HOW TO START (OR CONTINUE) YOUR MEDITATION PRACTICE
THE MIRACLE OF MEDITATION
First, let’s point out some facts about meditation. Yes, you have time for it, you just need to start making it a priority in your life! Yes, meditation is for everybody! Yes, I believe you can at least try to sit still for one minute to meditate! This practice will be beneficial towards your life to boost your health and happiness in your life!
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
Meditation is a practice that will quiet your mind to align to your higher self. Meditation consists of mindful attention, open awareness, and lovingkindness. This opportunity to concentrate and relax allows time for self reflection, self awareness, and continued insight to growth in your life. It opens up space to acknowledge your hopes and dreams. It provides space to create abundance in your life.
Meditation provides a foundation that offers bountiful benefits from a kind, consistent, and gentle practice. If you are looking to enhance your productivity, ground your body, calm your mind, gain inner peace and clarity, reduce anxiety, lower your blood pressure, increase your self-awareness, help your insomnia, rejuvenate your soul, increase your spiritual connection, or increase your joy and happiness in life, then meditation is for you!
I will warn you, a love for meditation does not happen overnight. It takes weeks of consistent practice to be able to reap the benefits of a meditation practice. A couple podcasts I listened to mentioned that you need nine minutes of meditation a day for it to rewire your brain, and thirty consistent days of practice to reap the benefits of a meditation practice.
Three years ago when I started meditation, I was doing it with my boyfriend as he was enrolled in a mindfulness class through Children’s Mercy Hospital. I could not attend class every Thursday night, so I participated in the homework and at home guided meditations.
I remember the early days of listening to meditation while I was on my back, closing my eyes, turning inward, and then wondering “if I was doing it right.” Let me just say this straight out of the gate: as long as you are trying to meditate and carving out time for it, you are doing it. You are mediating! Then one day, it completely transformed my life. I aligned! I entered a flow state that I had never been to before. Everything was brighter, clearer, happier, and I would say that I was in a blissed out state of mind. My life was transformed just from closing my eyes and tuning into my breath. I had entered a new chapter of my life, and I knew that I would never be able to live without mediation again.
The first couple times I entered this ultimate-pleasant-state-of-mind, it is so hard to explain to others, especially those who either do not believe in meditation or not have a meditation practice. However, once you have a consistent meditation practice, you learn that no one else’s opinion matters because the connection you cultivate is much greater than you will ever be able to put to words. Each meditation is different and you learn not to become attached to certain feelings that meditation will bring, since every day is different. Just remember, your subconscious understands this on a deeper level than I will ever be able to explain. Trust the process.
HOW DO YOU MEDITATE?
Step 1: Download insight timer. It is my all time favorite meditation application; it’s free, helpful, and I have found many teachers I loved over the past year of use from it.
I love how insight timer allows you to either set a time for yourself, or choose from thousands of guided meditations and talks from wonderfully knowledgeable souls around the world. It’s transformative and it’s free; a win win. I will be referencing guided meditations and talks from this application.
Step 2: Pick your meditation. For beginners, I highly recommend having someone guide you through a meditation. If you choose to meditate by yourself, then start with being able to count ten inhales and exhales without distraction. All you have to do is focus on your breath coming into your body from your pelvic floor and out of your body through the crown of your head. When you find your mind wander away from your breath, start over from one to get to ten. Once you have completed ten breaths without interruption or distraction, then you can move on to adding more breaths to this.
I have included a list of my five favorite guided meditations and talks from insight timer. You can also follow me on insight timer to see what my mediation practice looks like day to day.
Step 3: Sit in a comfortable position. This can be a chair, on a mediation cushion, on top of pillows, or on a bench. The key is to be in a sitting position that elongates your spine. Please refrain from lying on your back, unless you are using yoga nidra to help you get to sleep.
Pro Tip: I started meditating lying down, as I thought this would suffice for practice. However, I learned the hard way after falling asleep too many times to count, that lying down is not the best way to practice meditating. My boyfriend gave me a meditation cushion for our anniversary this past year, and I absolutely love it! If you are not at that stage of your practice yet, then I recommend sitting on a pillow or two — whatever feels the most comfortable for you. Sometimes my bum or knees can hurt when I’m on the ground for an extended amount of time meditating! However, do what feels best for your body, as I am only here to guide you!
Step 4: Sit up as tall as you possibly can, without letting your ribs expand out, tuck those suckers in! Imagine a line of energy starting from your pelvic floor and shooting up through your spine out the crown of your head. Do you see the energy? Do you feel it? Feel your collarbones spread open, and slightly tuck your chin. Your heart is now open and ready to either receive or ground down. Feel tall, strong, and confident in your body.
Step 5: Find your guided meditation, or pick your own duration, interval bells, ambient sound, and/or ending bell under “timer” on your insight timer application. Press play, and tune in to your Ujjayi breath!
MY 5 MEDITATION TIPS
1. Start small. Meditating for five minutes a day is better than meditating for 35 minutes once a week!
2. Meditate in a quiet place.
3. Listen to the sound of your breath. Gently seal your lips. Tune into noticing your inhales. Start to control your exhales.
Energy Tip: Two ways to receive energy include resting your palms up, on your thighs, or placing your palms down to ground down. You can also place your hands over your ears and listen to the sound of the ocean rolling in and out, all due to your slow and controlled breathing technique!
4. Be kind, consistent, and gentle to yourself throughout your mediation practice.
5. If you find your mind wandering, try my favorite technique of saying in your head “inhale for 1….2….3….4…. *pause,* and exhale for 4….3….2….1…. *pause.* Continue to repeat this in your head to tune in to your breath.
MY 5 FAVORITE GUIDED MEDITATIONS ON INSIGHT TIMER
(Tip: Use your Ujjayi breathing throughout these talks!)
1. Morning Ritual, by Jason McGrice / 10 minutes
2. Get Your Glow on Meditation, by Melissa Ambrosini / 11 minutes
3. Healing Light Meditation, by Danielle Erin Huddy / 11 minutes
4. Waking Up with Ease and Grace, by Sona Bahri / 13 minutes
5. Yoga Nidra for Sleep, by Jennifer Piercy / 22 minutes
MY 5 FAVORITE GUIDED MEDITATION TALKS ON INSIGHT TIMER
(Tip: Use your Ujjayi breathing throughout these talks!)
1. Do This One Thing to Live Blissfully, by Sadhguru / 4 minutes
2. How to Live Joyfully No Matter What, by Sadhguru / 6 minutes
3. Allowing Life to Touch You, by Sadhguru / 7 minutes
4. Stop the Minds Chatter, by Sadhguru / 8 minutes
5. Don’t Try to be Loving, Just Make Yourself Pleasant, by Sadhguru / 12 minutes
MY FAVORITE MEDITATION TEACHERS ON INSIGHT TIMER
Every single soul that I follow is essential to my personal well-being, so I am happy to share these teachers with you: Mary Maddux, Bodhipaksa, Sona Bahri, Melissa Ambrosini, Kenneth Shares, Ajahn Achalo, Mark Coleman, Georgie Browne, Mark Zelinsky, Jack Kornfiled, and Sadhguru.
ALLOW MEDITATION TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE IN THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, ENLIGHTENING, AND POSITIVE WAY IMAGINABLE!
“If you become pleasant in your body, we call it hell. If you become very pleasant, we call it pleasure. If your mind becomes pleasant, we call it peace. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it joy. If your emotions become pleasant , we call it love. If it becomes very pleasant we call it compassion. If your life energies become pleasant, we call this bliss. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it ecstasy. If your surroundings become pleasant, we call it success.“ – Sadhguru