While meditation can conjure connotations of calm, peace and solace, it can also make someone feel a little overwhelmed, and sometimes, pose as a practice that is simply unattainable. It’s true that we’d all like to reach that point of Nirvana atop a mountain once in our lives, but meditation is so much more than that. It’s about taking a few moments out of your day to choose the silence over the noise; it’s about taking deep breaths to calm yourself down when you feel a little anxious.
My personal journey to yoga was a wake-up call nonetheless, and what used to be a bi-weekly practice swiftly became a way of life. Because of this change, I’m now a certified yoga and meditation instructor and I really wanted to bring some of that knowledge to the masses by way of a simple beginner’s guide to practicing meditation in the comfort of your own home. So, here it goes!
How to Mediate:
1. Find a space in your home that you’re comfortable in. Remember, meditation is a personal practice so be sure the spot you choose speaks to you. Maybe it’s sitting opposite of the window on your bed to feel the light shine through. Or perhaps you like a dimly lit room with a couple of candles. Whatever you go for, just be mindful that you’re happy in it.
2. Posture is important when meditating as an open pose will allow your breathing to be smooth, and the feeling of being upright and open shows you’re willing to receive those good vibes. There are a few positions you can sit in: one is cross-legged on the floor, or against a wall for more support. Or, you could sit in hero’s pose (legs folded underneath your seat). Those who have trouble sitting on the ground can opt-in for a chair, with your legs at a 90-degree angle and your feet planted firmly on the ground. In any seated position, it’s important to keep your back straight and your chin parallel to the ground.
3. Now that you’re seated comfortably, close your eyes and pay attention to your breath. This is the time where your brain will start to flood with thoughts; your to-do list, a work project, etc. Keeping your focus on your breathing will help calm those thoughts down. You may notice your breathing is a little fast as you’ve been moving around, or that it’s stable and slow. Whatever your breath pattern may be, it’s important to just take this moment to listen. Listen to the way your body inhales, notice the tiny space between where it’s still, and the way in which your body exhales.
4. Once you’re settled in, try a few mantras or breathing techniques. One of the nicest ways to take your self-care meditation to the next level is with affirmations. Repeat “I am” as you inhale, and “here” as you exhale. Continue this for a few minutes, and allow your mind to only focus on the breathing and those three words. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to come back to the present, and this a great way to come back to yourself, too.
5. Visualization is a powerful tool when meditating. It allows you to focus on one image, resulting in your thoughts slowly falling away. Visualize the breath coming in and out of your body as a warm, white light. Imagine it cascading in through your crown, filling up every morsel of you before continuing out in front of you. Keep that picture in mind and start to take your attention to how it may feel, is it warm, cool? The more specific the image, the calmer your nervous system gets as it’s now focused on something that is not your body’s norm.
6. You’re free to sit in stillness for five or 45 minutes, it’s entirely up to you. When you’re ready to end, simply take your attention back to your breathing and notice how the pattern has changed. Start to take your awareness to your fingers and toes, your body, and the room you’re sitting in. Gently flicker your eyes open and keep your gaze low to acclimate your pupils to the light. Take note of how you feel…
The mere intention of meditation shows your body that you’re taking time out to practice a little self-care. Some of you may like working on your own practice, by yourselves, but for those of you who still feel a little overwhelmed, worry not — there are apps for that. (So cliche, but it’s true!) Here are a few applications we turn to:
Guided Meditation Apps to Download:
Stop, Breath & Think: While most mediation apps provide pre-selected guides for you to choose from, SBT gives you specific guided meditations after completing a survey that analyzes the kind of mood you’re in. Then you can journal how you felt after the experience. And you can connect this app with your Alexa or to your Slack group account to get a full-body meditative experience, whether you’re at home or work.
Insight Timer: Rated as one of the best free mediation apps on Android and iOS stores, Insight Timer has over 9,000 free-guided meditations and a timer where you can personalize with your own ambient sounds.
Headspace: Considered one of the most user-friendly apps out there, Headspace is perfect for those people who are just starting out. The app is packed with videos that help guide and provide new techniques so you can get your mindfulness on.
Calm: If the name of the app isn’t enough proof for that pudding, then we guess you’ll just have to check out the app for yourself. Calm not only provides personalized-guided meditations, but it can also be used as a white noise machine thanks to its relaxing nature scenes and sounds. Oh, did we forget to mention that Calm also has sleep stories to help you have a restful night? Yeah, they have that, too.
Already a meditation guru? Let us know how you get your zen on by shooting us a DM on our Insta @TheChillTimes
[Editor’s Note: Since we’re not know-it-alls, always make sure to consult with a doctor before trying anything new. We’re here to guide and provide information that could potentially help, but each person is different so do what’s right for you!]