New Meditation Series Starts Today! Where To Start With Beginner Techniques
Have you tried meditating in the past and failed or gotten frustrated? Do you feel like it is impossible for you to quiet your mind or even sit still? No worries! You are not alone. Meditation is a practice, not an instant success. Over the next 10 weeks, I am going to bring you a series of blogs about meditation tips, tool, and practices to help you troubleshoot and cultivate your own personal practice. So, today we will start with some easy beginner techniques. I've also included a simple guided audio for you to download to help you ease into a state of relaxation.
It is very important to understand that with any new undertaking, there will be questions and adjustments, and your mind will probably want to talk you out of it as well. If you persist and experiment, you will get to where you want to be with your meditation practice. Be gentle with yourself, be flexible. Have fun!
Meditation is not something that will happen overnight or something that will be automatic from the onset. It takes time and it takes practice. Be willing to try different methods until you find what works for you. Trust me. You'll know when you find it. It'll just click. It will cease to be a struggle.
Take the time to read through some books or get some audio/visual sources (i.e. YouTube, Amazon, etc.) to acclimate yourself with the art and practice of meditation. This way, you will know what to expect. My favorite free resource is YouTube. There are so many different styles, lengths, and varieties of guided meditations and meditation music.
Start to focus on your breathing throughout the day. When you are hurried and rushed, do you notice that your breath is shorter and more labored? Or maybe you are holding your breath! If so, begin by focusing on each breath, taking deep breaths in through the nostrils and releasing through the mouth. You should also notice the rise and fall of your stomach as you focus on your breathing. Notice when you breathe if your shoulders come up to your ears. If so, you are using accessory muscles and not your diaphragm. It is important to breathe from your diaphragm to expand your lungs and fully oxygenate your blood. Think expanding stomach, not rising shoulders.
Be intentional when you sit down to meditate. Set an intention for yourself. You will feel more connected that way. Your mind might not be totally still (that's a pretty high expectation), but if you have an intention that you can keep bringing your mind back to, it will help you feel more connected with your practice. Meditation is a practice and a learned skill. It needs to be practiced with a purpose in mind. It does not just happen to you. You have to be an active participant. It is not a passive thing.
Dress appropriately for meditation. If you are trying to sneak in ten minutes of meditation in your lunch hour, dressed in your business skirt and heels, chances are you will be rushed, squished and tense. Set aside a time that is appropriate where you can wear loose fitting clothing and where you can concentrate and be comfortable. First thing in the morning after waking is the absolute best time, but any 10-15 minutes you can give will be beneficial. I often take my break time at work to refresh & sit quietly for a few minutes to recharge my mind, spirit & attitude.
Begin with the practice of releasing tension in all your body parts. Focus on the feet first and release tension in that area; move up to your ankles, etc. Do this until you have reached the top of your head. You can also do this process from the head down to your toes if that feels more intuitive. For some practitioners, tightening and releasing muscles as they go along makes for a greater awareness of the release.
Practice releasing tension with each exhale. I find that just thinking the word "relax" or "release" every time I exhale is an easy way to allow my body to relax, release tension, and it also automatically quiets my mind as I am getting into my meditation.
Stretching your muscles a bit before sitting to meditate is a great way to get blood circulating and get in the moment. And, of course, stretching naturally releases tension as well.
Choose a focal point, if you wish. For some, meditation is only done with their eyes closed, while others need a focal point. Yours could be a picture on the wall of a serene setting.
Let others in on your new-found desire to learn meditation. If those around you know you need quiet time, they will respect your solitude - especially if it will give them a happier and healthier you.
Be consistent with your meditation practices. Do not let circumstances take over control of your self-nurturing practices. Before you know it, you will become a pro - just stay consistent. Be forgiving. Be gentle. Be loving. Be flexible. Have fun!
If you enjoyed this post and are wanting to THRIVE, not just survive, consider working with me as your personal health coach. Together we will make an actionable plan based on where you are and where you want to be. All of my plans include a comprehensive health history, food plan, recipes, shopping lists and a plethora of support materials, not to mention all the mindfulness tools & techniques I teach you to put those gremlins to rest for good! Curious? Check out my 4-week Vibrant Total Transformation.
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To your wellness,
- Dr. Lara
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