Hopefully you found our article about implementing a meditation practice helpful and have been working with your own personal mantra and using it as a meditation, possibly even with a new mala! If you missed that one, check it out here.
Today, let’s highlight several other meditations that are easily implemented into your daily routine. When you are beginning a mindfulness practice or if your current practice is getting stale, it can be refreshing and eye opening to try something new on your cushion to bring forth healing in a different way!
Each meditation has its own merits and benefits. Some will work for you while others you may dislike completely. Take your time with each. I like to stick with a meditation style for at least a week before making the decision to remove it from my practice. As we say in yoga, the pose you avoid is often the one you need the most! Give yourself grace as your mind, body, and soul adjust to this new commitment and habit in your life.
A meditation practice ebbs and flows with everything going on in your life. There will be days you will tap into that quiet center within you almost instantly but there will also be days that your mind is racing and you keep getting distracted by your to-do list. That’s okay! On those days, a detached awareness meditation might be more challenging (but often times more rewarding!) but there are still several other meditations that can provide the calming, centering relief you need!
Gazing (Candle) Meditation:
-In a darkened, quiet space, light your candle (think about choosing a scent to match with your intention, energizing, soothing , or calming)
– Sit 3 feet from the candle in a comfortable position.
– Taking a few long, deep breaths to center yourself and draw your attention to the candle’s gaze.
– Your mind may begin to naturally wander, mindfully re-direct your focus back to the flame.
– Because your eyes are focused on the candle and unable to see anything beyond it, you will be working to enhance mental stability and focus, as well as sending your mind into a state of relaxation and peace.
Focused Breath Meditations:
Mindful Breathing is a great option when you are feeling jumpy, anxious, or tense. You will focus your attention onto your breathing, the inhales and the exhales.
- Exaggerated Breath: Taking a deep inhale through your nose for a count of 3, hold that breath at the top for a count of 2, and take a long exhale out your mouth for a count of 4. Repeat this for approximately 5 minutes and work your way up to longer. Exhaling for longer than you inhale sends your body into a relaxed state, reminding yourself that you are safe and supported.
- Infinity Breath: Picture the infinity symbol in your mind. As you inhale and exhale, imagine your breath flowing through that shape in an even pattern. You can even trace that symbol with your finger. Repeat this for approximately 5 minutes and work your way up to longer. As you do this, remind yourself of the knowledge the infinity symbol gives us as it represents balance and simplicity; It reminds us that in a world full of distraction, to be aware of where we are, right now, and the endless possibilities the Universe puts in front of us.
While teaching this meditation in class, I always use the analogy of a train going by outside. The world outside continues, and thoughts may come into our mind, as if on a freight train, but we simply acknowledge them, rephrase them, and let them float by as the train continues on its journey.
- As you sit quietly, letting your breath begin to gently deepen, thoughts may enter your mind. For example, “I don’t have time for this. I have to do x,y,z. How long have I been sitting here?”
- Acknowledge the thought. “The thought that I don’t have time for this just popped into my mind.” This puts the control of your thoughts back into your hands. You are not at the mercy of your thoughts, you are aware and in control.
- Rephrase the thought with gratitude. “Thank you for reminding me how important it is that I make time for this.” “I’m proud of myself for taking this time.” “Thank you for reminding me this is about the journey, not the destination.” Anything that reminds you that it is okay that this is happening and no meditation practice is completely thought free and perfect.
- Gently bring your attention back to your breath and repeat when the next train floats through your brain.
- Repeat this for approximately 5 minutes and work your way up to longer.
Remember, the most important thing to building a meditation practice is to just start. The next most important thing is to be consistent! Any amount of time is 100% more effective than no time. Remember to give yourself grace!