Meditation literally changed my life. And it continues to do so each and every day.
I realize how boldly powerful of a statement that is, but that’s my truth. Before I began a meditation practice, I felt like I had no home base, no moving center that I could come back to anytime I needed. I felt like I was adrift on a tumultuous sea with no shore in sight. It wasn’t this huge lightbulb or “aha” moment for me the first time I meditated. In fact, it was incredibly hard for me to sit still and just be with myself (thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations). But the more I practiced, the more I set an intention to meditate every morning for a sense of peace and well-being in my life, the more I noticed how much it had made a positive impact in my life.
Make Meditation a Daily Practice
Each morning when I step into my living room now, I actively create a sacred space for myself to move and breathe and write in. I typically place a blanket down for movement, perhaps light a candle or open a window to let the light in, and set a space for meditation using simple throw pillows (although I am wanting to invest in a meditation cushion). I might choose a crystal or affirmation card, play some calming music or create a makeshift altar on my coffee table. It all depends on how I’m feeling, what I’m needing and what’s important to me. There are so many different things that you can use to draw you deeper within your own heart and create your own space. Get those creative juices flowing and find out what makes you light up.
Sometimes I find that I’m in the mood for a guided meditation (YogaGlo and Tara Brach’s meditations are my go-to’s) focusing on something going on in my life and other times, I’m more drawn to a silent meditation. It all depends on what I’m needing (a recurring theme, you see) and wanting in that moment. Some days I have time for a longer meditation and some days I have 10 minutes. As long as I can sit and be, even just for 5 minutes, it’s important that I gift myself this precious time every morning.
We don’t need to know every single thing that there is to know about meditation in order to begin. All we have to do is start. I’ve created a list of 3 super simple things you can do to begin a meditation practice today:
- Set the intention – What do you want to receive from meditation? How will your life change with a daily meditation practice? What purpose will meditation serve in your life? Setting an intention to commit to a daily practice could be because you want to find a sense of peace or purpose. Maybe you just need some alone time or perhaps you think it will help to manage your monkey mind. Whatever it is, make sure the intention is yours. Make sure that it is true to what you’re needing or wanting in your life. This kind of intention setting will help to create a routine or habit around a lifetime practice.
- Create a sacred space – What is it that makes you feel connected to your highest self? What are some things you can bring into your environment that make you feel more comfortable, peaceful and focused. You can use your intention to help guide you in choosing what to place in your meditation space. Need more energy? Maybe an invigorating aromatic essential oil blend or image of the sun. Need more peace? Try a candle or picture of a dear loved one. I personally use lighting (candles or natural light), cushions, crystals, images, sacred found or given objects, music, incense, and affirmation or tarot cards to create my sacred space. Again, and as always, choose things that are important to you, sacred to you.
- Choose the practice – Are you new to meditation and have no idea where to start? Are you interested in trying out different types of meditations? Are you really needing quiet time and silence and space? There are so many options to choose from, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Think about your intention, notice how you are feeling and what you are wanting, choose something and go for it. It helps me to choose quickly, or else I’ll spend all of that precious time debating on which meditation to do and before I know it, all that time I had blocked off has disappeared. For apps and videos, you can choose the length and type of meditation. For silence, you can just set a timer. You’re ready 🙂
Just a friendly reminder… be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Your mind is always going to think. That’s what the mind does. The purpose of meditation (at least for me) is not to try to shut off the mind and beat myself up when that doesn’t work, but just to notice and observe the thoughts, feelings, sensations and emotions that arise. No good or bad, no right or wrong. Just notice. That’s how you get to know yourself, your stories, your beliefs. That’s how you begin to change and grow – by becoming aware.
– Taylor Lawrence, RYT200
Wilmington Yoga Faculty