Meditation has been one of those things in yoga that has taken me a long time to integrate into my daily (okay, not so daily but #workingonit) life. It always seemed wishy washy, woo-woo, and just not something that I wanted to get into since it was for ‘enlightened’ people. And then I actually learned about it, made it work for me, and bam – now I meditate on a regular basis in a way that works well for me.
What convinced me to change my mindset? Well, two big reasons: increase focus and clarity and decrease anxiety. Eventually, your problems start to feel smaller and you’re in more control of how you feel each day rather than allowing the stresses of everyday life take over. Meditation is an easy tool to use to take a step back in our ultra-busy lives.
I have found a few techniques to truly work for me. These certainly don’t require committing to two twenty-minute meditation sittings a day and don’t require chanting ancient mantras (if you don’t want to) and are not exhaustive of what’s out there. Which is why it’s fantastic – you can take any approach that works for you. Even if you don’t like what I’m offering, recognize that, and find resources that resonate with you. Because there are endless amounts of resources on meditation through books, blogs and online courses.
However, with any new habit, it has to be easy to integrate into our lives to make it stick. Like I said before, this absolutely does NOT need to be a time-suck; all this has to be is a way for you to take a moment for yourself to find your focus.
To get started, how to meditate: set your timer for your desired length of time – it can literally be two minutes – and find a comfortable seat or lie down. If 30-seconds is what you’ve got, then that’s what you’ve got! I recommend closing your eyes, but if that’s not your jam, then don’t do it.
Below are three easy meditation methods I recommend for the ‘unenlightened’. Take a stab at these, allow yourself to fail* and find what works for you.
The most simple, no-frills approach – simple counting. In my opinion, this is the best beginner’s route as it gives your mind something to focus on and doesn’t feel like you’re joining a cult. Anyone can count, right?
How To: Starting at one, count up to the number nine. Once you reach nine, start counting backwards to one. Repeat this sequence until your timer goes off. If you get off track, just start back at one.
- Allow for Wandering
I’m not sure if this is a ‘real’ meditation technique, but it’s one of my favorites nonetheless. I typically do this type of meditation before I go to bed, which is especially helpful when I have a hard time turning off the day. This gets all the thoughts out so it’s easier for you to let them be.
How To: Let all the thoughts start running. It doesn’t matter what comes through.
- Focus on a Feeling
The most woo-woo approach of this bunch: focusing on how you want to feel. Hear me out on this one though, if you’re feeling anxious, stressed, angry, etc. this technique allows you to acknowledge that feeling and begin shifting it to a feeling you desire, because I’m assuming nobody actually wants to feel anxious.How To: First, check in with how you’re feeling. Are you anxious, calm, excited, angry? Notice this and then invite in how you’d like to feel. Repeat this feeling to yourself by saying “I am [insert feeling]” for the entire duration.
*You literally can’t fail at this.