For those who have never meditated before, it may seem like something that is absolutely impossible. We are expected to sit or lie down with our eyes close and focus on nothing. Really? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Now you’re probably expecting me to tell you all the benefits of meditation and why it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Well, technically it’s been around far longer than sliced bread, so I’m not going to tell you that. I’m also not going to tell you all the benefits. It has been researched and written about over and over and over again for years now, and we all already know the benefits of meditation. If by some off chance you have no idea, here’s a few links to fill you in:
What I am going to tell you is how to start a meditation practice that you can stick to and reap the benefits from for yourself. So, if you have been thinking of starting a meditation practice, but haven’t had the time or have tried it before and found that it “wasn’t for you,” then think again. Meditation is for everyone because it is a necessary part of bringing peace into ourselves and our world.
So, without further ado, here are four ways on how to start and stick to a meditation practice.
Understand that it’s all in your head.
I’m going to be very blunt with you right now. The only reason that you believe “meditation isn’t for you” is merely because that’s what you believe. It’s a negative thought that you fabricated (or that someone else fed to you) when you first heard about meditation. Then when you tried to meditate for yourself, you found it to be challenging, which reaffirmed the original negative thought.
Do you think that when I first started meditating, I didn’t find it challenging? Do you think that I just sat down, closed my eyes, took a deep breath in and achieved enlightenment? No. Not even close. Even to this day, after practicing meditation for a good 3 years almost (and sporadically before then as well), my mind still won’t shut up. I have some good days and some bad days, but I have ultimately come to understand that my overall state of wellbeing is far better when I meditate than when I don’t. If you take the time out to practice regularly, you will see that too. I guarantee it.
Set aside time everyday.
Be diligent about this part. Take 10 minutes after you wake up in the morning or 10 minutes before you go to sleep at night. C’mon, you can spare 10 minutes! No, then make it 5. If you can’t do 5, make it 2. Just start out with whatever you can, and set aside a special time each day to practice. Even a few minutes each day are better than none at all.
Decide what you’re going to focus on.
There are a variety of ways you can approach meditation. You can focus on your breath, you can focus on an idea or concept, you can visualize a situation, or you can even try a guided meditation. If you find you’re not benefitting from one form of meditation, then give something else a try. Go at it from a different approach. There are many different methods you can try, and they are all beneficial. If you’d like some ideas for meditation exercises, check out this free ebook including 5 simple meditation exercises that’ll get you going. You can also try these guided meditations as well, which provides you with a voice to focus on rather than the chatter in your mind.
Don’t give up on yourself.
This goes back to the first point in stating that meditation is challenging, and you are likely to want to give up after your first or second try. It does not come easily to some people, and for most, it may feel as if your thoughts will never quiet down. The thing is that you are never going to reap the ridiculously amazing benefits that meditation has for your life if you don’t get past the initial “hard part.” This “hard part” is otherwise known as consistent practice.
I love chocolate milkshakes but the ones on the highstreet can be full of sugar! However my milkshake doesn't contain any artificial ingredients and is super delicious!
1 small banana or half of a large
One tsp of cashew butter
One tsp of agave syrup (nectar)
Two tbs of cocoa powder
As much of almond or coconut milk as you need
Blend and pour over ice!! Amazing!
Yoga and dance are one in the same. Technically they are completely different things. One is an art form, the other is an ancient discipline derived from India. However, at their very core, they are more similar than they are different.
Being a former dancer, dance BA/MFA and yoga teacher myself, I have always wondered why there are so many dancers that are yoga teachers as well. Was it just because of the physicality that both share, or because the yoga asanas comes easily to dancers due to their physical strength, flexibility, and agility? I assumed those were the main reasons that draw so many dancers towards a life of teaching yoga. Then it dawned on me that there’s more to it than that.
Perhaps the physicality of the yoga asanas are what initially draws dancers towards it, but what makes them stay? I then came to the conclusion that there are more connections between the two that are unspoken. There had to be more to say of their connectedness than simply physicality and convenience.
Here is what I came to discover:
Yoga and dance both…
In both yoga and dance, you need to have discipline. As dancers, discipline is ingrained into us at a young age. Then when we come to take our first yoga class, we already have the discipline needed to stick with the poses. We have the mental and physical ability to discover the true benefit of the postures, whereas others who aren’t coming from a dance background have to “work harder” to achieve that discipline within themselves. We already have it. It’s familiar to us and we already know how to do it, which takes away an extra step that discourages many others from maintaining a yoga practice of their own.
Connect mind, body, and spirit
In yoga, we work to develop a stronger connection between mind, body, and spirit. In dance, that connection is often an oversight because a lot of dancers focus mainly on achieving certain levels of physical strength and flexibility in order to perform the required movements (especially in ballet). However, the artistic nature of dance, the original intent and the form that it has taken with the rise of modern and contemporary dance, have a very strong connection to the spirit as well. There is no way a dancer would be able to perform with the necessary emotions required by a choreographer’s piece if she or he weren’t connected to their spirit. When a dancer performs a choreographic work, she or he has to activate their mind to remember the choreography, their bodies to execute the movement, and their spirit to express the appropriate emotions that the piece requires. Just as in yoga, there is a definitive connection between the mind, body, and spirit that is far more important than just physical strength and flexibility.
Give you more insight into yourself
Along with the natural connection between mind, body, and spirit in both yoga and dance, there also comes a natural discovery of oneself. More often than not, yoga and dance bring out emotions within ourselves that we didn’t even know were there. They both allow you to feel more connected with your true self, and ultimately gain more insight into who you really are.
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