Hello beautiful goddess
Meditation is dramatically increasing in popularity at present, with diverse groups from celebrities to corporations embracing it as a 'game changer'. Although it now enjoys a more mainstream appeal, I feel that it can still come across as an impossible practice to master, perhaps even unrelatable.
A friend asked me the other day about the role it plays for me. "I honestly couldn't imagine my life without it", was my answer. She wrinkled her nose in frustration and replied "that's what everyone who meditates always says". I smiled at her with compassion, because this is precisely the kind of 'secret society' attitude I want to dispel today - everyone can meditate.
When you stand at the edge of the ocean, looking out to the sea, with a moment of silence and clarity in your mind - that's meditation. When you are busy washing a pile of dishes, lost in the movements of your hands, focusing on nothing else - that's meditation.
It really doesn't need to be any fancier or more 'mystical' than that. We often also assume that meditation will take hours out of our day. Or that if we are not able to sit crossed legged on the floor, there must be something wrong with us. Be gentle with yourself.
The journey of a thousand miles, really does begin with the first step. So here is a beginner's practice that I recommend, beautiful goddess:
1. Sit comfortably in a chair. Place your feet firmly onto the ground. Allow your spine to be long and straight, and bring your shoulders down and away from your ears. Be comfortable. Close your eyes, or gaze down at the floor.
2. Place your hands gently on either side of your ribs. Inhale, and feel as the breath literally moves into your hands. As you exhale, the ribs contract. This is how deep each breath should be. Inhale and exhale through the nose.
3. Continue this for a few repetitions, and try to imagine the breath entering the nose, expanding through the chest, the ribs and your abdomen. As you exhale, follow the breath out through your nose. Your heart rate will come down during this process, allowing the body to relax.
4. Your hands can now return to your lap. In your mind, as your breathe in, repeat to yourself "so" (meaning in Sanskrit 'I am'). As you exhale, say to yourself "hum" (meaning 'that'). You are literally telling yourself, I Am That. I Am Presence. I am sitting, in presence. Repeat this practice, and allow all thoughts to leave when they can, don't force anything.
5. I recommend setting a timer (with a gentle melody to bring you out of the meditation, nothing too jarring!) for 5 minutes. Or even for 3 minutes, if this seems more achievable to begin with. Eventually, you will be able to extend the practice to 10, 20, 30 or even 60 minutes, if you feel like it.
Try to commit to a daily practice if you can. Personally, it's the very first thing I do every morning when I wake up. My husband and I have timed it so that he takes the dog out for a walk whilst I meditate, and the house is free of noise and distraction. It always helps to communicate with those in your home to achieve the time and space to relax.
The benefits of regular meditation are many, and include:
- The prevention of any future stress from being built up, and allows accumulated stress to be released
- Physical benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved immune system and increase in energy levels
- Mental benefits such as lower levels of anxiety, improvement in overall sense of happiness and sharpens the minds ability to focus
If you are curious to try meditation, reach out and connect, beautiful goddess. I am proud to offer private meditation classes in the comfort of your own home, corporation or as part of my Women's Circles.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Have you tried tried to meditate? What elements have you struggled or been successful with?
With love and compassion