Meditation. A Beginners Guide to How and Why.
Updated: Sep 21, 2020
Your mind is a muscle and the more you work at strengthening this muscle, the more you can have control (and get to choose) which thoughts and emotions to share with the outside world.
I'll be the first to say I am no guru. I'm not a master or a sage. I've found great benefit to working meditation practices into my daily routine and I think all people, young and old, can benefit from it. My intension of this post is to simply share my experience of what has worked for me and why I think it can elevate anyone who takes time to silence the mind and focus on your breath, with gratitude.
Studies are popping up more and more how meditation is benefiting kids as young as 3 at schools and in their home life. With the bombardment of simulating screens, sugar, and caffeine—children are said to face more stress than ever before. The same goes for adults! We are tested day in and day out to perform and act a certain way. How about environmental stressors that are out of our control? Global warming, forest fires, political debates, cyber manipulation, and even worldwide pandemics?! Besides the big stuff, living in this world today has granted us problems, conflicting ideas, and emotions that are out of our control most of the time.
As great as it is to talk these circumstances out with others, most times we do not have other people to call on at all hours of the day. I've learned that YOU are you're best healer/teacher/mentor you could possibly have. And guess what? You are available anytime, anywhere, day or night as long you want to be. Show up for yourself first, and your relationships with others will fall into place.
Go Inward and Ask Yourself, "How are You Feeling Right Now"?
Checking in with yourself is a great way to bring your focus back inward. Ask yourself this question when you first wake up, when taking a shower, or after sending an email to an important client. There is no wrong time to practice this. Once acknowledging how you feel, take a long deep breath in to fill up your belly. Hold the air in your belly for at least 3 seconds, then slowly let it go to a count of 5. Repeat at least three times or up to 1 minute for beginners. Continue this breathing technique for up to 5 minutes and add time as your practice grows.
Your Mind Will Wander. This is Natural and 100% Okay.
Try not to get discouraged when you start your 1-minute practice and can only think about what you're making for lunch later or what you said to Suzie yesterday during your zoom conference. Acknowledge these thoughts and come back to your breath. As long as you keep aligning your focus back to your breath, you are maintaining a good practice! It's called meditation practice for a reason— you are not meant to be perfect. Allow yourself to be messy and redirect your breath 100 times if you need to. There is no wrong way to do this. Set a timer for yourself and close your eyes if that feels right for you. It's your world. There are no rules here. Do your best to relax, breathe, and ask yourself the questions YOU need to hear at that moment. Listen in silence, breathe, and be open to what your intuition has to say. You may be surprised by the answers you will find.
Subscribe to a Meditation App or Set Reminders on your Phone.
Whether you want some resources to follow along with, or are content to practice meditation on your own. Setting up reminders throughout your day is a great way to center your energy and work towards a better, more balanced self. The benefits of this balance live in the connection you will build with trusting yourself. Over time, you will learn how to listen to your intuition—leading to more confidence, and less stress—especially over matters that are out of your control.
There are dozens of meditation apps out in the world so I encourage you to find what is calling you! I have been using the Insight Timer App since 2016 and really have come to love all the features it offers. From simple bell timers to guided meditations and live course outlines, this app has it all and I truly recommend it.
Not a fan of App technology? No problem. Meditation can also be as simple as taking a walk outside to appreciate nature or enjoying a warm beverage while allowing your mind some rest and relaxation. Whenever you can bring your attention back to your breath and clear your thoughts, you're on the right track!
I like to think of meditation as something that can also be celebrated in the form of prayer, yoga, or repetitive tasks like gardening or preparing food. You can meditate with your eyes open or closed, but it is usually best in a quiet space with little distraction.
Setting daily reminders on your phone can help to remind you to Stop — Breathe — Appreciate — and Repeat. I have a daily reminder on my phone that 'chimes' at noon each day to help me remember to take some time out, just for me.
If any of this has resonated with you, or you have questions you'd like to ask me. Feel free to drop a comment below by signing up for this newsletter! I'd love to hear where you are in your practice and if any of these tips have helped to get started on your journey.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to practice. You are your own teacher and you have infinite permission to go at any pace that works best for you.
With an open heart and mind, sending love and gratitude to you and your future practice.
- Alexa aka Lex