In the last decade, mindfulness and meditation have risen significantly in popularity.
Those who were on the fence about giving it a try have heard first-hand testimonials from friends,
family and colleagues who eagerly share their personal experience with meditation.
It motivates them to give meditation a try.
While some might find the practice of meditation too new-age or fluffy, others espouse the benefits and enjoy incorporating it into their daily routine.
People say that meditation:
- helps reduce stress in your life
- allows you to get better quality sleep
- creates more present moment awareness
- enlivens your ability to connect with your true self - your soul, your oneness with the universe, the Creator or however you define God
- facilitates more creativity, innovation, clear thinking and decision-making
- allows you to be more calm, centered and at peace
If you're not sure if meditation is right for you, one thing that people don't say is that it wasn't worth trying.
It isn't known to be harmful in any way and it has no known unwelcome side-effects.
With that being the case, what have you got to lose?
Meditation can range from 1 minute to 30 minutes or longer.
It all depends on your comfort level and your willingness to give it a try.
It is also free.
You don't need any special equipment to meditate and you can do it anywhere and anytime.
Whether you are new to meditation or have been meditating for a while, there is something to learn about this ancient practice.
I started dabbling with meditation in my early 20s.
I was introduced to some of Dr. Deepak Chopra's books on the topic of Ayurveda and meditation and decided to give it a try.
At that time, I didn't take a meditation course or work with a meditation teacher.
I just sat quietly with my legs crossed, eyes closed and tried to avoid thinking.
I didn't have a clue if I was "doing it right." What I didn't know at that time was that meditation isn't about doing it right.
- Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit. Avoid lying down to meditate as it may trigger your brain that it is a time to sleep.
- It is most beneficial to meditate even for as little as a minute after you wake and have a chance to empty your bladder,
but before you become too active with your morning activities. Consider the approach “Rise. Pee. Meditate”
- An ideal time to meditate is first thing in the morning between 4:30 and 6:30 am for 30 minutes
And again between 4:30 - 6:30 pm for 30 minutes. If you meditate for longer, there is a chance of feeling spacey.
- Sit comfortably with your hands resting on your legs.
- Focus on your breath and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
-Try deep diaphragmatic breathing, Yoga, or belly breathing to help calm and ground you and to allow for the benefits of meditation to occur more quickly
- Recognize that you will have thoughts while you meditate and that you can’t will your thoughts away.
To help you with the issue of having thoughts while meditating, consider that they are like waves on an ocean where you see the wave, you watch it rise, crest and fall and then disappear.
Your thoughts are likes these waves. You notice the thought and then let it move out of your mind just as quickly as it appeared in your conscious awareness
-Come back to your breath and focus on it rather than your thoughts. Inhale energy, light and life and exhale anything that no longer serves you.
I became a certified meditation teacher in 2015 and have maintained a steady practice since then.
I studied at the Chopra Center for Well-being in Carlsbad, California and went on to become trained as a Vedic Educator,
certified to teach not only meditation, but also Yoga and Ayurveda.
Meditation has proven to be a valuable, positive daily habit.
It allows me to stay connected to my true north, my core values, and my authentic self.
The more you meditate, the easier it becomes to connect with your unconscious mind and to intuitively make decisions that are right for you.
Some of the most common questions I receive about meditation are:
1.What if I fall asleep during meditation?
It just means that you need more sleep. Try getting more rest if you can and meditating for a shorter period of time.
2. Am I doing it wrong?
There is no perfect way to meditate and you can't get it wrong. No matter your approach meditation,
the fact that you're open to trying it is a great start.
There are many tips for approaching meditation that is available via Youtube and other websites.
Meditation is a gift you give to yourself. You can't get it wrong. Just start out with Meditation 101 tips I mention earlier in this blog post.
3. I don't seem to be able to 'slip into the gap'. Why isn't meditation working for me?
The gap is the space between your thoughts --- a space filled with pure potential and infinite possibilities.
You won't know you're there because once you recognize it, you are then having a thought and no longer in the gap.
It is a tricky concept to grasp and I don't encourage you to focus on a goal of slipping into the gap,
but rather just establishing a consistent and comfortable meditation practice.
4. Is there a right or wrong time to meditate?
I don't recommend meditating right after you've worked out or vigorously exercised as your mind and body
will be too active and it may prove quite challenging to settle into a helpful meditative state.
Try meditating as soon as you wake and before your thoughts are too actively engaged.
If that time doesn't work for you, don't worry about it. Meditate when you can.
Meditating at any time of day is better than not meditating at all.
Some people find it easier to start their meditation practice by listening to guided meditations. I've included some links with guided meditations that I hope you'll find helpful.
DavidJi was one of the best meditation teachers I had during my teacher training at The Chopra Center for Well-being.
DavidJi has a great meditation video library for your reference.
Sarah Blondin. She is also featured on Insight Timer.
Sarah has a free meditation series called Life Awake and I've included a link to a meditation she has on Youtube called Following Our Inspiration.
It is 13 minutes long and a great way to introduce yourself to a guided meditation.
I'm a fan of Insight Timer and have been using this free app for years. It isn't the only meditation app available. Here is a list of meditation apps you may wish to try:
If you have any questions about meditation and how it can benefit you, please contact me at [email protected]