I wanted to meditate and be all zen and stuff, but it just wasn’t working.
I tried a few meditation apps with some success, but got bored or really distracted.
I tried meditating in yoga class, which was great, but I went home and didn’t have an instructor with me guiding me through it.
For some reason, I couldn’t reach this amazing place that I thought I needed to find. I grew to think that all these people that talked about how great meditation was were secretly just as distracted as I was, with thoughts of dinner and the latest book and the shoes I saw online today and I need to remember to….
I eventually got annoyed that I couldn’t do it. I had this picture of what meditation should be, and I just couldn’t figure it out. Until I stopped trying, that is.
There is no “right way” to meditate
I stopped trying to meditate the way my yoga teacher or the movies taught me it needed to look like. One day, while scrolling online, I found a short video of a monk that described meditation as the awareness of your breath. That’s it. So simple. No transcendental state, no grand epiphanies, no perfectly calm mind, no expectations of the perfect zen. Just be aware of your breathing. So simple.
So, I tried it with a different approach. This time, I sat down and practiced my yoga breathing (ujjayi- deep breathing in and out the nose) and just relaxed. My mind was all over the place. My thoughts came in and out. However, I wasn’t stressing out about it. When I lost focus, I just listened to the sound of my own breath. That’s it. Nothing complicated. Listened and relaxed. I just listened to my breath.
I grew to really enjoy it. What I found is that I can meditate (be aware of my breath) anywhere. Sometimes I do it in meetings or conference calls. Sometimes I do it while standing in a crowded line to calm me down. Mostly, however, I do it in the morning as a part of my morning routine to start my day with positive energy. And when my mind wanders, I just gently remind myself to listen and feel my breath. That’s it.
Meditation can bring bring tremendous health benefits, including boosting your immune system, reducing high blood pressure, helping you sleep better, and more. On a more practical level, meditating a couple times a week (or even daily) can reduce stress and anxiety and calm your day. I don’t know anyone who needs less calm in their lives.
2 Simple Steps to Learn to Meditate
I get it – you say it’s still not for you. I challenge you to try focusing on your breath for 3 minutes 3 times a week and see how you feel. You can do it anywhere. Here are some easy steps to get started.
1 – Find an environment that helps you relax. Maybe that’s a corner of your couch or bed, on the bathroom floor with the door shut (no judging). Or maybe it’s hiding in your car for 5 minutes longer when you park the car in the driveway. If standing in line for the subway is all the time you’ve got, then just go with it. Just find a space that you can think in.
2- Close your mouth and breathe in and out of your nose deeply and slowly. Focus your attention on your breath. When your mind wanders, don’t beat yourself up. Just direct it back to your breath. Listen to your breath and feel how your breath moves through your body. That’s it – you’re doing it.
Bonus points if you can:
- Make a permanent space for meditation and visit that space daily
- Enhance your meditation with Lavender essential oil (which can deepen your relaxation) or Frankincense essential oil (which can provide a sense of grounding AND immune system benefits). I use both of those plus a blend called Peace and Calming to calm my mind.
- Play some quieting or calming music as you breathe
I’d love to hear if meditation is difficult for you and whether you are trying these 2 simple steps out.
Share below if you have a friend who could use some relaxation.