How Do I Meditate?
You hear it all the time if you have a regular yoga practice, let’s meditate. If you’re anything like I use to be, during meditation, you usually just closed your eyes and went through your daily checklist or which route would be the fastest to take home. I always I thought to myself that meditation was just not my thing. I didn’t have the capability of shutting my brain up and sitting in utter silence while not trailing off in thought. How am I supposed to sit and do nothing? What is the point in that?
I was especially nervous about meditation as my first weekend of teacher training was quickly approaching. Was I going to have to meditate in front of everyone and get critiqued on my form and how long I stayed in the proverbial zone? The short answer to this is no. During my teacher training, I learned so much about meditation and what it meant though it didn’t happen overnight (I really didn’t have much pf an idea of how and what to do until the end of the training). Now don’t think to build a better practice you have to go through a 200-hour yoga teacher training. Though that is what worked for me, there are tons of different resources to explore if you’re looking to deepen your practice.
My numero uno lately has been an app called Headspace. As someone who, at first, found it difficult to just sit and be without thought or reaction; guided meditation was the best option. They have a basics course which also allows you to pick he amount of time you’ll be meditating ranging from 3 to 15 minutes. One of my favorite things about these guided meditations is they have many different options to customize your meditation practice. They have packs dealing with managing anger, feeling overwhelmed, switching off and so on. Another shining light for myself was there Sleep by Headspace, which is a guided sleep meditation that helps you drift into a deep sleep via a soothing, relaxing voice rather than being lulled to sleep with your latest Netflix binge. Maybe you’re not into committing to a monthly subscription like Headspace just for the sake of meditation, which is totally fine. One of the great things about living in our tech forward society today is you can find guided meditations everywhere from YouTube to a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.
So, let’s say you’re a little more seasoned in your meditation practice or maybe guided meditation just isn’t your thing. Along my journey to meditation enlightenment I’ve picked up some tips and tricks to use for those times where you are just sitting there on your bolster or you’re at your desk at work. One of these tips is a body scan or check in. You literally check in with your physical body. How often during your day do you stop and take time to think about the pinky toe of your right foot or maybe the kneecap of your left leg? My guess for most is not that often. A body scan not only allows you to bring awareness to each and every part of your body working your way up from the toes, it also allows you to keep your mind transfixed on the idea of thinking about your thumb and forefinger instead of trailing off in thought about whether you plan on stopping at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods on the way home.
Concentration meditation is another technique to help your practice. You start concentration meditation by focusing on one thing and one thing only. This could be a mantra that you repeat in your head over and over for a length of time or counting beads on a mala. Every time your mind trails off and goes elsewhere bring it back to your mantra or counting or whatever it is you decide to focus on. Let’s say you’re manifesting a new job or cuter apartment in your favorite part of town. Use that as your meditation mantra. Remember that really cute rose quartz mala you saw on Amazon? Well now is the time to buy it and count all 108 beads for the sake of meditation!
Just like with most things we enjoy, there is not one way to meditate. Just like anything meditation is a practice and the more you train your brain the easier it is to reach a state of meditation and the longer you can stay in. I’ve found that taking 10 minutes in the morning has affected my mindfulness greatly through out the day. I find myself more aware of the things I say and do as well as the way I react to things. Do some research and explore how meditation can help you!