Meditation 101: The Beginners Guide
Life as a busy mom can get a little crazy at times. The hectic pace and demands we face on a daily basis often leave us feeling stressed, overworked, tired and even sick! For a lot of us, relaxation means zoning out in front of the TV or iPad at the end of a long day – but this does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress. To effectively relieve and reduce stress, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation response. Enter meditation.
Meditation is a simple, effective and convenient way to calm your busy mind, relax your body, become grounded and find inner peace amidst the chaos of day-to-day life. When you meditate, you access deeper brainwave states, helping to clear distracting thoughts, reduce stress and boost brainpower while cultivating a deeper state of awareness and wholeness. The best part of meditating? It’s easy and free! All it takes is the willingness to commit to a few minutes every day to focus on your breath and quiet your mind.
If you think meditation is something only Buddhist monks (or people without kids) can do, think again! All you need is a little instruction on how to train your brain and before you know it, you’ll be harnessing the power of your mind and improving your life. Read on for a (realistic) beginners guide to meditation.
Meditation Is For Everyone
Meditation is a practice of self-inquiry…emphasis on practice! While it’s not always easy to start a new habit, the results will be well worth it. Own the excuses you tell yourself – I’m too tired or I don’t have time. Like anything in life, we get better with practice. Think of your meditation as bicep curls for the muscle of your mind. You are training your brain to focus, concentrate and let go and over time, you will become more skillful.
Set The Mood
Although meditation can be done anywhere, it’s still ideal to have a personal quiet space to practice. If you don’t have space in your home for a dedicated area or room, don’t sweat. You can keep it small and simple by using a meditation pillow, some relaxing music and calming candles or incense. While you can actually meditate anywhere and in any position, you need to ensure that you will be comfortable as you do it, otherwise your focus will not be maximized.
Peace In Your Pulse
Meditation can be as simple as finding your pulse. Meditation guru Gabby Bernstein suggests the following for meditation newbies:
- Sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor.
- Lightly close your eyes and focus on the space between your eyebrows (the third-eye point).
- The mantra (repeated phrase) is Sat Nam (which means “truth identified”).
- The hand position (mudra) is simple. Place the four fingers of your right hand on your left wrist and feel your pulse. The fingers are in a straight line, lightly pressed on the wrist so you can feel your pulse in each fingertip.
Use Your Commute
Sure, meditating on the train might sound sort of strange and impossible but hear us out. Your morning commute doesn’t have to be the most stressful part of your day. In fact, you can transform it into something quite extraordinary, even de-stressing. Once you’re settled on your commute, close your eyes and begin your mantra. Find some great guided meditations here. While meditating on the subway or carpool is probably not ideal, it sure beats skipping a meditation session altogether.
When you think of meditation, you probably don’t think of technology. After all, we’ve been taught to power off our electronics when we’re trying to decompress – but there’s a new trend happening with technology. A few companies are using gadgets to help you clear your mind and improve your mood faster and more efficiently than traditional meditation methods. Here are a few that are guaranteed to help you stay as cool as a cucumber – even on your most stressful days.
- Buddhify 2: Using tech to improve your meditation practice doesn’t necessarily mean buying new gadget or gizmo. Buddhify 2 is a mobile app with 80 guided meditations designed to be used whenever and where you need them.
- Headspace: Ideal for beginners, this app features meditations of different lengths for health, relationships, and performance and is written and recorded by a former Buddhist monk.
- Mind: This is “just” a meditation timer but its’ simple design and elegant aesthetic make it a standout in the app marketplace.
You Can Meditate Anytime
Meditation takes practice. With enough effort, any of us can reach a meditative state. Through the experience and wisdom gained through repetition, you can meditate anywhere you are. It’s not that you’ll grow an invisible force field. You’ll just get so efficient at reaching the state that you’ll need less and less time to reach it. You can get a benefit from just closing your eyes for 30 seconds if you make use of that time correctly.
Peace Begins With You
This technique is a fantastic Kundalini meditation that’s fast, easy and effective.
Gently press your thumb against your index finger, then your middle finger, then your ring finger, then your pinkie finger.
- When you touch your index finger, say: PEACE
- When you touch your middle finger, say: BEGINS
- When you touch your ring finger, say: WITH
- When you touch your pinkie finger, say: ME
Breathe deeply as you say each word. Go as slow or as fast as you’d like. Use this technique in line at the bank, under the desk in an office meeting or even in the middle of a fight with a partner or friend. This technique will get you through all kinds of crazy emotions and help you release resentment fast!
Find The Time
Let’s be real. If you can manage to find the time to scroll your Facebook feed, you can manage to set aside 5-10 minutes for daily meditation. If 5 minutes seems too much at first, you’re in luck. There’s even a one-minute meditation Yep, one minute! Check out this video for meditation in one minute or less. After a week, begin to add a minute to your practice each week until you build up to 30 minutes (or more) at a time. You choose.