Meditation for Beginners
Meditation for Beginners
Keeping It Real…
Jumping right in today with my Keeping It Real moment: this is something I’m sure many of you can relate to …this is around self-confidence and believing in myself. Now, if you met me on the street or have taken my classes or heard about me through social media you may not believe what I’m going to share is real for me because I carry myself pretty confidently and am considered a highly positive passionate and strong woman.
Meanwhile, every week before this show I say to myself…
“yikes, do I really have something valuable to share? Can I do it again? Who am I to try to motivate others?”
And I have a mini panic attack every Monday about 5 hours before the show.
Now, the good news about age and experience on this planet is that we get to draw on all of our past life experiences to influence our future experience. Hopefully, this is usually done in a positive way. I have done plenty of work on myself over the years and worked hard on any issues I have so when I’m having this mini panic attack I have learned how to talk myself right out of it.
It goes like this…
“Rebecca, you have had a radio show that was weekly for a year and a half prior to this! You never ran out of fun interesting topics to talk about and every week you got amazing feedback from listeners and peers. Stop second-guessing yourself and flip this anxiety to passion and confidence in everything you are about. It’s the same!”
I’m sure anyone who has to perform or be on stage in front of an audience goes through something similar. In fact, I know it’s true, as many of my friends report that same anxiety prior to a performance. And we all get through it.
Here’s the best way to shift this performance anxiety issue.
The first step is the mental aspect and this involves changing the messaging. Reaffirm that we have done this before successfully and we can and will repeat it again successfully.
The second step is to revisit or replay a successful time doing the thing you are panicking about and let the feeling of successfully completing it course through your system.
The final step is to use some sort of anxiety reliever practice such as breathwork or meditation prior to your event or show. I’m excited because this last piece is what I am going to discuss in depth.
Moving on to my RK Musings for the week. This is a big one.
I was thinking over the last few days (I am still healing from my hip surgery) that this hip issue really was a gift! As much of a pain as it was for a year and half, there were so many gifts I received from the Universe as I struggled with it.
For years I lived behind a story that I created for myself to make myself feel safe.
This story had to do with being the girl or the woman who was super fit and super athletic and a machine in the gym. I used my fitness and wore my strength as a shield of sorts to protect me from facing certain past traumas in my life or from losing my power to people I didn’t trust.
Being super fit became an identity of sorts. But I what I have learned over the last several years (and especially during the last year and a half) was that I am not my body.
I am not workouts or the number of lunges I can do.
I am so much more.
Being somewhat debilitated with this injury caused me to start exploring deeper aspects of my strengths as a woman and the gifts I have to offer the world.
This injury forced me to discover breathwork as an outlet for pain, anxiety, and sadness.
I didn’t have my workouts to use for relief anymore. I also discovered this was another modality for healing that I was passionate about sharing with others and teaching. I came to terms with the fact that my old story of needing to look strong and workout harder than anybody in the gym was not serving my spirit anymore and certainly wasn’t allowing me to go to my next phase in my life – which I call my wisdom phase.
The bottom line of this today’s musing is – what story are you hiding behind that is holding you back or keeping you safe and just within your comfort zone, never letting you feel that sweet taste of discomfort that when pushed through feels like pure joy?
I will ask all to ponder – what story are you willing to let go of so you can truly be your highest version of yourself?
Take it To the Bank
Last week we touched briefly on getting started with a basic exercise body weight routine that requires nothing more thank you and some space. We also discussed cleaning out your refrigerator and pantries to start addressing your diet. But I want to stress that fitness and wellness are so much more than just exercise and diet. I have a belief and a philosophy that I call booty, body, breath. It’s my version of mind, body, spirit. To me – all three of these realms must be in balance and supported daily to truly feel aligned in our spirits.
