I mention meditation to many of my coaching clients. I’m often surprised by how much resistance I hear from them. I’ve heard that meditation is too hard, too “woo woo” (what’s wrong with a little woo?!), not compatible with their religion (not so), and just plain intimidating.
So I want to talk a bit about meditation basics. It’s not so complicated, and the results can be enormous - they certainly have been for me. The benefits of meditation include: lower blood pressure; improved function in your nervous, digestive, and endocrine systems; improved sleep; less muscle tension; even pain management. In addition to the benefits to your body, meditation is an avenue to a deeper connection to yourself, your body, and your inner wisdom. It allows you to be more present, centered, peaceful.
I promise, anyone can meditate.
“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.”
~Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
A lot of different flavors of meditation - zen, mindfulness, transcendental, chanting, chakra, etc… I recommend that you find the one that resonates best for you. In the mean time, start with the basics:
- Start with short sessions of 5 or 10 minutes. Like everything, meditation takes practice to get used to. After a while, you may feel called to sit longer.
- Get ready to sit. Stretch. Get a drink of water. Pee. Whatever else you need to prepare to sit a spell.
- Eliminate distractions. You’ll want to be in a quiet & comfortable place. No itchy clothes. No uncomfortable positions. No kids. No screens. Somewhere you can focus.
“The thing about meditation is you
become more and more you.”
Set a timer - so that you don’t spend the whole time thinking, “How long has it been? Maybe I’ll just open one eye to check the clock.” There are great meditation apps that will ring a soft chime.
Choose a point of focus. This is often your breathing, but it can also be a word, an image, a mantra, the flame of a candle - any single point of focus.
- Relax your body and breathe slowly and deeply.
“Meditation can reintroduce you to the
part that’s been missing.”
- Use your point of focus and observe every possible thing about it.
- Each time your mind wanders from your point of focus (and it will), gently bring your attention back.
- When your time is up, take a nice deep breath, stretch any part of your body that wants to be stretched.
“Meditation is the way to a life of serenity.”
- Don’t worry about doing it right. Part of being mindful is observing what’s happening without judgment. Sometimes your mind is more cooperative and you’ll go deep. And sometimes, stillness is less available. It’s all OK, just keep breathing.
- Also don’t worry about clearing your mind. As long as you’re alive, your mind is thinking. It will wander. When it does, simply and gently bring your focus back to your breathing (or our mantra or whatever).
- Don’t just try this once or twice before you form an opinion. Try it consistently for at least a couple of weeks so that you can really feel the effects. Over time, notice if you’re feeling calmer.
- Most of all, enjoy yourself! Meditation is for and about you. It’s good. You deserve good.
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