This will be the first of hopefully many posts about meditation. I have been trying to incorporate meditation into my daily life for about a year now. (sometimes very successfully, and other time falling a little short) I feel like for many of us, including myself, meditation can unfortunately be a very intimidating and sometimes seemingly unattainable practice. That is why this week I want to dive deeper into understanding meditation, and take all of you on a little journey with me, while I learn more, and hopefully help us all understand meditation a little better! 🙂
This week, after a bit of research, I found 5 different techniques for meditation. I spent this week exploring these different techniques. Below I will explain each technique and simply let you know how it made me feel. My hope is that you will see that meditation doesn’t have to be a daunting task that requires perfection, (I’m still on my little meditation journey and have lots to learn from it!) It is something that you are 100% capable of doing, and it is a way to learn about your thoughts, the way your mind works, and a way to give yourself a little peace and of course happiness
Before we start, I want to give a little encouragement that has helped me in my journey so far:
-You CAN do this
-Meditation is not about clearing your mind of all thoughts, it is about learning to disengage from the millions of thoughts in our mind, to let them pass by without interacting with them
-Be kind with yourself, you are learning something new, it will take time
-Enjoy it! Embrace the sensations you feel, even if its 10 seconds of a little bit of relaxation, that is perfect!
-If a certain technique doesn’t work for you, find a new one! 🙂
-Most importantly let it bring you happiness! ❤
1. Body Scan Meditation*
*This is a version of a body scan that I like to do, there are different ways to do it and I have included those in the resources*
Lay down, take a few deep breaths to start. Inhale for 3 counts, exhale for 3 counts. Then bring your attention to your feet. Tighten the muscles in your feet as you inhale, and release as you exhale. Continue up your body. With each exhale and release you can imagine that body part sinking into the ground. When you are done, take a few deep breaths like when you started, inhale for 3 counts, exhale for 3 counts. Sit and see how your body feels now.
After I did this meditation my body felt so calm. I felt a HUGE feeling of relaxation flow over my body and a release of tension. It was a simple way to give my mind something to focus on instead of engaging my many thoughts. Also, I love doing this technique after I do a little bit of yoga!
2. Headspace app.-Guided Meditations
Download the Headspace app and simply follow the directions! 🙂 This app has guided meditations, which is simply when you listen to an audio to help guided you into a meditative state.
WOW! I LOVED this experience! It was super positive and encouraging. The guided meditation style is great if you feel you need a little more structure and guidance during your meditation. Plus, it helped calm my mind about “timing” of my meditations. Instead of thinking about how much longer I should try to meditate, I knew the meditation was 10 minutes long. Overall this technique (and this app specifically) were extremely helpful and made me feel more confident that I was “doing it right”.
Download the app here 🙂 It has super cute graphics and is just full of positivity!!
There are also many other apps you can explore!
3. Walking Meditation
Go for a walk! 🙂 Around your neighborhood, at a park, as you go to work, anywhere! Here are the different ways I tried this one:
-Focus on your feet. Focus on the way they touch the ground. How your heel makes contact with the ground first, then rolls to your toes. Bring all of your attention to your feet and how the feel moving across the ground.
-Focus on your breath. Deep inhales, and long exhales. Listen to the sounds around you, without engaging in them, just noticing.
-Put some instrumental music (or any music that relaxes you) and walk slowly. Breathe deeply.
This was a way to become very mindful of my actions, the way I walk, the way I breathe. It was a way to take in what was happening around me with our engaging in it. Just being aware. Instead of replying to text messages, or looking for songs to listen to, or thinking of what I need to do later that day, I just focused on walking and how it felt. This is a great way to sneakily put meditation into your day, we all have times throughout our day when we walk somewhere, we can take advantage of that and turn it into a mindful, peaceful experience, instead of rushed.
4. Present Moment Meditation
There are three steps to this technique, start by sitting or laying down comfortably and close your eyes.
- Bring all your attention to your breath. Focus just on the way your breath sounds as you inhale and exhale. Focus on how your chest rises and sinks.
- Expand your awareness to your body. Let your mind notice the things that are touching your body, such as the floor beneath your feet, a breeze across your face, the softness of your sweater.
- Finally expand your awareness to your surroundings. All the things that you can hear and smell.
Lastly, do these three steps in reverse. Bring your attention back to just the things touching your body, then to just your breath.
I did this exercise while I was laying on the beach (which I probably should leave that part out when most of my friends and family are experiencing -20 degree weather ) I felt this technique really gave me a unique feeling of controlling what I was engaging in. As I slowly expanded my awareness to what was going on around me I felt like I was in a little bubble. Slowly growing the bubble bigger, and then shrinking it back down again. It was a great way to practice getting control of what you let your mind engage in.
5. Candle Light Meditation
Sit comfortable in a chair or on the floor. Light a candle and place it in front of you. As you slow your breath, bring your focus to the flame of the candle. Keep your eyes fixed, and your attention on the flame as you slowly breathe.
*I had Luka join me for this one, I’ve included his experience as well 😉
MEGHAN: It was nice to have a place o fix my gaze on. This technique definitely takes more practice, I felt it was a little more challenging for me personally to “get in the meditation zone” with my eyes open. But it is good if you feel you need to give your brain a “task” so that you can begin to let go of interacting with your thoughts.
LUKA: I liked it. I felt kind of a connection with the candle, like my breath was controlling it, and I felt relaxed after. 🙂
If meditation is something you have been trying to start practicing in your life, I hope this gives you a little push to start, you CAN do it! I hope your week is full of positivity and that you take a little time to do things that make you happy! I’d love to hear how you felt after trying any of the techniques, or if you have other ones that we should try, or if you have any meditation advice!! 🙂