Idiot's Guide to Meditation
Ever thought about how much time we spend switched on? Functioning on a high octane, being digitally stimulated and not turning down the dial as much as we should. It conjures up thoughts about how we are so committed to our screens that we don't realize we should be taking time out for a little zen and peace, daily. Meditation is a great way to ground yourself, no matter how long you sit for, or if you do it in the morning or evening, practicing the art of being present is fulfilling and highly beneficial.
Meditation can seem daunting and somewhat unattainable, but it needn't be either. You see, it's an all-members club, where all levels are celebrated and welcome.
First and foremost, let’s understand what meditation is and isn't. It isn't always reaching nirvana and seeing phosphenes, and neither is it unachievable. It's a practice of self-care that forces you to sit with yourself, in the present, and breath until your thoughts melt away for a brief moment.
Create or find a space in your home that you're comfortable and relaxed in. Maybe you like a low-light room with candles, or perhaps sitting in front of the window and feeling the morning light on your face is calming. Whatever nook your choose, remember that it should speak to you.
The way you sit in meditation practice is extremely important. It is an open pose which allows your lungs to fully form as they inhale and exhale air. There are a handful of positions you can take, cross-legged on the floor, or against a wall for support are two common ones. Another option is to sit in hero's pose, (legs folded underneath your seat). Those who can't sit on the floor can opt-in for a chair and be sure that your legs are at a 90-degree angle, your chin is parallel to the ground and your feet flat.
It's important to note that your breathing may be fast at the moment, this is perfectly normal and will start to slow down. Whatever your breath pattern may be, it's important to just take this moment to listen. Listen to the way your body inhales, notice the tiny space in between where it's still, and the way in which your body exhales.
Once you’re settled in, try a few mantras or breathing techniques. One of the nicest ways to take your self-care meditation to the next level is with affirmations. Repeat “I am” as you inhale, and “here’ as you exhale. Continue this for a few minutes, and allow your mind to only focus on the breathing and those three words. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to come back to the present, and this a great way to come back to yourself, too.
Imagery and visualization can be a powerful tool when meditating. When you focus on one image, and all its details and intricacies, it serves as a nudge, pushing your thoughts slowly out. Visualize the breath entering your body like a warm, white light. Imagine it pouring in through your crown, filling up every corner of you before continuing out in front of you. Keep that picture in sight and take your attention to how it may feel, is it warm, cool, mellow? The more specific the picture the calmer your nervous system gets as it's now focused on something that is not your bodies norm.
When you are ready to end, take your attention back to your breath and notice how the ebb and flow has changed. Take your awareness to your fingers and toes, your body and the room you're in. Gently open your eyes and keep your gaze low to acclimate your pupils to the light. Take note of how you feel...
The main goal of meditation is to honor your body and shows it some self-care. Treating your body like you would treat someone you love, will go a long way in building a strong constitution. Some people like meditating alone, and guiding themselves, but for other's, that's too much work, hence apps exist. Here are some of the little applications we turn to: