We just finished up our September Back to Class challenge & the final week was different types of meditation.
This is just a break down of my favorite ways to meditate, & resources I use for my at home meditation practice.
Let me begin by saying meditation is hard. Sometimes, I think it’s harder than physical, asana practice.
To calm the waves of the mind seems difficult, even on my best days. However, nothing feels better than coming out of a well received meditation.
I prefer mindfulness meditation. I think you can do it anywhere, if you allow yourself to release.
Mindfulness meditation invites us to come back to the present moment. Rather than focusing on the laundry list of to-dos you have ahead of you, or the missed opportunities behind you, you find the now.
With that in mind, find a comfortable seat. Allow your spine to straighten, but not tense. It should feel natural.
Allow your hands to rest gently on your legs, shoulders run down your back.
Allow your eyes to close, & bring your inner gaze to the space between your eyebrows (your third eye).
Allow the tip of your tongue to come to the back of your two front teeth, & allow the rest of your tongue to melt in your mouth.
Take a few breaths here, using your exhales to release any tension you may be holding in your jaw, forehead, shoulders, back, etc. Let your hands be heavy on your thighs.
Bring subtle awareness to your thoughts & allow them to calm. It’s inevitable that we think. What we do with those thoughts is what matters.
Allow your thoughts to come & go as they naturally do, acknowledging them & allowing them to pass when they’re ready.
Try to keep your attention on your breath. Witnessing the inhales & exhales as they ebb & flow with the waves of the mind, & body.
You can do this for two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes, an hour. However long serves you & what you need right now.
I use an app called Insight Timer for my meditations. They have a feature that allows you to set a timer for your meditation.
So, I set mine for the length of time I would like to meditate, I set an amount of buffer time for it to allow at the beginning for me to settle & find a comfortable seat (I usually allow myself a minute or so before my actual meditation begins).
At the start of my meditation time, it makes a sound (you can choose from gongs, bells, singing bowls & wood blocks) so I know that my time has begun.
This is when I go through the above steps, & allow myself to settle.
Once my time is up, a gentle end sound rings & I ease myself back to reality.
This app feature also will track how many days in a row you’ve meditated, which is great for accountability. On the home page, Insight Timer will tell you how many other people have meditated with the app today, & how many people are meditating right now.
Not into apps? Youtube has tons of guided meditations. I personally love Jason Stephenson’s meditations. I occasionally fall asleep to his guided Nidra (sleep meditations), or chakra balancing meditations.
If you don’t have a ton of time, or need your eyes to be open because you’re driving (that’s important - definitely drive with your eyes open), just try bringing yourself to the present. Try not to think ahead of where you are, of the things you need to get done or have yet to plan out. Just slow it down for a minute or two & let yourself exist here & now.
If you’re looking for in person guided meditations, I teach Restorative & Meditation Sunday & Monday evenings which will always include at minimum a five minute meditation. & I know any of our other teachers at MYC would love to do a meditation with their classes if it’s requested!
I hope this helps! Just know, you aren’t alone in feeling like meditation is hard, for any number of reasons. We all feel that way, what we do next is up to us.