by Sarah Kadel
No one enjoys feeling stressed, right? Life doesn’t slow down for us, and we only have limited control over the challenges we face. So, what can we do to balance our lives, clear our minds, and reduce stress?
Meditate! The benefits of meditation are vast. You'll likely feel greater clarity, peace of mind, you might sleep better, find it easier to make decisions, your health will probably improve... And so much more. It seems like a no-brainer to meditate. So why do so many people NOT meditate? Is it a practice only reserved for the white-bearded naked men of the Himalayas? Or the ascetics along the Ganges? Or the flower-crowned hippy sitting in a field of sunflowers? NO! Meditation is truly for everyone! Obviously, we should all be meditating. But meditation can be downright intimidating and some folks overcomplicate the practice.
Here are some steps to help you incorporate meditation into your daily life. Why? Because you deserve some peace AND the whole world will benefit. So, go ahead, get started:
1. Start small. 10 minutes! Seriously, 10 minutes is a perfect amount of time to start. Gradually increase your time to 15 minutes. Then, 20 minutes. And so on. You don't have to start sitting for 30 minute or an hour. Set yourself up for success and start small!
2. Pick a time and place. Schedule your meditation into your day as you would your yoga practice or time at the gym. Start your day with 10 minutes or end your day with 10 minutes. Choose which time of day will make the most sense for you. Hell, if 10 minutes at lunchtime in your car (while the car is PARKED!) is the only time you have, do it then! The key here will be dedication and consistency. If you have a spot in your house that is quiet - go there. If you can only find quiet in your house early in the morning before your family wakes up, set your alarm clock for 10 minutes earlier than you usually do.
3. Get Comfy. Let me guess, sitting on the ground for a while is not comfortable for you? Well, join the majority of Westerners! Do yourself, your hips, and your low back a favor and get a firm pillow, meditation cushion, or a thick blanket to put under your butt. Once your hips are elevated higher than your knees, you will likely be able to sit for longer in more comfort. If that still doesn't do the trick, sit in a chair. Get comfortable but remain alert. Sit up tall. Relax your shoulders.
4. Set an intention. No one said this would be easy. Meditation can be frustrating, amazing, annoying, blissful, delightful, and aggravating! Setting an intention will help you during those less bliss-filled moments of meditation to keep going and stick with it. Why are doing this? It can't be just because I told you to and wrote a blog about it. What do you want to get out of meditation? Why are you trying it out? What are the results you are hoping to get? Write them down. Say them in your head. Remember that is why you are consistently trying to be still and listen day after day.
5. Be patient and don’t judge yourself. If you tell yourself that you have to QUIET THE MIND you are going to fail. Sorry. It is true. How are you supposed to quiet this amazing, incredible, intelligent brain and consciousness?! What you can do, though, is change your relationship to your thoughts. Sit with your thoughts, notice when they happen. Then, bring yourself back to your breath or your intention (or whatever mode of focus you are using in your meditation). Don't berate yourself for thinking. You are a Homo Sapien. We think. It is what we do. So, relax, your thoughts just mean you are human (in case you had any doubt). You get to decide what you focus your attention and energy on during your meditation - something like the breath or sound or mantra. There is plenty of time to pay attention to your thoughts later.
6. Use a guide. Use the amazing, limitless information at your disposal. Use an app, online class, CD, or download a free, 10-minute meditation on my website: www.sarahkadelyoga.com/online
Get started today. You got this. You deserve more peace, delight, harmony, and self-care.