Guided Meditations

While I prefer a silent (or sometimes a mantra) meditation practice, many people who are beginners or those experiencing anxiety, stress, fear, insomnia or pain find a guided meditation extremely helpful.  It can be difficult to actually take the time to meditate, but the benefits are great.  Try to set up a regular schedule, and see my last post if you need a few tips on becoming a regular meditator.

Here are free downloadable guided meditations from Tara Brach.  I believe they are all about 20 minutes, although she also offers a 10 minute download if you sign up for her mailing list.  She is knowledgable, soothing, and will guide you through 20 minutes with ease. 

This is a 5 minute gratitude meditation with Elena Brower.  The video is 6 minutes long because she spends about a minute teaching you how to set up for meditation.  

A YouTube search will bring up a list of guided meditations, and there are also several meditation apps available on Itunes.  I've used one called Simply Being & it allows you to choose music, nature sounds, guided meditation, and meditation length.  This App puts a meditation easily within reach.  While it was free when I downloaded it, there is now a $1.99 charge, but this is a small price to pay for the rewards of meditation.  

If you have any questions, please ask, or see me at the studio.

Namaste - Beth

 

From Social Meditator to Daily Meditator

It is easy to say you'll become a daily meditator, but it is very challenging to actually do it.  I'll be the first to admit that I was a social meditator.  I'm defining social meditator as someone who will take group meditation classes, maybe even practice for about 2 weeks, then once you've missed one day, the practice is gone.  The good news is that in each day, in each moment, we can choose to begin again.  

Here are 6 steps to help you move from social meditator to someone with a solid daily practice.  This would work easily for any other habit you're looking to develop.

  1. Start Small - You would not run a marathon without proper training, and you should not set meditation expectations that are too large.  You may try  2-5 minutes dailyto start.  You may choose once a day, you may choose twice a day.  Maybe mornings are crazy, but you can fit 5 minutes in at lunch or before you go to bed.  Once you are well established in your small start, you can build your practice from there.
  2. Cue - Strong habits (good and bad) have cues that trigger behavior.   My cue has been feeding the pets.  They don't let me forget.  Once the pets have been fed (they have to be monitored or they share food), it is time to meditate.  
  3. Routine - Structure is your friend when it comes to habit formation.  If you like a guided meditation, have your favorites readily available.  This is not the time to begin searching YouTube for a new mediation.  If you like to do a little reading first, keep your book in the space where you meditate.  If you like to do some light stretching first or head directly to silent meditation, do that.  Establish a routine that works, and stick with it.
  4. Reward - The rewards of meditation itself are many, any no doubt that you've read about or experienced them for yourself.  It may be enough of a reward just to take a moment to enjoy the feeling after a meditation session.  If you need a more tangible reward, don't judge yourself.  You can meet yourself with kindness, and find a reward that works for you (plus you'll still have all of  the great mediatation benefits).  Maybe you wait to have that first sip of coffee or tea until after you meditate.
  5. Share - Humans are social, and it is only natural that we benefit from sharing our experiences with others.  You may reach out to a meditation group or a friend who is either an established or beginning meditator.  Social media is a great resource when it comes to connecting with other people with similar goals.  My friends have started a small meditation group on facebook.  Click here for the link.
  6. Non Judgement - Be kind to yourself.  If you miss a day, just begin again.  If you're running short on time, maybe you can squeeze in a fraction of your normal meditation time.  If it takes you a year or two to reach your goal (that may be 30 days straight or it may be 20 minute session), just be OK with working from where you are.

With consistent drive, compassion, and attention, you can move from social meditator (or non meditator) to someone who is enjoying the benefits of a strong daily practice.

 

Namaste - Beth

Meditation Break

Want a way to freshen your mood and outlook during the workday?  Try taking 5-10 minutes for a meditation break. Lately, I've been carving out a few minutes during my lunch break. Although I'm lucky enough to have a beautiful chapel at the hospital, any quiet space will do.

Are you a first time meditator?  Here are a few tips to get you started. 

  1. Promise yourself, no judgement.  There is no such thing as a perfect meditator.  Everyone starts somewhere.  The idea is learning to calm the fluctuations in the mind.  It's OK to have thoughts, just notice that they exist, and bring your attention back to the meditation.
  2. Find a quiet, comfortable space.  Close the door, and silence your phone.  Distractions will make the meditation a lot more difficult.
  3. Sit tall.  You may be comfortable on the floor, a cushion, or a chair.  Take the position that works for you, but don't slump.
  4. Find your focus.  You may use a mantra, your breath, or something you're gazing at.  When you feel your mind beginning to wander, begin again by finding your focus.  
  5. Set a timer.  You may start slowly with 5-10 minutes.  Notice how you feel before and after the meditation.  You'll be comfortable with longer meditations as your practice progresses.
  6. Try a guided meditation.  There are various apps, you tube videos, and meditation classes available online.  Although I prefer to sit quietly on my own, they can be a great place to start.
  7. Aim for a consistent practice.  A regular short practice may produce better results than a long, sporadic one.

A midday meditation break will elevate your mood, reduce stress, and reset your mind for the rest of your day.  I urge you to try it daily for 2-4 weeks and begin to notice the benefits.

 

Namaste - Beth