The first couple of times I tried to meditate I felt silly and a bit embarrassed (even though no one was around) and I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it for absolute ages.
I downloaded a few different apps on my phone and I tried them to see what they were like. I lay there, closed my eyes and listened. It was soo hard. I couldn’t concentrate on the voices for very long without drifting into my own stories, problems, things to do.
What I did find however, is after the set period of time (10-20 minutes), I did feel refreshed, more focused and like my thoughts had been downloaded. Like they had been stuck and now were accessible and available. They were put into an orderly fashion as well. So whatever I was doing, even though it didn’t feel like meditation, was working.
Some days I couldn’t wait for the meditation to finish and other days I fell asleep. At no time did I really think I was “meditating”. I had this idea that meditating meant having absolutely no thoughts and going to another place entirely. For the entire time that I was doing it.
Its absolutely not true. It would be great if it happened but for me at least it doesn’t happen for any great length of time.
So why do it?
God I feel great after I meditate. I may wriggle and fidget and think of a million different things but the very act of sitting still helps my overloaded mind chill out.
There are so many benefits to meditating but to name just a few:
Increases well-being by boosting immunity
Increases focus and concentration
Increases learning capacity
Helps you set a clearer intention for your life
Say what? Just by sitting there you get all that?
Ok, so how do you do it?
There are so many ways that you can meditate – I like to mix it up. I will go through my favourite six ways and key you decide which ones you want to try.
My absolute favourite for this is Oprah and Deepak’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge. You can buy them here or subscribe to their email list and wait for notification of the free ones. They have been hosting them every three months or so for the last couple of years.
They start with a topic or theme – like Manifesting True Success and then explore that theme each day for 21 days, delving further into the topic. The chatting lasts for about five minutes and then you are given a mantra to think about for 10-15 minutes whilst you meditate.
My second favourite is to listen to some beautiful meditones through ear phones like Sonescence I think of my own mantra for the day whether that is just something simple like, “I have inner-peace” or “I am surrounded by abundance” or I use a Sanskrit Mantra that I have learned either through Deepak Chopra or my beautiful teachers at Tamara yoga, like So Hum – meaning I am.
In my yoga classes and through my yoga teacher training at Tamara Yoga I have been learning more about Kriya yoga.
An example of a Kriya is the Hum- Sa Kriya. I use these when I am feeling anxious and need to calm down or when I want to rid myself of some negative feelings.
Whenever you breathe in, silently visualize and hear the sound “Hum” going up the spine from the base of your tail bone to the space between your eyebrows. And whenever you breathe out, use the sound “Sa” down the spine and try to feel the energy move from the mid-brain down to the base of the spine.
Very important: Do not force the breathing.
On your inhalation, visualize a white ball of light lifting up your spine and into the middle of your brain, and on your exhalation, visualize the ball of light slowly floating down your spine back to the base.
I paid for an online meditation course from Tom Cronin a couple of years ago. He gave me my own, private ancient sound to repeat and the course ran over what I already knew about meditation. I still use the sound occasionally but I find now that I am in the groove of meditation any word will do.
5. Guided Meditation
Some of these meditations can be simply divine. I had a meditation during a retreat that was run by a psychic once and it was a beautiful story where she guided us into a forest and by a stream and we met the person we most wanted to meet there. I met the little girl I lost during pregnancy and she was three years old with blonde hair. It was very emotional and I felt very peaceful afterwards. These kind of meditations can really give you deep insight into yourself.
6. Third Eye Chakra Meditation
The first time I ever went to Tamara Yoga I went to attend a meditation workshop there with my Mum. Tamara taught us to sit upright, spine straight, lick our thumb and press it to our third eye chakra. Just above the eyebrows and in between the eyes. We were then given breathing techniques and asked to focus on that spot. She gave us a mantra to repeat. This really helps if you are new to meditation as there is something about focusing on that spot from the inside that can really provide a feeling of going deep inside yourself.
There are of course classes on meditation you can attend, workshops, retreats to learn different techniques and there is a beautiful feeling that you get when you meditate as a group. The most beneficial practice however is your own, private practice that you can do daily. Creating the habit is the important part, the meditation is the easy, blissful reward. It is called a practice for a reason – it needs to be ongoing and regularly and you will find that the benefits only increase with time.
I always find it special to light candles, have that meditation or meditone music on, but often it’s me on the couch in the morning with three boys racing round me begging for peanut butter sandwiches.
Meditation is an amazing, free thing that you can do anywhere, anytime and improve your health, happiness and sanity.
Enjoy the practice and let me know which one you like best x