It’s wonderful to look great in your bikinis or briefs but if you aren’t fueling your body properly and you have zero energy to enjoy a day at the beach, who cares?! If you are fueled properly but are 20-50 pounds or more overweight, your body will struggle when you ask it to move. And even if both of those elements are spot on – you’re fueled properly and your body is a high perfo0rmance machine, but you are bogged down with stress, grief, past resentments, or just an overactive monkey mind, you will never truly enjoy the physical benefits of your body. This is where incorporating some sort of mindfulness practice comes into play.
If you are new to the idea of meditation or breathwork please have an open mind and be willing to give this a try. You always have the option of going right back to your life exactly as it was.
Meditation for Beginners
8 Easy Steps for Beginning Meditation
I will first take you through 8 steps for setting yourself up for a meditation or breathwork session. Then, I will show you an easy breathwork exercise that you can use anywhere to relieve stress and anxiety and re-energize throughout the day
To me, meditation is personal. From the way you do it, to the length of time you do it, to whether you use music, a mantra, sit on a pillow or a chair – it’s personal and no one can really dictate the “right” way to meditate.
But what is key is to find what works for you and give it a go.
You’ve got nothing to lose but a few silent moments.
That’s the worst case! The best case is that it calms you, de-stresses you, rejuvenates you and inspires you.
You may be interested in reading my Guide to Meditation Basics.
1. Location for Meditation
Find a quiet place in your home or outdoors. Somewhere in nature, like a park, the head of a hiking trail, the beach are wonderful places. Sit on a pillow or a blanket – make it a special “seat”.
2. Body Position for Meditating
Whenever possible, you want to remove your shoes – get grounded! Free those toes!
Sit with your legs crossed – either in Indian style or in Lotus position. It is important to sit up straight so you have good spinal alignment. If neither of those are available due to body issues, seated in a chair with an upright back is an option. There is a great chair called a blackjack which you can find on Amazon that allows you to sit upright but still be on the floor.
Eyes open or closed? Many people believe eyes open is best – others believe eyes closed is the ticket. I believe, whatever gets you into your quiet space is the way to start. Relax your eyes – don’t clench them closed – think soft eyelids. When closed, focus your energy on your third eye or sixth chakra area – the space right between the eyebrows.
From a physiological aspect, deeper breaths relax us while shorter breaths make us anxious and stressed. So, keep it simple at first, and focus on long breaths. Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Fill your belly with the inhale. Big full belly. Count to 6 or 8 on the inhale – hold for a 1 count – then exhale with a count of 8.
The use of a mantra can be very helpful. When I first started meditating I used mantras. I started with the simple word “OM” and repeated it with each exhale. Then, I used mantras in my head. For example, repeating a very short gratitude affirmation or self- empowerment mantra. Some days doing my meditation with no mantra worked best. Find what works for you.
6. Music for Meditation
Many people (myself included) find using music with their meditation is best. Find what works for you. I love the sound of water flowing, Chinese bamboo flutes and chimes. To me these sounds work wonders for soothing my mind and spirit. Here are two great sources to start with to find great music.
Try using music – if it distracts you – then abandon that concept and go only with the sound of your breath.
7. Using Candles During Meditation
I have always found a candle and the flame from it to be an excellent way to ground me and help get me centered. I focus my gaze on the flame and from there I gently close my eyes to begin my meditation. Also, candles create great ambiance. Of course if you are doing a nature meditation candles aren’t always an option – instead, use a flower or a tree leaf or the water to bring your focus inward.
Don’t stress over how long you should meditate. You will find the right length of time varies from session to session. In the beginning, just start with small chunks of time from 3-5 minutes. Learning to meditate is like building any muscle, it takes time to grow and get stronger. When you see the value of even just a few minutes of meditation you will eventually want to sit for longer sessions.
The Goal of Meditation
The only goal should be to clear your mind, calm your spirit, and revitalize your soul. This doesn’t mean that during your meditation you shouldn’t think of anything. Thoughts will definitely creep in. Give them some love and tell them, “not now,” and get back to your breath or your mantra. The goal is for you to give back to your spirit.
Sometimes the only way to get back to “good” is to take us out of the rat race – away from all the over-stimulation to reconnect to ourselves.