OM, OM, OM….
Good morning brain, today you have at least three hundred thousand million things to do and to think about. To make sure you don’t forget anything and to make sure you feel bad in the advent of having forgotten something; I will keep talking to you the whole day until my brother Sleep takes its turn at watching you. Nonetheless to say I will be annoying and never, ever be quiet all through the day. I’m really talkative, thus never letting you in peace.
Bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, noise, sounds, thoughts, overheated brain
Sometimes our brain just won’t stop, but practicing meditation truly helps to reduce the flow of thoughts and wonders. Here is a thing or two I learned about meditation as a new yoga teacher and 22 years old human being.
Meditation helps to reduce the flow of thoughts
This is surely the most important point of all. Meditation doesn’t mean you should completely stop thinking for a designated amount of time. Meditation is all about learning to be more aware of the present moment, while trying to focus on a specific element so you reduce the amount of thoughts coming into your mind and saying Hi.
Meditation has many forms
I once met a girl at a yoga festival that told me she was always meditating. I internally laughed as I thought that didn’t make any sense. At that point I still never had truly practiced meditation and still couldn’t fully understand how I was supposed to stay still with a quiet mind for so long. That is because I had so many misconceptions about it. Meditation can actually be used as a way to see the world with an awareness of what surrounds you. It’s trying to observe the thoughts more than trying to act on them.
It is thus fairly similar to mindfulness in some ways which I will explain in a future article! Meditation is taking 3 minutes in silence to repeat a mantra, It is to focus on the river while you’re sitting, it is to take 20 minutes, eyes closed, to let your thoughts come and flow as you practice detachment, it is to bring your focus on your breathing as you wait in line; It can basically be anything that implies a conscious effort to reduce the flow of thoughts. Therefore, anyone can practice meditation!
Everyone has time for meditation
Sometimes people won’t meditate because they think it is weird. Sometimes they won’t because they think they don’t have time or because they think they can’t. Meditation is all about patience and accepting your brain won’t ever fully shut down. Therefore, you can start by focussing on your breathing few times in the day or try one of these few ways to start meditating:
- Morning bed meditation: Every morning before you get out of bed, start by sitting legs interlaced on your bed. Set a peaceful alarm 5 minutes later (or more) and be an observer. Start by scanning your body to see if there are any tensions in your muscles after your night of sleep. You can than observe your thoughts as they come and go; trying not to act on them. For example, if you feel the worries of what you have to do in the day, avoid making a mental checklist and go back to your breathing as you might observe other thoughts passing by, before going back again to your breathing.
- Nature meditation: One of my favorite things is to sit quietly by a river and just observe the nature. It is really soothing and will give you even more energy than a power nap will. It is also a good way to take a break in your day, and allow yourself some personal time. Doing actively nothing is really calming!
- Waiting time meditation: I hate waiting. It quickly can get really frustrating and the idea of losing time and having no control over it is annoying. But, I recently discovered that if you turn waiting time in meditation time, you get control over your time and it feels good! Not only does it make it fun to wait, which is an exceptional feeling for a start, it also makes the best out of a not so pleasant situation. You probably will seem like a really peaceful person, as you are more likely to have a smile on your face in the meanwhile. All the love for waiting in line!!
- Evening bed meditation: Just before falling to sleep, place a hand on your belly and one on your chest as you take deep inhale, and exhale slowly. Feel the movement of air flowing up and down. This will not only practice your meditation skills, it will most definitely help you fall asleep!
Mantras and other ways to focus
You can focus on your breathing and try to me an observer of your thoughts, but there is actually a thousand things you can do to focus and have control over your very talkative brain. Also, many variations: sitting, standing, eyes closed or wide open, it’s your call!
- Repeat Om: You might know this mantra is you practice yoga as some teacher include it in their practice. Repeating the sound Om is really soothing and a good introduction to mantras.
- Repeat a word or a list of words: I once had a meditation workshop at the Wanderlust Festival with Sharon Salzberg and she was suggesting to repeat a list of three or four items we wanted to work on or that mattered to us. For example reciting: happy, loved, calm, safe in your head in a loop. It has a great effect on the brain and can help you set goals for the day or remind you what is important to you at the moment. It sets an intention and is a good way to focus on something as you reduce ideas and wonders.
Meditation can be discouraging, hard, challenging
And it is what makes it so beautiful!! It is a process that takes time and is not that easy, but when you start to allow yourself some space for a meditation practice, you will notice you have more and more control over the flood of thoughts passing through your mind. It feels good to be in the moment, and even if that concerns another article, meditating is the open door to mindfulness.
You might have really bad meditation; when your mind won’t cooperates and you just can’t make it happen. You might have really uncomfortable meditation; when you will feel agitated and tired. You might have truly wonderful experience that are either going to calm you, produce an overload of joy, give your insight on things or clear your mind.
Just keep in mind that anything can happen and everything is normal. Just accept it as it comes and try again the next day!
So let go of expectations and start meditation!