Stressed? Meditate. Need some time to yourself? Meditate. Feeling anxious? Meditate. Feeling sad? Meditate.
It feels like meditation is the answer to everything these days.
Seriously though, it might be. Meditation helps with:
- Reducing stress
- Improving concentration
- Increasing self-awareness
- Encouraging acceptance
- Improving happiness
- Reducing aging (for real)
- Improving brain function
- Increasing your immunity
- And more… seriously.
But have you ever tried to meditate? You pull out a mat or cushion, close your eyes, and start taking deep, relaxing breaths. It can’t be that hard, can it? You’re breathing fine, feeling good, but all of a sudden you start thinking about your to-do list. Then you move onto what’s for dinner. Then you have to bring yourself back to the moment and just focus on your breath. It works until you start to zone out, 10 seconds later, and think about something else superficial.
That’s mostly been my experience with meditation. When I was doing yoga more frequently about a year ago, I got into some amazing savasanas during my practice. But that was during yoga, with an instructor guiding me and reminding me that the entire hour was for myself. Savasana was easier when I was in a dark room with no distractions. I gave myself permission to let go because I was physically there, and willing.
Since then, I have tried my hand at meditation a number of times. Taking 5-10 minutes in the mornings feels really nice, but upon waking up, my brain turns on and all my thoughts start firing up like a string of christmas lights. It’s hard for me to tune them out while I meditate. As a result, I haven’t consistently meditated in a really, really long time.
Until I was chatting with the beautiful and energetic Amanda Katherine Loy. We realized that we both felt the same way about meditation. It’s something we could both benefit from, but we found it hard to build the habit.
So we got together and decided that for the next 30 days, we will commit to at least 5-10 minutes of meditation a day.
Anytime, anywhere, when we have a moment we will allow ourselves to let go and enjoy a moment of peace.
In case you’re not too familiar with meditation, it’s an ancient practice that involves unplugging and tuning out the world, and focusing on the self while clearing the mind. Typically one starts with breathing meditation, where you might sit cross legged or in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Then, you’d focus on your breath moving in your nose and out your mouth. The idea is to tune out the world around you while focusing on your breathing. At first, you will find this nearly impossible. Our minds are so over-active, and by shutting out all external stimuli, we finally hear how frantic and quick our thoughts are. Typically our mind tries to wander and follow these thoughts, but in meditation we need to resist trailing off, and return to focusing on our breath. Eventually, through practice and discipline, this becomes easier and we truly arrive at a place of peace and relaxation.
Breathing meditation is often the first step, and the best place for a beginner to start. There are so many different ways to meditate, especially once you become more seasoned at tuning out those wandering thoughts.
Amanda and I decided for the first 30 days, while building the habit, we would listen to guided meditations. Using the app Headspace for me, and Rituals for her (Rituals isn’t downloadable in Canada), we will be exploring various 5-10 minute meditation clips. Eventually I hope to reach the point where I can branch off and do my own breathing meditation, but to build the habit, this is where I will start.
Today is our first day and I am so glad to have a partner who will help keep me accountable on this journey.
If you want to make meditation a habit, join us!
Let me know if you’d like to be a part of our 30 days of meditation challenge. We would LOVE to have you join us. We already have a total of 8 ladies as a part of this challenge group, and it’s not too late to join! Reach out in the comments below, on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or even send me an email [kellymaianutrition(at)gmail.com].
I can’t wait to report back with the end result. You better believe I’ll share my experiences, and I’m sure Amanda will too. You can check our (probably more frequent) updates on Instagram too: KellyMNutrition and AmandaKatherineLoy.