For the longest time (the first 41 years of my life, to be exact), I thought I couldn’t meditate; or at least I couldn’t do it properly. How on earth did people completely clear their minds… on purpose… for all those minutes? I’d make it one (maybe two) minutes in and decide it wasn’t for me. And sitting still? My goodness, no – two tough things at the same time? And what’s with the finger-touching-the-thumb stuff? Do you have to sit up or can you lie down? So many unanswered questions paired with not being able to actually meditate – nope, I’m out.
And then a few things happened:
1) I discovered an app with guided meditations for beginners – game changer. (Photo of app, below)
2) In going through those beginner meditations on the app, I learned that my thoughts on meditation were all wrong. In fact, you’re hard-pressed to find an incorrect way to meditate. Meditation practices are incredibly unique to each person.
3) I started to feel the benefits of meditating regularly, and I became obsessed.
These are the top 3 reasons meditation will forever be a part of my daily routine:
Meditation isn’t only about your mind. All of my meditations focus on breathing in some way. Some of them begin with deep, cleansing breaths; some of them include breathing a certain way throughout the entire meditation. If I’m doing a guided meditation, I follow along with what they say; if not, I breath how my body tells me to.
I didn’t realize how much I hold my breath and how shallow I breathe, on the regular. I also didn’t realize how much focused breathing can calm my mind & energize my body. When I take the time to breathe/meditate in the morning, my day goes down a completely different path.
I found myself in the stillness of my meditations. Sitting still is a tough one for me; I am always on the move. Also, my body seems to get agitated when I sit in one position for too long. I’ve accommodated my body’s needs during meditation, and the stillness is worth every moment. This is when I check-in with my body. Does she hurt anywhere? Is this a new pain? How do my clothes feel on my skin? Can I feel my breath just above my upper lip? Stillness allows me to get to know myself in ways I’ve never imagined.
This is where I had meditation all wrong – I thought the goal was to empty every single thought from my mind. That was going to take some major effort which did not track with ‘what I knew’ about meditating. They looked peaceful and calm, not like they were exerting a lot of effort. So what gives? Your meditation practice is what you need it to be. If you want to empty your mind completely, you can work towards that; however, you can also choose to focus your mind.. on whatever you want! This is where the magic happens. I cannot even list the many things you could choose for your focus; but here are a few of mine: my breath, details of a goal I am currently manifesting, or even my husband’s face.
- One of the ways I breathe when meditating is counting my breaths like this: in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds. When I am counting, I do not think about anything else.
- When I’m manifesting, I think in great detail about what I want. When I’m meditating on what that might be, that’s what I think about.. so then there are many thoughts & images in my mind.
- I love to just breathe and go over the details of my husband’s face in my mind. I find a lot of peace in doing so.
The app I downloaded to learn about meditation + breathing:
Stay-tuned for a post on creating your meditation space and meditation tips for beginners!