BE YOUR OWN GUIDE. SOME TIPS FOR MEDITATION, INNER PEACE AND CALM.
As many of you know, I love the practice of yoga and meditation, and work hard to maintain my daily practice (or at least one of the two). The benefits of a daily practice of meditation- with or without the movement, are endless and when I have been faced with some of the most difficult situations and challenges in life, I have been able to 'lean on' my practice for support and connection.
Being such an integral part of my own personal growth & development, it's a practice that I like to introduce my clients to consider along their path, firstly through gentle guided meditations and breathing techniques, and eventually invite them to begin their own daily practice at home. Guided meditations are a supportive and great way to begin a daily practice and there are many great cd's available to get you started, but meditation has become a very personal journey for me, and while guided meditations got me a long way, sitting in contemplation with only myself is another challenging, yet deeply transformative part of my own path. Don't get me wrong, I regularly touch base with my meditation coach for guided practice, and often partake in group meditations, but I feel there comes a time to begin to trust our own inner teacher and guide, and introduce a solo practice to the mix.
So for those of you contemplating meditation, I encourage you to try it. Those who practice now and again, try a daily meditation, and for those who practice regular guided meditation, I invite you to try and guide yourself.
To help you on your way, I've written some tips below that I have found helpful in my practice.
To begin, I always encourage people to sit on the floor with a straight back. This may be difficult for some so start with 5 mins and slowly work towards 20mins. For those who find this impossible, sit in a straight back chair. If sitting on the floor, place a folded blanket or firm but slim cushion under the sitting bones. Have a wiggle till you find a comfortable, cross-legged position. Straighten your spine by imagining the crown chakra being lifted, while the root chakra is firmly planted to the ground. Now for the important tip.... Feel and connect to the earth beneath you. You may place your hands on the ground for a few minutes to strengthen the connection. Here's the thing, every individual is intricately connected to mother earth and Mother Nature. The energy is like a pulse. All you are doing is becoming consciously aware of it.
Draw the energy in through your lower legs (or feet if you are seated in a chair). Draw it into your pelvis. This is your foundation and this energy will support your physical body and enable you to sit for longer and longer periods. As you draw this energy into your pelvis, you can begin to bring it up the spine to the crown chakra. This is when you can gently, and ever so slightly, relax into your seated position, yet maintain a straight back.
Second, relax the tummy. Gently push the tummy out, pushing the organs forward, and then relax. By relaxing the tummy, we are creating space, or a passage from the ground/ root chakra, up the spine. Bring your hands to your knees, palms up or down.
Begin to bring your attention to the breath. Inhale to the count of 4, and exhale to the count of 4. Inhale, bringing the breath deep into the pelvis, exhale breathing out all the breath.
The mind may begin to chatter at this point. Imagine the mind is a movie reel and you are able to just sit behind it, or turn away from it. The movie reel continues to play, but you can distance yourself from it by bringing yourself back to the breath.
Breathe in- relax the tummy, breathe out- connect to the earth, breathe in- draw the energy up the spine, breathe out- on a count to 4.
By continually bringing yourself back to the breath, you will begin to relax into meditation. It is at this point you may want to place a hand over the heart to connect to the heart chakra.
At the top of the inhalation you can ask, 'is there anything I need to know right now?' Exhale and ask, 'what do I need to know right now?' Inhale, pause and ask again, exhale, pause and continue to ask. Eventually the questions will fade or become distant and with time your inner teacher or guide will answer.
This is the beginning of an individual practice and personal journey of meditation. One of many! This is a way to connect to the teacher within and the wisdom within.
I have so much gratitude for the teachers who have guided me with these helpful tips!
Take a moment at the end of your meditation to acknowledge any gratitude you have.
Finish by imagining yourself in a crystal clear or golden bubble. Say a little mantra such as 'I only allow unconditional love & above'. Then squeeze your legs together and give yourself a big hug!
Jo- Pure Soul Wellness.