one to start to wake up to what need attention, what is asking for some understanding, to listen to. A is to allow whatever is to be. Give it some more breathing room. Whether negative or positive, unpleasant or pleasant to be just as it is. I is to then investigate further. What is it saying, asking for, how is it
manifesting in you, where? Taking a deep dive into the roots of what is present to
explore a deeper unmet need that is calling out and touching that vulnerability or
pain we open to the opportunity to nurture. N is to nurture with non-judgemental
awareness. To befriend the shadow side of humanity within us and relearn to love,
accept and care for all parts of ourselves.
So if you want to practice this, it is best to make time to sit and breathe. First work
with starting to name the feelings, hear the thoughts and words. Say I see you.
Create some breathing room and welcome the inflow to fill you with more loving
awareness as you explore the sensations that are tethered to what is being shown.
Ask yourself what does my heart long for? What is this pain asking me to accept?
How can I take care of myself? Then start nurturing what is exposed with kind
words and feel the meaning of the words like ‘I care’ ‘I am not leaving’ ‘you matter
to me’ ‘I hear you’ ‘this belongs’ ‘you are enough’ ‘I love you’. Find your own way in
self-soothing as you rest in the vast loving awareness, healing in the light of
presence and learning to trust and let go into the embrace of it. Moment by
moment, breath by breath.
5- Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I would recommend prioritizing a regular time of day to practice. The effort you devote to practice will be rewarded over time as you mature and deepen your experience of meditation. Over time, I have found that I have a kinder and more effective way to self-regulate strong thoughts and emotions that I have had to face which has gifted me resilience facing some of life’s greatest challenges. Looking back this self regulation has helped minimize the negative fallout to circumstances and feelings and given me more trust in the process of life as my journey continues. With a calmer and more stable mind I feel open and receptive to the world around me without the need to react, defend or fear it.
To connect with Zephyr and learn more about her practice visit: