By ena ganguly
No matter if you have meditated or not, you know or heard something about the practice. Perhaps you think of sitting cross legged, hands on your knees, eyes closed. Or maybe you think of chanting ‘Om’ with a long necklace of beads around your neck. Meditation is an act of gaining peace that, I believe, we need. We live in a world where we are constantly exposed to injustices that seem outside our control. During times of chaos and strife, both externally and internally, it is important for us to find our center, to ground ourselves and find a moment of rest. We deserve that.
In theory, meditation sounds like a great practice. I wish I could be the person who wakes up at the crack of dawn to sit on a yoga mat and breathe mindfully for thirty minutes. But I’m not. To be quite honest, I’ve tried early morning meditation in the past, and I ended up falling asleep, very restful sleep at that, but I would do that almost every day. I woke up at 7 am to meditate and nap till about 7:45 am every week day. Even though I knew I might fall asleep, I invited in that practice, because if I’m falling asleep while meditating then that’s what my body needs.
A big part of meditating, for me, was to let go of an idea of what I thought meditation ought to be. I’m the type of person who loves to multi-task. I have about 20 tabs open on my laptop that I rotate between. I cook, mess with a playlist, and read a book at the same time. I like to jump around and have movement in my daily routine. A person like me should not expect to sit still for 30 minutes, breathing mindfully and chanting ‘Om’. It’s just not going to happen, because that’s not who I am.
The good news is that meditation can be anything you want it to be. It can look like five, ten, twenty minutes of mindful breathing, at any time of the day. It can be waking up and sitting on a yoga mat before the beginning of the day, to invite in new intentions and establish a grounded center. It can be praying. It can manifest into so many practices.
Here are some suggested ways to meditate:
1. Guided Meditation
If you like to listen to a voice for instruction on how to sit and when to breathe, try out guided meditation. Personally, guided meditation gives me something to focus on, so I don’t feel antsy. The trick for me is to find a guided meditation that talks just enough. I don’t want a lesson on religion and philosophy, but I do appreciate some nuggets of wisdom while I meditate. There are a bunch of guided meditation videos on YouTube, and your preferences will most likely be different from mine, but this is one that I really like.
2. Moments of Meditation
This practice is good for those who are on the go, but still want a few minutes throughout the day to mindfully breath. A moment of meditation for me looks like disengaging with whatever it is I’m doing, bringing awareness to my breath, and scanning my body to make adjustments to my posture. I might close my eyes and release any tension my body is holding. Sometimes, it looks like going outside to touch the trees and breathe in and out deeply. I definitely want to do this more, because moments like that bring ease into my daily routine. 3. Morning Meditation
This is the type of practice that would have me falling asleep. I recommend starting your morning practice with an action oriented ritual of sorts. This can be rolling out a yoga mat, a blanket, or a pillow to sit on (or sleep on, lol). It can also be lighting incense, putting on some music that you like, or playing an instrument like a singing bowl or a synthesizer. Whatever ritual helps you relax and signals to your body that it is time to enter a meditative state, do that! I think morning meditation is great for those who lead really hectic, at times draining, lifestyles who can have an hour of absolute quiet and alone time before the day really begins.
4. Before Bed Meditation
I recommend folks who are struggling to wind down to go to sleep and/or have a million thoughts spinning in their heads to incorporate some gentle stretching and meditation into their bedtime routine. If you like aromatherapy, put some lavender essential oil in your diffuser or on your pulse points, and begin your meditation! You can even try stretching in bed, so maybe you fall asleep while doing that.
There is no end to all the different ways we can meditate, which it makes it accessible for each one of us. Always remember, you are in charge of your practice, and you have the power to tailor it to your needs! How do you like to center yourself? We’d love to know! Like, comment and share with us on Facebook, Twitter (@allgqpoc), and Instagram (@allgqpoc).