These days, it seems as though we can`t open our social media accounts without finding a TON of self-care tips and modalities that aid in the balance of mind, body and spirit. Is this a bad thing? Not one bit! BUT...where the heck do we start?
As a yoga instructor, meditation is paramount to my practice. When I first began meditating I felt immense pressure to clear my mind, sit in my most perfect full lotus and commit myself to a perfect session for hours. Anyone who has ever tried meditating knows that this is easier said than done. So, after a few exasperated tries (and a curse word or two) I chalked it up to “meditating is just not for me.” But alas, I`m no quitter and I channeled the virgo in me! I will find mental clarity and peace if it`s the last thing I do! Thankfully, that stubborn mindset is what helped me find my place. Here are some of my tips to find your way to a a peaceful, no pressure meditation sesh that will make you fall in love with it!
Find a comfortable, quiet space. I personally love to put background music on (without lyrics). I was always under the impression that I should be able to hear a pin drop while I meditated but that was not a comfortable space for me, and as soon as I incorporated music in my routine, it felt like my own. Do whatever it takes to personalize this experience for you.
Dim the lights to create ambiance and maybe light a candle or two. You don`t want to stimulate your brain activity too much with bright lights so make sure you get acquainted with the Do Not Disturb button on your phone and disconnect into this mini haven you’ve created.
Let go of the idea that your mind must be clear for it to be considered a “real” meditation session. We are busy creatures, with thoughts, tasks and to do lists whizzing by at every moment.
Once you’ve settled into your comfortable space, just begin to observe your breath. What is the quality of your breaths? Are they short and shallow or full and lengthy? If you continue to feel distracted, place all of your attention on a specific part of the body and feel the flow and movement of that area as you breathe.
Finally, stop worrying about the amount of time you “need” to meditate for. Some of my most beneficial sessions have been only a few minutes or so. Any time that we give our mind and body a chance to check in with the present and breathe full breaths is a gift we are giving ourselves.
There is no cookie cutter way to feel comfortable in your own skin. Meditating alone, in the quiet of your home, with only the sound of your breath and possibly some ambient music may be very uncomfortable for you, and guess what? That’s ok. I invite you to step out of your comfort zone and become acquainted with calm, quiet reflection. Finding your recipe will take some trial and error, so I also encourage you to become acquainted with acceptance. Accepting that you will not become an instant Guru with the enlightenment of the Dalai Lama. Instead, simply accept where you are, here and now - and just breathe.