Cultivating your meditation practice
Starting a meditation practice is like planting a garden. You have to consider what you will need to help your garden grow. So here are five steps to cultivating your own meditation practice.
STEP 1 - Take your seat. You can sit on a mat, the floor, or a cushion. Heck, you can sit in your car or at your desk. When my students ask how they should sit, I say - get comfortable. I also recommend you have a place you can regularly visit, free of noise and chaos.
STEP 2 - Find your posture. If you are sitting, rest your hands in your lap, ensure your feet are supported, and lower your gaze or close your eyes. When my students are starting, I encourage them to be comfortable. If your body is comfortable, it won't distract your attention from the meditation.
STEP 3 - Bring attention to your breath. Feel the air move in and out of your nostrils. Notice how you can focus on your breath and be aware of your surroundings. Change it up and bring air in through the nose and exhale through your mouth. Just notice your breath moving in and out and your chest and belly rising and falling.
STEP 4 - Notice when your mind wanders; notice the thoughts that pull you away from breath focus. Whenever you notice a thought, observe it, consider what your mind is saying, and then return to your breath. There is no judgment. There is no frustration that the mind wanders - just curiosity, observation, and returning to the breath.
STEP 5 - Hooray! You just experienced meditation. Now, do this daily practice, and gradually, you will expand to include new focus areas and more silence. This is how you begin a mindful meditation practice.
Meditation + Quotes
It's no secret that meditation is good for you. Studies have proven that regular meditation can do everything from alleviating your anxiety to lowering your blood pressure, improving cognitive function, and even slowing down the process of aging. And many of these benefits can be experienced by quieting the mind for a mere 10 to 15 minutes a day. While quotes about meditation won't replace your meditation practice, they can serve as inspiration. Here are some of my favorites (my comments are in parenthesis):
A day thinking about what could happen, should happen, or what might have been is a day missed. ~ Andy P (Living in presence is what life is about; meditation will help you get there.)
All we came here to do was just be; be our best selves to ourselves and to others. ~ Chantal D
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. ~ Dalai L (Love is all there is. Every day, bring a little love, kindness, and compassion to how you treat others and yourself.)
The little things? The little moments? They aren't little. ~ John K-Z (They are BIG because ...)
Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing. ~ John K-Z (Again, coming into presence and being engaged.)
Mindfulness + Meditation Classes
Morning Meditation - this is an ongoing practice to set you up for the week ahead
Love for All - a free meditation saturated in love
Ho'oponopono Meditation - a 4-week series to free yourself
Mindful Movement + Meditation - a 4-week series to bring you more mindfulness and meditation
Love, Kindness, Compassion - a free meditation seeped in love
Walking meditation - this is a virtual opportunity; come and visualize a walk deep in the woods