5.15.2013

A Gentle Introduction to Meditation

For quite a few years I had nothing more than an intimidated curiosity about meditation. I wanted to want to try it. Elizabeth Gilbert’s descriptions of meditation (agonizing, liberating) in her book Eat, Pray, Love piqued my interest, and also terrified me. Richard Carlson’s best-selling book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff told me to ‘quiet the mind’…I decided to focus on his other 99 tips. I found a mini Meditation for Dummies book in the dollar bin at Target, but didn’t retain much of what I read.
Then I found yoga. Or did it find me? Not exactly sure, but it was a monumental breakthrough nonetheless. Yoga taught me how to breathe (really breathe!), be present, manage stress, and sit still. (And my are those pants comfortable.) I fear stillness is a practice on the verge of extinction in our society. A foundation in yoga helped me explore other ways of finding peace – the priceless inner kind that can’t be counterfeited.

Do you want to overcome the compulsive urge to look at your cell phone at the first sign of boredom? Or learn to weather your child’s breakdowns without having a breakdown of your own? Below are a few simple (and free) stepping-stones to propel your own exploration of meditation. Try one or all four. It’s okay if it takes you a few years to get around to them  :) 

"Despite the growing popularity of meditation, prevailing misconceptions about the practice are a barrier that prevents many people from trying meditation and receiving its profound benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. Here are seven of the most common meditation myths dispelled."

Having someone walk me through a meditation takes the pressure off. (I can only last about ten minutes meditating solo, but ten minutes is enough to change my mood and mindset.) Number 8, on gratitude, is especially good.

“When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)

20 Minute Evening Wind Down Yoga