Meditation means different things to different people but no matter how, why, or where you do it, it all boils down to the same thing. Mindfulness, a sense of calm or relaxation, and improved focus. If you’ve never tried meditation it might seem silly, or too good to be true, but that attitude won’t get you very far, with mediation or with life.
My journey with meditation began several months ago as an extension of my yoga practice. Yoga is something that I’ve done on an off since high school. First as a method of stretching for ballet, then as a relaxation technique in college, and finally as a cornerstone of mental fortitude and physical strength in my daily life. I could wax on for hours about all the reasons I love yoga and believe everyone should give it a go, but meditation, and structured breathing never really interested me.
Until my insomnia really began to bother me that is. Everyone in the world has trouble sleeping, with varied frequency of course. For some it’s the cause of stress, others excitement, for me, it’s usually the fault of my bipolar disorder climbing into mania, wherein my mind spins and turns over all the lovely, ceaseless imaginings I could ever want (and not want). Sometimes my mania is a very good thing, allowing me to write 10,000 words or more in a single day without feeling overwhelmed or tired. Other times, it puts me in a very bad mood as my mind rolls around and around in all the negative thoughts it can create becoming ever more agitated by the minute. And sometimes, all this happens at 3 in the morning when I should be sleeping.
I should say that sleep is very important to me. Probably because I don’t get a lot of it. I’m manic about 70% of the time, and while this can be very productive, it can also be incredibly exhausting. So earlier this year, at some ungodly hour of the morning, after laying in bed for several hours, I hopped on to Pinterest in search of something yoga related for sleep. Low and behold, I found out about a practice, called yoga nidra, which is really just a fancy way of saying meditation until you fall into the best sleep you’ve ever had.
I’ve tried several variations of the technique, guided by different individuals, but that initial experience is still my favorite. You can listen to two guided nidra sessions here. I highly recommend them. This is by far the longest style of mediation I’ve encountered, which takes about 45 minutes to an hour, but since it’s kind of the ultimate power nap, I think we can forgive it for being a bit of a time suck.
That wasn’t my first experience with meditation, but it was by far the most relaxing, and emotionally productive.
Recently I discovered Yoga By Candace, a site filled to the brim with helpful videos, diagrams, and articles, that I wish I’d known about years ago. Again, my fascination began in her yoga specific content, but after trying one of her monthly challenges, I stumbled on the best five minute guided meditation I’ve ever tried. I cannot recommend this enough. I wish I could buy the audio on Itunes and load it onto every device I own. It’s a fantastic introduction to meditation and can really help turn around or refocus your day with minimal effort and time. If you’ve never given meditation a thought before, or are interested in trying it out, I highly recommend this video.
Lastly, I stumbled on a lifestyle blog for minimalist, bohemian living, that I absolutely love called BohoBerry run by a lovely lady named Kara. While I found my way there for different reasons (bullet journal anyone?) I quickly snapped up her mantras for meditation post. She also inspired me to invest in mala beads, which are somewhat similar to a rosary (in my mind anyway), and are helpful for keeping track of your mantras while meditating.
On any given day I try to use one of these methods, either to boost my confidence, reduce my stress, relax for a well earned nap, or reset my mood. I believe meditation is something that everyone can benefit from. It’s accessible, doesn’t cost anything, and can help make you into the best version of yourself.
Let me know down below if you have tried any of these meditation methods, or others, and how they help you to become the best version of yourself.