My daily meditation practice has been a game-changer in my life. No question. But as recently as spring of this year, meditation was simply a fleeting activity –something I would do for 5 minutes at the end of yoga class. Meditation was never a part of my daily routine.
That is, until April when I embarked on a personal meditation challenge. The goal? Make meditation part of my daily practice and meditate for as many days in a row as possible. So I downloaded an app that tracked my meditation stats and I started my new practice with gusto. And yes, I know it sounds ironic and very un-zen to use an app to track meditation stats… but in my defense the app also gave me reminders to meditate every day and that helped me stay on track.
To my surprise, this new habit resulted in a 40-day stretch of meditating every day. Every single day, without exceptions. I came out of this experience with my eyes wide open.
Here’s what I learned during the journey.
The biggest misconception about meditation – and the reason most beginners are intimidated by the practice – is the thought that it’s difficult or you need to have some special knowledge or technique. While there’s certainly a lot of information out there, please don’t let this put you off meditation altogether. When I started, I would simply close my eyes and focus my attention on my breathing or on the space between my eyes. And then I would breathe. That’s all! Easy. As I became more comfortable, I would experiment with mantras and other techniques, but I kept it simple when I was starting out.
YOU CAN DO IT ANYWHERE
You can quite literally meditate anywhere providing it’s safe to do so. Middle of a busy street, not such a great idea, but you get the gist. All you need is a space where you can sit comfortably without interruption. That’s really all you need. If you have a meditation pillow, great. And if you want to wear funky kundalini garb, go ahead (I found sweatpants ideal to be honest!). But you really don’t need anything special. And did I mention it’s free?? How great is that!
IT POSITIVELY IMPACTS EVERY FACET OF YOUR LIFE
I was astounded at the difference I noticed in my mindset and behavior during those 40 days. I was calmer, less likely to react, and all-round zen as all heck. Not only did I feel amazing during my meditations, but it also spilled over into every minute of every day. The effects last, too – recently I found myself stuck in traffic and I noticed how I involuntarily started my meditation breathing to keep me calm. Isn’t that a better coping mechanism than reaching for a drink at the end of a long day or shouting at your spouse…? It’s a no-brainer.
One last tip – start slowly. If you’re a beginner, don’t overwhelm yourself with the prospect of a 20-minute meditation. That’s akin to waking up and running a marathon with zero training. Instead, start with 2 or 3 minutes of meditation every day, then build up to 5 minutes, then 8, then 10 and so on. Build up your mental stamina, just as you would with physical training.
I hope this served you. Meditation has made a huge difference in my life and I wish the same for you.
Author Bio – Cheryl Muir is a Certified Life Coach and Leap Management Expert and the Founder and CEO of Cheryl Muir Media Company. Through powerful one-on-one coaching sessions, Cheryl helps women face their fears and navigate huge life transitions so they can live a life they love. Cheryl is based in Vancouver, Canada and was born-and-raised in Cumbria, England. To find out how Cheryl can help you, visit www.cherylmuir.com.