So, you’re looking into beginning a meditation practice, huh?
Great idea, yo…and good news, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Meditation for Beginners 101. I am a firm believer in developing a practice, it’s just good soul business, you know? If you’re wary because it sounds wildly new agey or too spiritual for you…don’t be! I am no Buddha (believe me!) What I mean is, anyone can meditate and reap the benefits. A good way to rethink meditation, if it seems a little too intimidating, is practicing mindfulness. Nothing wrong with that, right? Let’s get started.
First of all, why meditate?
Good question, smarty pants. Meditation has several science based reasons to give it a go. When practiced on a regular basis meditation has been shown to:
- Decrease anxiety and depression
- Decrease pain and inflammation
- Boost immune function
- Increase memory and attention
- Increase hap hap happiness!
- Develop intuition
- Increase clarity and focus
- Raise awareness
I mean, you can’t beat it; no pills, no expensive therapy, just you sitting down and breathing in and out quietly. That’s some Jedi mind trickery in action right there.
So what’s the catch?
You! You are the only catch. You just have to do it. Totally simple. Gah! It’s amazing how we as humans are so adept at standing in our own way. My suggestion, don’t overthink it. Just give yourself a few (A FEW!) extra minutes in the morning, or whenever you know you can have a quiet space, and do it. It doesn’t have to be intimidating and you don’t have to be these guys right out of the gate…
In fact, you won’t be. Your mind will not settle down and you’ll probably feel like you’re failing meditation, but you aren’t! Be nice to yourself, girl. The only way to fail meditation is to not meditate, or, *ahem, practice mindfulness.
This part is going to be so simple it’s going to knock your socks right off! Get ready.
- Find yourself a quiet space. Honestly, you can throw the vision of sitting cross legged humming some Om’s out the window if you want. You can meditate on a walk, or a run, even in the shower. I suggest trying to do it seated, but you certainly don’t have to. Quiet space. 3-5 minutes. Bam!
- Yes, you read that right. Start out with a super small practice. 3-5 minutes. I like to set a timer just so I’m not constantly checking the clock.
- I am going to focus on a seated practice because I think it helps develop the habit, but again, you can practice mindfulness however you see fit. Have a seat, get comfy cozy, and relax. Set your gaze gently at the floor in front of you (or light a candle to focus on), or close your eyes.
- Breath in. Imagine the route that breath takes through your body. Breath out. Imagine that breath as it heads out into the world.
- When your mind starts wandering away, just take note and then draw your awareness back to your breath. Easy effin’ peasy.
- Incorporate a mantra if you’re feeling wild. A mantra is a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation. I like this one from monk Thich Nhat Hanh,
“Breathing in, I relax my body … breathing out, I smile.”
That’s meditation in a nut shell
There are several different ways in which people practice meditation throughout the world, but for the purposes of this post, I decided to keep it simple. No reason to muddy the waters. It is a powerful tool, it’s free, and it can be life changing. I encourage you to start today! Over the course of your practice, start adding a little more time to it, but it never has to be a super time consuming event.
In this world, where everyone’s nose is constantly pressed to their smartphone (me included unfortunately), taking time to step away from that and go within is priceless.
Thanks for reading, you’re awesome and I appreciate you! Let me know how your practice is coming along, I would love to hear!