Most often, students who are new to yoga and meditation are told to simply, “sit there and still your thoughts.”
When I first learned to meditate, my thoughts could only stay still for about 0.03 seconds. I’m a list-maker, a future-organizer, a ruminator, a worrier and a dreamer. Even if my body was still, my mind was anything but.
In my experience, my thoughts don’t completely cease, but they do slow down a little bit after a few moments of meditation. I visualize my neural pathways as cars speeding across interstate overpasses and then very gradually slowing down … consciously choosing a safer, more sustainable, less hurried pace. Still going somewhere, but taking a slower pace with time to enjoy the scenery.
I’ve learned that meditating is an integral part of a holistic yoga practice. The asanas (postures) are performed in order prepare the body for seated meditation. But here’s thing: you don’t just sit there.
Seated meditation is an active process of learning to become attuned to your thoughts with skillful attention. It is the skill of consciously slowing down your thought processes so that you can live a sustainable life and take time to enjoy the scenery along the way.
Learning to meditate doesn’t have to be daunting.
Focus on Your Breath.
Focusing on your breath reaffirms your mind-body connection. Typically, your mind and your body are in two different locations: your body is one place and your mind is elsewhere, trapped in rumination of the past or worries about the future. Your breath is the bridge between a focused, present, mind-body connection.
This 3-part breathing meditation works wonders for stress relief.
Complete Breath Exercise
Enjoy a Relaxing Visualization Practice.
Visualization works wonders. One of my favorite techniques is a Systematic Relaxation Exercise from Dr. Rolf Sovik of the Himalayan Institute called “61 Points of Light.” Most Guided Meditation experiences share the primary aim of total relaxation, so go ahead and lay down in a comfortable place, snuggle in and enjoy 10 stress-free minutes.
61 Points of Light
Listen to a Guided Meditation.
Don’t feel like you can make your thoughts “be still-er” on your own volition? Utilize a guided meditation audio file that you can take with you, wherever you are. Listen and remember that you are here, and this is now.
“I am here, this is now” Meditation
Head to this page on my website for more resources: Guided Meditation
Just Do it.
Don’t worry about doing it correctly or incorrectly. Start by sitting still for 60 seconds. Appreciate your breath for one minute. Remember that meditation is YOUR practice.
You will find a way to meditate that works well for you and you will find a way that doesn’t work well for you. If you are learning to sit in stillness, you are learning to trust your own wisdom. Listen to your own insight, and commit to a daily stillness practice. It will change your life.
“Trust Your Inner Knowing” Meditation
Guided Meditation Teachings
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