Since May 2012 I have been in a whirlwind- and never stopped. I went on trips to Thailand, Napa, and Jacksonville. I fundraised and attended an event for my non-profit. I put together a Fourth of July gathering. I had a cute Australian distracting me (in a good way) for three weeks. I continued teacher training, replanted my backyard, took care of dogs, worked full-time, blogged each weekday, got caught up on SYTYCD, MadMen and Girls, went to a concert, inherited a massive orchid, talked some business ideas with a few friends, and read a few books. And now that the Fourth of July festivities are over… nothing. I worked, I went to yoga, but my active brain is finally, finally, semi-at rest.
I say semi because it is still going, and I need to shush that little honey.
What better way to calm and center myself than through meditation?
I am actually terrible at just sitting there and meditating. I need a little guidance. There are a lot of meditations out there, and the guided meditations I like listening to come from Kathy Freston. I originally saw Kathy on Oprah, hawking her books- so you know she’s legit if Queen Oprah approves of her. You can find her mp3s on Amazon.com. She also has more meditations on CD. I use several of her meditations for a few different scenarios.
Meditation for Life
A few of the meditations I have from Kathy include:
20 Minute Transformational Meditation- Finding a Great Relationship
Creating a Breakthrough
She has a ton of other types of specific meditations as well- if these don’t float your boat.
In order to fully enjoy the meditation, I must be sitting up. Otherwise laying down, I will fall asleep (see the next section).
I use these to:
1) Quiet the mind.
2) Manifest something in my life.
3) Work through something in my life.
I believe meditation and prayer are very similar. I think the only difference is that with prayer you are speaking externally. To God, or a Higher power. In meditation, especially with Kathy Freston, you are also doing the same, but much of the ‘speaking’ is internal. To oneself, versus outward to the Higher Power. They really are quite comparable.
Ok, back to my meditation. Currently, I am focusing on manifesting something in my life, so I am listening to Creating a Breakthrough. I feel a bit sluggish at work and need some movement forward. I also really need to figure out this creative focus in my life- so for the next 30 days, I shall meditate daily on Creating a Breakthrough. Will let you know how that goes.
Meditation for Sleep
If I can’t sleep at night- which is rare, because I can usually sleep on contact- I will do one of two things.
1) The Relaxation Technique I use as my first line of action. I lay flat on my back and slowly, starting with the toes, working all the way up to my head, I ask each body part to completely relax and let go. So I start with Big Toe, and think, “relax, Big Toe, let go. Middle toe, relax, let go. Ring toe….,” and so forth. Then it’s ball of foot, arch, heel, ankle, shin, calf, all the way on up. I usually don’t make it past knee until I fall asleep.
2) One of Kathy’s meditations listed above- although she does have a Sleep Deeply one as well. Without fail, I fall asleep to her lying on my back every single time. I usually wake up to whatever’s next on my iPod and have to turn it off; half asleep.
Meditate vs. Medicate
There have been studies indicating that meditation and yoga improves mental diagnoses in addition to physical ailments… such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, even autism. It is the meditative state that is created from the physical exercise of yoga, and the nature of the practice itself; that is, being present in that moment, and focusing on getting into your positions. Yoga has been proven to calm the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems which can be triggered in any situation – or even chronically. Yoga and meditation could be considered as an alternative to traditional medications.
If you’ve never tried meditation, consider picking up a track on iTunes or Amazon. Pick something that resonates with you- otherwise you’ll never do it. And prepare to devote at least 20 minutes to yourself, daily if possible. Your mind and body will thank you throughout the day/while you sleep at night.