I wrote the below article for my blog Forever Plant-Based, a place where I write about vegan recipes and my thoughts on fitness including yoga and meditation. I love my blog, it’s my most favorite thing to do on a rainy or non rainy day and I love sharing my thoughts with the world. Hope you enjoy this!
I love teaching meditation at my yoga studio. I pick a theme and focus my guided meditation around that theme. Sometimes my students are strangers, most times they are friends. It’s so much fun to connect with people in a cool, intimate, relaxing setting where I can share my favorite essential oils and talk about life. After meditation with my three friends last week, we chilled on our yoga mats and talked quietly about various topics. We drank Happy Tree maple water and ate cookie dough bites. It was such a fabulous ending to a great day. I wrote this post to inspire you to make meditation a new habit. There are always habits we need to break; why not begin a new habit?!
Studies have shown that meditation is excellent for mental and physical health. People who meditate are able to deal with stress more easily and regular meditation can lower blood pressure and anxiety levels. Sitting quietly and breathing is enough to clear your mind and reset your body. Living in NYC, I know how important it is to stop and find quiet throughout my day. Sometimes, just having fifteen minutes of down time, can leave you feeling recharged and ready to take on the rest of your day.
As a yoga and meditation teacher, I teach many guided meditation classes where I help people focus on breathing, slowing down their thoughts and feeling present in the moment. It’s easy to slide into a delicious meditation after savansa but it isn’t a requirement to only practice meditation after yoga.
Here are a few ways to begin a meditation practice at home:
1. Choose a quiet, cool place in your home where you can be alone. Make the space your own by adding calming pictures and comfy blankets to sit on. Make sure you can be in this space by yourself for a period of time throughout your day.
2. Sit with your back straight and your legs in a comfortable position. If you feel better lying down, this is great, just don’t fall asleep.
3. Take a few deep breaths and feel your heart rate slow and stress leave your body. Inhale until you cannot inhale anymore, hold for a few seconds then exhale. It’s a great activity for your lungs and will open up your chest muscles and deliver oxygen to all parts of your body. When we are stressed and tense, we forget to breathe and breathing is very important when you mediate.
4. Clear your mind and just think about being in the present moment. Focus on your breathing, feel the breathe coming in and going out of your lungs and concentrate on that. Let your mind go where it wants to go. When you feel yourself thinking about your grocery list or what you need to do later in the week, come back to your breathing. This is a great time for you to turn on calming music if you cannot sit in silence. Turn the music on low so it’s not distracting but so that it helps you stay focused on meditating. Using music for meditation is similar to listening to a guided meditation.
5. Meditate for anywhere from 5-30 minutes or more. When you are just beginning a meditation practice, start out with short periods of meditation and build up. Meditate at any point in the day when you have free time. Thinking too much about when and how much you will meditate makes it more stressful. There is no specific time of day or length of time that you need to meditate.
6. After you meditate, take the time to appreciate nature and smile. Take your calm, relaxing meditation with you throughout your day.
Making time to meditate is an important aspect of our overall health. It’s wonderful when we eat healthy and exercise but regular meditation can help you slow down, appreciate life and feel grateful for all that you have. Never doubt the power of sitting and breathing for just five minutes a day; it can change your life.