As someone fully immersed in the health & wellness lifestyle, I'm well aware of how pushy this world can get. And while I fully believe in everything I practice and teach, I'm so not the shove something down your thought type, and I'm never going to lie to you about my own wellness struggles. So for all of you meditation beginners out there – this post is for you. I've learned so much from trial and error, and sharing that wisdom is one of my favorite parts of being your wellness warrior.
With all of that in mind, I wanted to share my journey with meditation.
Keeping up a steady meditation practice hasn’t always been easy for me. In spite of the fact that I’m a yoga teacher and I teach some form of meditation every week, and in spite of the fact that I know all of the mental and physical benefits that come from daily meditation, it’s something I have struggled at times to incorporate into my routine regularly.
So why the heck do we meditate? When I do meditate, I’ve found myself calmer, more at ease. I can sleep better, handle daily stressors and just feel lighter, happier. According to leading meditation app Headspace, meditation can decrease stress, increase creative thinking, improve focus, reduce anxiety and boost your relationships. Not too shabby for 5-10 minutes a day, right?
But why does it work? Meditation simply means turning the mind inward, focusing on what is happening in the present moment. We use the breath and sensations in the body as tools to help us tune in to what’s happening here and now. In turn, the practice can create structural changes in the brain as well as changes to the brain chemistry that create all of those desirable side effects we’re looking for.
Though the neuroscience can get complicated, meditation doesn’t need to be fancy. You can meditate by simply closing the eyes and following the breath. Notice the sensation of inhales – maybe you feel coolness at the tip of the nose when you breathe in, feeling the air rush through your throat and into your lungs, feeling the chest expand, ribs expand, belly rise. Everything softens on your exhales, as warm air empties out of the body, feeling warmth in the throat and at the tip of your nose as you let all of the breath go.
Try that now, for just a few rounds of breath. Feels your eyes soften and just breathe. I’ll wait.
So how did that go? Did you drop right into the present moment, focused on just the breath and nothing else? If so, then that’s great for you, and you can totally keep going! For me though, only following the breath has often made me feel like I’m ‘bad’ at meditating.
Now before we keep chatting let me tell you, the only way to be bad at meditating is not to do it. Meditation is a practice, and the more you try it, the more natural it will become. The trick for me has been to start with guided meditations. I find it so much easier to follow someone’s voice for several moments than to simply use my breath, and there are a wide variety of guided meditations with different focuses or intention that allow you to add a little variety to your practice.
Have you ever experimented with meditation? If you’re ready to jump start your practice, I offer two fabulous guided meditation for beginners options – enjoy a meditation visualization exercise when you sign up for our newsletter or grab my healing light guided meditation here.