100 Day Meditation Challenge sounds counterintuitive…that is what I always thought…until a week after I returned to a dedicated meditation practice and the voice inside me expressed that THIS wasn’t going to be a challenge at all but a significant journey in self-discovery!!!
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the thought, excitement filled me as I visioned exploring where this path would take me in my life. Here I am, 2/10ths of the way and already I am noticing my dedication to a simple practice changing me from the inside out.
Science tells us Meditation has the ability to -
Helps dial down wandering thoughts that lead to worry
(a future based emotion)
Improve concentration and attention span
Preserve the aging brain
Increases have been seen in the area of the brain known as the hippocampus which relates to learning and memory as well as a decrease in the amygdala, the stress related structure. Bottom line, the brain is constantly changing and restructuring based on what you are feeding it - nutritionally, mentally and emotionally!
Sounds like a NO-BRAINER!!!
I am very aware, and I am sure you noticed I called meditation a simple practice…I didn’t say EASY. Like anything in life, with practice, you see and feel improvement. But, you can’t make changes and see improvements until you begin so…how best to begin?
No better time than NOW!
Firstly, it is making a commitment to yourself to give it your best effort. Some will tell you it is best to meditate first thing in the morning when your brain isn’t yet filled with a gazillion thoughts of the day. The time of day is not as important as the act of practicing. My work often starts very early in the day and sleep is important to my health, so morning doesn’t always work for me and instead of putting pressure on myself to meditate at the same time each day, when I wake up, I make an appointment with myself based on that day’s schedule.
Now that you have found a dedicated time to sit quietly, how will you meditate? Will you need an APP to assist you in quieting your mind with a guided mediation or will you be able to sit in silence? You may want to explore both!
Popular APPS include:
The Mindfulness App
All three APPS offer guided meditations or you can also find many wonderful videos on YouTube.
My personal preference is Insight Timer which lets me set the length of time I am meditating as well as setting a chime to let me know I am half way through my session. Because I practice in silence, this is helpful to me as I begin to increase the time I am sitting.
Sitting in Meditation
Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably for the length of time you have allotted. I recommend starting with 2-5 minutes and building up to 15-20 minutes at your own pace. Whether you sit on the floor, on a zafu (meditation pillow) or in a chair, find your neutral posture where your spine is elongated and strong. Let your palms rest on your thighs (close to your knees - this will help you maintain an upright posture). If you need to move or shift, practice it with a consciousness that feels right in the moment. Jarring movements are counterproductive to the quietness you are creating for yourself.
Bring your awareness to your breath. Softly inhaling and exhaling through your nose.
If you are listening to a guided meditation, press play. If you are sitting in silence, find a soft gaze point 4-6 feet out in front on the floor. As thoughts come into your mind, acknowledge them and let them go. It is important to remember that the idea is not to stop thinking but to manage the thoughts you have and to practice bringing your mind back to the present moment because it really wants to go off on a tangent that you can very easily get caught up in ;-)
I like to take time out after my SIT to journal. This gives me the opportunity to understand the role meditation is playing in seeing improvements in ALL areas of my life.
What have I really been noticing in the early days of practicing?
I am more present in my life! I was at a point where I was feeling like I was going through the motions in my daily living…like I just checked out on life. I am feeling more alive and not thinking about what and where I am going next. This is giving me the opportunity to be better at each and every thing I AM doing! I am conscious of the choices I am making in my life - discovering what is truly important to me and what is no longer serving me on my journey to becoming the BEST ME EVER!
If you are on the journey to become the BEST YOU EVER and would like guidance in the area of fitness, yoga, nutrition, and/or meditation, contact me for a complimentary consultation and take the MOST IMPORTANT STEP to making the changes in your life you want to see!