Meditation 101

When a client reached out to me with a question about meditation, I knew she was not alone. I became curious about it a few years ago. Prior to that, I had heard about the benefits but thought meditation was something that “other” people did. After all, how could I control my wandering mind? (spoiler alert…you don’t)

Learning about meditation showed me just how wrong I was in my thinking. Meditation is for everyone regardless of age, religious beliefs and upbringing. 

What is meditation? 

Meditation can be as simple as practicing mindfulness, which is being mindful or aware of something. Focusing on your breath is a good place to start.  It doesn’t have to be a complicated breathing pattern. You can start with breathing in for a count of three, hold for three and release for three. When breathing in, try to push the breath down into your abdomen. A good way to know you are doing this correctly is to place your hand on your abdomen and feel it being pushed out on your inhale and back in on your exhale.

What are some of the benefits?

Mindfulness meditation can relieve stress and help you to relax. Other benefits include an increased enjoyment of life, living more simply and being more present in everything you do. 

With our busy lives, it’s good to know that meditation is one of the simplest habits you can do anytime and anyplace. You can meditate at home, in the car, at work or at your local coffee shop. The possibilities are endless!

Where to get started?

Find a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably. This is your practice so make it work for you. If sitting on the floor on a cushion or pillow is uncomfortable for you, find a chair that works. 

Start with just a couple of minutes. When I first started meditating, two minutes felt like forever. It’s so different now but that was my starting point. 

Focus on your breath in and out for two minutes. That’s it!

Okay, you may be curious about what to do with all those thoughts that come invading your mind while meditating. The idea is not to control them but to observe them. What works for me when my mind is active is to think of my thoughts as beautiful clouds floating by. The only thing I need to do at the moment is observe them.

You’ve started regular meditation. Now what?

My meditation practice is always changing based on my needs at the time. One of my favorite ways to meditate is to listen to Pandora’s Liquid Mind station. At other times, I may need guided meditations when my mind is too active to just focus on my breath. Yep, it happens to me all the time!

Recently I was challenged about the way I think of meditation. I love to go on what I call my “thinking bike rides” when the weather cooperates. I am amazed to discover what comes up during those rides. I head out on my ride with an open mind, ready to take in all the beauty on my route. I have found those rides to be filled with so many “aha’s” that I have had to stop along the way to make some notes on my phone. So now I think of my bike rides as meditation in action.

Want some more tips to get you started? Here are my top 10:

  • Be comfy!
  • Check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling.
  • Sit for just two minutes.
  • Focus on your breath.
  • Wandering minds are ok.  Watch those clouds go by.
  • Listen! Have fun getting to know yourself.
  • Make a one week commitment to get you started.
  • As Nike used to say, “Just do it!” 

Ready to start a meditation practice and could use some accountability around it?  If so, let’s connect for a complimentary discovery session to discuss adding meditation into your life along with other ways I can support you in creating a life you love.

I would love to hear what bubbled up for you when reading this post so feel free to comment below.  Should you have any questions or want to connect, you can schedule a complimentary discovery session below or reach me at anne@anneeppley.com.

Let’s breathe!