If you are anything like me, the thought of sitting down and being still and 'meditating' is a daunting idea. What is meditating, exactly and what will it do for me? Well, you have to try it to see. I know, it's like your mom telling you to eat brussel sprouts 'cause its good for you. Actually, that's a bad analogy, 'cause I like brussel sprouts and maybe you do to. Ok, think about something that makes you go bleckkkk and that's what meditating was for me when I first started. You should have seen me try. I'd wiggle and wriggle, open my eyes, close my eyes, look around, dust off my shirt, anything to get myself to focus. But I did it. And I did it every day for YEARS until I got it.
Meditating is simply taking your focus away from distractions and bringing it inwards. It's a great way to scan the physical body and emotional state to see where you need work and perhaps answer any longing, nagging questions and issues you have in your life. Taking the focus and bringing it into yourself will create more energy within and allow you to accomplish more and give more to your daily goals and loved ones as well as your long term goals. Big deal!! And it's free!!
There are a tremendous amount of meditation techniques to get you into yourself; clear the mind, move the clutter out, soothe the nervous system and relax you.
Some of the best techniques simply use control of the breath to slow and calm the mind. That kind of technique is called Pranayama and I would suggest if you wanna try it, you hire a well educated teacher or go to a class where the teacher uses some of these techniques as a part of their instruction. Trying it alone is a little weird and you might be consumed with more thoughts like, am I doing this right, if you are taking your cues from a book.
The art of yoga is a meditation in itself. For the type A's its great 'cause you move your way into stillness. The final and complete reward is Sivasana or resting pose. If you are taking a class and are lucky enough to make it to Sivasana, probably the most challenging pose of them all, let this be your opportunity to savor the good work you've put into your practice, exercising your body, mind and soul.
I like to bring my attention to the space right between the eyebrows. 'Cause even if those eyes are closed, don't mean they aren't amuck. This is said by many to be the space where those three, body, mind and soul are unified. It's where the seat of your intellect and intuition resides and a space that if you inner gaze at long enough is actually known to make your inner light, or aura if you wanna get technical, shine brighter. Keeping your inner gaze steady will keep the mind steady, the breath and nervous system will follow allowing the entire body to relax. It's possible, I promise.
Let's try some other options that may or may not be considered 'meditation' by the masters, but will sure as heck get you relaxed and focussed.
If you do practice yoga, just pick a pose. Let it be a relatively easy one, a warm up one. Child pose or down dog are good ones. Standing forward fold is another good one. Or, if you don't have a practice or are a little tight in the bod, take a desk or dining chair. Put hands on the back edge of the tallest part of the chair shoulder distance and walk your feet back as far as you can, then lean your body forward till you make a table top with your back.
You can also fold your torso over the edge of a bed, ironing board, dining table, with the edge of the surface hitting right at the hip crease. Knees can be straight or slightly bent. Just make sure the surface is cushioned. Throw a blanket or pillow over the surface you are laying on.
From here you can spend a few breaths on one cheek, then turn the cheek and spend another few breaths. Just watch your breath in your mind. Keep your eyes open if closing them freaks you out or makes you sleepy.
Another good one is, sit in a chair, feet open wide, knees bent and fold forward hyperventilation style. Take a big juicy breath in through the nose as you roll up one vertebrae at a time till you are seated upright, then as you exhale, make the sound of ssssss and roll all the way down till you are folding forward. Keep your ssssss even the whole time with just as much energy at the beginning till the end. Do for about a minute. You'll notice the exhales get a little longer and your mind is so focussed on the sound that you forget you are meditating and you are not thinking of anything else.
Take deep breaths and focus inwards. For a few minutes, this might be simply enough for you to get started and feel relaxed. After you try the above, you can graduate to a seated cross legged position in a clear space once you feel you are ready.
Create a good and simple meditation practice and do it. One of the easiest ways I've found is to actually carve a place in my home to sit and meditate. I have a little chair and a little table, some mala beads, a little statue, a little place that I make offerings to daily whether its putting a flower or leaf or peace of fruit as a symbol of gratitude to the higher ups that are leading me and keeping me on my path. I see that little space every day and am so happy. I look forward to going there everyday and honestly, feel a little guilty if I get to busy to neglect it. So I don't.
If you don't have a ton of space, just find something and use it as a little book mark or meditation mark so you see it every day and it will remind to practice. A small mat, place mat even, book, plant, something that reminds you somewhere, even if it's next to your bed, that you must dedicate at least a minute to your meditation practice. A minute will feel like a lifetime to some and to others it will lead to a longer more fulfilling time to contemplate. Don't feel bad if all you have is a minute.
I'm on the road a lot, so sometimes, I just park, put those sun shields on my car and sit with my eyes closed and focus on my breath. It all counts. Sometimes I even listen to a little 94.7, The Wave. I know, a distraction, but hey, just relaaax. It's LA and in a big city, anything that gets you there, gets you there.
Close your eyes if you feel more relaxed and focussed. Play with your version of meditation. Their are no real rules, just that you get to a place that relaxes, calms and evens out the mind. It may not happen on the first try or the second, but just try. Try every day. Try one minute first and work your way up to five. Try the morning or if you don't have time in the morning, try at night before you go to sleep. But don't do it till you fall asleep. That doesn't count and you get ten points off!!
Just try and if you have any questions, let me know. If you have a meditation practice already, want to take it deeper and don't know how, I can let you know some great classes, great places to go or fantastic books to reference and get you there.