It may seem like we’re late to the party, but the meditation party seems to have the stamina of Justin Bieber’s comeback or Kim Kardashian’s career: It ain’t going nowhere, it ain’t…going nowhere. So hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. We won’t act like we’re experts though, instead we hit up one of our favorite meditation teachers and wellness gurus – and founder of the addictive website Live Your Vie – Julie Sacks, for ways to start slowly and become converts ourselves. Get ready to sit back and de-stress, or at least sit and do nothing for a short period of time…
How to Meditate: A Beginners Guide
By Julie Sacks, meditation teacher and well-being entrepreneur
Meditation will change your life, if you let it. Yes, that is a big bold statement, but getting quiet when all around you is chaos, has never been more important.
The pace of our modern life is at least ten times what it was just ten years ago. We have technology to thank for improving our lives and making things easier and faster, but along with that comes a more frenetic and stressful pace. Sometimes we are running and moving so quickly, we forget to appreciate the present moment.
If we decided to stop, breathe, and become more mindful, we would reduce stress and experience much more enjoyment in our everyday lives.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of concentrating on a single point of focus, with the goal of releasing tension in the mind. The most popular types of meditation are Vedic meditation, Transcendental Meditation (derived from vedic), Kundalini, and Mindfulness. Each one is a different style, but all have the same objective: to help you become more present in your life and help alleviate stress. It’s up to you to see which feels right for you. For now, start simply, by using your breath.
Schedule Time Everyday
It’s a new year, and you’re off to a great start. You’re eating well, exercising, and thinking about starting a meditation practice. Congratulations! Now, the key word here is: practice. We are all busy and perfectly capable of finding an excuse not to do something that’s good for us, but for meditation to make a positive difference in our lives, we must practice daily, even if it’s just one to five minutes to start – whatever you can commit to today. Then, start to build up to ten, even twenty minutes.
How to Start Practicing
A good way to start is to focus on your breath to help your body be still and quiet your mind.
Choose a time that you won’t be disturbed, and turn the ringer off. You can use your phone as a timer if you need too, but put it face down so you’re not distracted.
Take a moment to stretch, move around, and get comfortable so you can sit for a few minutes.
Sit, with your spine straight and your hands on your knees; close your eyes.
Simply focus on your breath as it comes in and out of your body. Breathe deeply through your nose in for five seconds and out for five seconds. Be aware of the cool air coming in and warm air going out of your nostrils.
As you breathe in and out, you’ll find your mind may wander, which is fine. When you are aware that your mind has wandered, let any thoughts go and keep your focus on the breath. This will bring you back to the present moment.
Set a positive intention for your day. Focus on one thing you would like to improve upon or achieve today, then bring yourself back to a few deep breaths in and out.
Now start to see yourself manifesting this improvement or achievement. Once you see this clearly, bring yourself back to your breath for a few deep breaths, in and out.
Start to move your hands, and feet, stretch and open your eyes.
Enjoy the immediate feeling of slower breath, relaxed muscles and overall calmness. As you build upon your practice day-by-day you will find yourself reacting much less to the outside noise. That inner calm will help in bringing you a greater sense of long-term happiness.
*Header Image By Yu Tsai via Vogue.com