MEDITATION FOR SMARTIES
You thought I was going to say Dummies there, didn't you? Anyone who understands the benefits and implements meditation is no dummy! You can't do it wrong, so get to doing.
Reduces anxiety by lowering levels of blood lactate.
Helps in chronic disease, such as arthritis and allergies.
Relaxes the nervous system.
Produces lasting beneficial change in brain electrical activity.
Increases serotonin levels, influencing mood and behavior.
Resolves phobias and fears.
Helps with focus and concentration.
Improves learning ability and memory.
Increases feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
Increases emotional stability.
Improves relations at home and at work.
Increases ability to be able to see the bigger picture in a given situation.
Increases ability to solve complex problems.
Aids in developing will power.
Develops the ability to react more quickly and effectively in a stressful event.
Increased job satisfaction.
Increases sense of responsibility.
Gives composure to act in considered and constructive ways.
Develops emotional maturity.
Builds greater inner-directedness.
Increases acceptance of oneself.
Is FREE ‘healthcare.’
Sold? Let's do it.
Using a meditation pillow (or any pillow!) is not essential, but if you’re going to be meditating often or for an extended period of time, it’s a great idea because sitting on a hard floor and trying to maintain a straight back can get tiring. To use the pillow, sit on it with the backend of your butt and fold your legs in front of you like a paperclip. (Essentially ‘Indian style’ *the new terms is criss-cross, applesauce to be more PC*, but without your legs touching, they fall parallel to one another.) You do not want any body part, especially heavy legs, resting on one another because it could bring you out of concentration if something starts getting tingly.
Sit on your pillow. Place your hands palm down or palm up on your thighs, or fold them in your lap. Straighten your back so your spine is stacked- meaning, do not flex your muscles to hold yourself up, make sure you’re positioned so your spine just stacks upon itself. Feel free to sit against a wall if you're not finding comfortable positioning with a straight spine.
Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. I like to use ‘meditation music’ (search for it on iTunes, basically just some swirly, calming noises). I also like the music to be coming from headphones, as I find it most effectively takes me out of bedroom and into meditation land.
Once you’re comfortable, let all thoughts fall away. This is easier said than done, but I promise it gets easier. The trick to meditating is to stay PRESENT. You must be fully present to keep tabs on your brain, as it tends to want to check out and let your thoughts run wild again. Every time this happens, just bring yourself back to the calm. If a thought occurs, observe it as if it were a cloud, do not indulge in it- and it’ll pass.
Here are some techniques I use personally:
1. Put abstract pictures to the music you’re listening to. I imagine swirling dark colors. Just sit back and observe.
2. Imagine you’re floating in space. Sometimes my head feels like a big balloon and I probably look like a lunatic as I move it around. While you’re in space, just observe the stars- don’t formulate full thoughts like ‘oh look, there’s Earth.’ We want words and thoughts to take a rest for a bit.
3. Count from 1-10 over and over again. I like to imagine the number, get a good look at it, then let it dissipate… then I move on to the next number. Again, no complete thoughts. Just observe, let colors, shapes, and light take over.
4. Repeat a mantra. A good one to start with is ‘Om.’ Actually be vocal about it, say the Om aloud. I like to start with a powerful ‘OH’ then bring my lips together to hum the rest of the word. Let the vibrations feel good in your throat and mouth.
5. Imagine the air going in your lungs and traveling back out with each breath. No complete thoughts, just look at the air.
6. Imagine you’re inside your brain. This one is what usually happens naturally to me. I am myself, seeing through my own eyes- and standing in my brain. My brain seems like a black empty cave, PS. This might be indicative, so maybe you shouldn’t read my blog anymore.
Kidding. Happy meditating.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at Tory@hotchickpea.com.