A Beginner’s Guide To Meditation
As a CHAARG girl, chances are you’re always on the move. When you finally get a chance to sit down + take a break you’re probably still doing *something*. You scroll through instagram, you watch the latest episode of your show, or you might even be reading this post during one of those *breaks*. We are all guilty of this at times. You need those breaks + that time for yourself, but when was the last time you sat down + truly did nothing? No phone, no music, no books — nada? You might not even remember that last time you did *nothing* + that’s okay! We’ve all been there. So — we’re bringing you some tips on beginning a meditation practice to help you achieve that zen you were hoping to gain from all those *breaks*!
So what exactly is meditation?
You’ve probably heard it mentioned dozens of times, but not really known exactly what it is or how to begin [I know I did]! Meditation is often thought of as the practice of sitting cross legged, with hands resting on your knees while quietly thinking. This is partially true, but meditation doesn’t have to be limited to this! Meditation is reaching a reaching a feeling in which you are at peace + your mind is both calm + in a state of awareness. Yes, you are sitting quietly, but the act of meditation is far from *thinking*.
I know, I know — you’re thinking this sounds impossible. The thought of sitting down, closing your eyes + spending some time alone with yourself might even terrify you. I’ll admit, I was a skeptic. But, I tried it. It was a little scary at first. I felt like I was doing it wrong + I doubted I would ever be able to actually meditate. Reaching a true state of meditation seemed like something only those peaceful + tranquil people could possibly achieve. That definitely wasn’t me, but I would soon discover I could too gain those same feeling of calmness.
Meditation didn’t have to be terrifying, forced, or awkward. I changed my thinking + began believing I would be able to do it. Soon enough it did become just that easy! Meditation became my ability to connect with myself. I was more less stressed, happier + fully at peace with myself. It’ll take some practice, but I believe in you!
How to begin?
#1] DEVOTE YOUR PRACTICE TO YOURSELF
Decide to use your meditation practice as a chance to sit + be present with yourself. Try to focus on using the time as a dedication to your health + happiness, rather than focus on goals you want to achieve. You are meditating for you + you may soon discover some surprising benefits of your practice– but only if you let them come as surprises, not expectations.
#2] FIND A QUITE SPACE
Choose a space where you will be able to sit without being disturbed. Maybe its your room or maybe its the middle of the park. There is no correct space, what matters is that it feels right to you!
#3] SIT COMFORTABLY
There are no *rules* to meditation telling you to sit in a certain pose. Choose whatever position feels most comfortable to you!
#4] CHOOSE THE LENGTH OF YOUR PRACTICE
You don’t have to meditate for 30 minutes or a full hour in order to see benefits. In fact– your practice can be as short as five minutes! Yes, really! I recommend beginning with a short practice so that you allow yourself to get used to meditation, without feeling forced in your practice. Whatever you choose, set a timer. Setting the timer allows you to release the energy of worrying about how long you’ve been sitting + instead allow yourself to relax in the present.
#5] CLOSE YOUR EYES + RELAX
Begin by drawing your attention to each part of your body. Feel how each individual part of you feels that day. Allow yourself to just be aware of the feeling, without judging it. Allow yourself to feel this awareness as you move from the top of your head, to each part of your face, to your neck + down through the rest of your body. See if you can relax each part more deeply.
#6] BEGIN TO FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH
Notice the rhythm of your breath. Feel the gentle expansion + contraction of your stomach with each breath. Feel the subtle changes that each part of the breath brings. You do not need to change your breathing. Use your focus instead to simply develop an awareness of your breathing in that moment.
#7] DIRECT YOUR THOUGHTS TO THE SPACE BETWEEN YOUR BREATHS
Notice the pause between each inhalation and exhalation. Stay present with your breath, allow your natural rhythm to continue.
#8] ACCEPT + ALLOW YOUR THOUGHTS
Allow thoughts to freely come to your mind as you sit in your space. Try to simply develop an awareness of your thoughts, without forming judgements. You do not need to resist your thoughts, simply let them come + go. You are not defined by each thought that floats across your mind. You are simply the watcher of those thoughts, allowing them to drift in + out as they please.
#9] BREATHE + BE PRESENT
Continue in this state of calm, non-judgemental awareness. See if you can gradually increase the space between each of your thoughts. It will take practice, but soon you will begin to feel your thoughts coming more slowly. You do not need to rush your thoughts away, simply allow the natural clearness to come to your mind.
#10] BE GRATEFUL
When your practice ends, press your palms together in front of your heart. Take a few calming breaths, gently bow your chin + find at least one thing you are grateful for. Notice your appreciations, you may even choose to whisper them aloud to yourself. Take a few more relaxed breaths, thank yourself for your practice, lift your gaze + gently open your eyes.
CHECK IN WITH US!
It’s time to put this guide to practice! Hop on your mat + take time to meditate, stretch, or do yoga. Anything that will put you in a relaxing state + #reCHAARG you ; ). Let us know how it went! Make sure to tag #reCHAARG + @CHAARG in your post today!
+Teresa [@tasandoval], OSU CHAARG