If you are reading this, hooray for you. You’ve taken the first step toward leading a more gentle, rewarding and balanced life. When we’re feeling off balance, worn out, anxious and frazzled, it’s our body’s way of saying slow down.
Incorporating a daily meditation/breathing practice is like hygiene of your mind and soul.
It allows the mind and body to catch up and process things that we may have been hiding from or suppressing. It’s a safe place where we can actually feel our feelings.
Here are some of my favorite methods and ways to determine if it’s best for you:
If you get bored easily –
DOUBLE EXHALE BREATH – Set your timer for 10-15 minutes. Inhale slowly to the count of two, exhale to four. That’s it and it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially at first because the ego mind will try to hijack this operation. Use the numbers to steer yourself back to the present moment and let thoughts go like a cloud in the sky. Slowly increase the numbers, inhaling to three, exhaling to six, etc. This can also be done in the shower, wherein you imagine all negative thoughts washing down the drain.
If sound/music is your thing –
(Try) SPIRITUAL MUSIC, SOUND HEALING OR NATURE SOUNDTRACKS
Set the time for 10-15 minutes. Save the heavy stuff for another time, fast paced music can increase our heart rate, pulse and anxiety. Choose a soothing sound or instrument (like the bass or drums) and follow to completion. I love Krishna Das or Matisyahu Acoustic. Every time a thought pops up, steer it back to the sound and let your thoughts float away. Relax, don’t overthink it.
If you have a strong sense of touch –
CRYSTALS, MALA OR PRAYER BEADS (Pearls work too)
Set your timer for 10-15 minutes. Hold the object gently in your hand and focus on the breath. If using beads, focusing on one bead at a time, inhaling and exhaling slowly, and complete the process for each bead. If using a crystal or stone, feel free to incorporate essential oils and/or take the party outside!
If you are struggling with something – loss, PTSD, addiction, etc.
MANTRA OR AFFIRMATION
Set your timer for 10-15 minutes and focus on what you wish to manifest more of. Try ‘I am strong’, ‘I am love’, ‘I am peace’, ‘I surrender’, ‘I manifest abundance’. For a contemplative meditation, try ‘S0-HUM’ which means I am that. ‘That’ which refers to all of creation, tapping into our divine essence or higher self. Read more here So Hum. Whenever the mind wanders, steer it back to your chosen statement to empower you, all day.
If you need to be outside –
Set your timer for 10-15 minutes. You can try a walking meditation, focusing on each part of the foot as it connects with the earth. Feel the support. If you have a space you are really comfortable in, try walking with your eyes closed and barefeet (earthing). Read more here Earthing. You can also use any of the above listed methods seated or standing outdoors as well.
If you are kind of ‘lazy’ and just want to get it done –
GOOD FOR YOU! Monkey mind is clearly no obstacle for you. Set your timer for 10-15 minutes and just free flow it, the object here is to not fall asleep.
Whether you’re inside or outside, sitting or lying down, is not important. What is important is that you train yourself to get in the habit of showing up for yourself, everyday! Schedule time in your calendar or set an alarm, whatever it takes to ensure you can simply tune in for a few minutes. In doing so, you connect with our natural ‘feel good’ endorphins and reduce anxiety, sadness and anger. Aim for twice a day but don’t overthink it or beat yourself up if you skip a day or get too busy, that’s why they call it a ‘practice’. When you do it long enough, it will become a healthy habit, one that you crave and miss when it’s lacking, like the absence of an old friend.