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Want to try meditating?

Illustration By Courtnay Hough

How to start 

Starting a meditation practice can seem intimidating. Especially if you are an individual used to moving like educators are.

To start out: many recommend sitting or laying down for meditation. Then, you would listen to peaceful/calming music or a mindfulness podcast video. You can work on deepening your breath while remaining present in the moment.

Since at first it may be difficult for you to find the time or the stillness in your brain for meditation, consider only doing it for very short periods of time. Three minutes daily can be hugely helpful with your mood. Like exercise, it may be easier to work your way up to longer stretches. 

Many flavors of meditation to try

If sitting or laying still, enjoying some meditative music while focusing on your breath sounds like too much for you right now, that’s okay.

There are lots of meditative options that involve more body movement. Just like cuisine, there are plenty of meditation flavors to try.

Some people enjoy sitting to meditate. Others like laying in savasana, or put less fancy, laying on their backs. 

Some people meditate in silence. Others, like me, crave music to help quiet and focus the mind. Other people like a guided meditation where a voice takes you through some exercises. A good free source for guided meditations is the honest guys on youtube. 

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Some people play their flavor of meditation music and move/dance their bodies to the music. This is an excellent option if you enjoy dancing and the thought of sitting still is a hard no for you.

Others take meditation walks. This is another wonderful option if stillness isn’t your cup of tea.

People who meditate while walking often set an intention or have a mantra (which is also something you can enjoy in more still meditation).

Each step they take, they focus on said mantra. It can be as simple as: I am present or I am grounded. I am strong. I am capable. I am worthy. Pick one for whatever you’re looking to bring more of into your life.

If you enjoy having the meditation music playing while walking to meditate than do that. Meditation is like any new experience or hobby, there is a period of trial and error.

Some people like to meditate in order to manifest. They focus on things or feelings they want more of in their life. They feel gratitude and imagine what having those things would look like.

For example, if they want more time with family and friends: they imagine how that would feel. They thank the universe for bringing that to them. They focus on little changes they could make to create that environment. They manifest it for themselves.

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Have fun with it 🙂 

Find what you like and do that. Play around with it, have some fun. Try some new things and discover some of what doesn’t work for you right now.

Meditation doesn’t have to be a dry, serious practice. It is meant to bring lightness and joy to your life. Make sure that those are the feelings you are receiving most of the time.

Also, as you grow into it and deepen your meditation practice, some things that worked in the past might not intrigue or relax you  anymore. That is totally okay.

Just like in the classroom, it can be good to mix things up and try something new. You might discover a new part of yourself. 

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Bumps in the road are okay

I do also want to mention that there will be days where meditation is a struggle. You will skip days. That’s okay, share some grace and compassion with yourself. Come back to it. Try again.

Usually when I’m struggling with my meditation and staying present: that means I’m brewing a positive change or transformation in my life. Viewing it with that lens helps me want to come back to meditation and push through the challenges. Plus, it’s true.

It’s totally acceptable to recognize that some meditation days are harder than others. That, in and of itself, is helpful information.

Some days my anxiety levels are heightened. My meditation time is usually the first moment when I really can identify that.

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Check in with yourself 

I’m working hard on channeling that information into supports and positives for myself. For example, when my anxiety levels are up: I might take some self-care actions. I like to calendar some extra me time, take a long bath, make a psychologist appointment, and/or schedule a happy hour with a friend. For more on self care read our blog on the subject here. 

Before I started meditation regularly, however, I wouldn’t always notice my anxiety was up. I would feel frustrated with myself for feeling blue or stressed. I would up my perfectionism and negative self-talk. This unhealthy spiral was self-perpetuating.

Meditation helps me to notice how I feel. It helps me connect my feelings with behavior patterns.

Some are good and I celebrate, try to continue those. Some are negative and I work on releasing those and growing new, hopefully better, ones to try.

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So, give meditation a try!

1. Pick out the flavor you’d like to try first: quiet, seated, dance, walking, mindfulness, etc.

2. Carve out a little, manageable amount of time every day for your meditation. In the beginning maybe its 3-4 minutes. Later you can add more time as you’d like.

3. Decide if you want to try to meditate in the morning, afternoon, or evening. It can be helpful to have a time of day when you try to meditate. It’s okay if you need to move it to another time, but routine can assist you in sticking with your new meditation practice.

4.Start today. Give it a go!

5. Notice what works for you, and what doesn’t. Follow that paths of what you enjoy. It’s totally okay if it is different from what you expected. Try not to feel discouraged: you’re learning something new! Sample new meditation flavors if you’re feeling stuck.

6. Enjoy all the benefits your new meditation practice will bring you 🙂

Most importantly, I try to stay with it. If I fall off of my meditation routine for a few days, I work on reminding myself how good it feels to meditate. I remember that I want to come back to it. I try to set my self-judgment aside.

You’ve got this! We believe in you! Please share any questions, support, or success stories in the comments below 🙂

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