Last week I wrote a post about beginning meditationand received so many encouraging comments, emails and questions from our community! Many of you felt daunted by the task of clearing your minds and "finding a calm space." Several of you also mentioned feeling caught up with your breath, causing an unnatural, "out-of-sorts" breathing. I thought I'd follow-up with another exercise that will offer one more tool in your meditation tool kit.
When I recently participated in my second Chopra Center Meditation Challenge I found this regular, daily reminder such a welcome way to hold myself accountable for my meditation practice and yet let go...which is really what meditation is all about for me.
While I have the best intentions, even as a health coach I find I need accountability. As I offer support for my clients I find it very important to find sources to support myself to live by example. Meditating on a consistent, regular basis cultivates an inner calm and peace that lasts beyond the actual meditation. These challenges have helped to reset my daily practices and reconnect me to this valuable source of calm strength within my own day.
When I meditate, I find I am able to leave behind some of my mind’s restless, confused clutter - to a place of calm, strength and clarity. Often when I meditate I am left with a sense of expanding, openness and connection.
Curious about incorporating meditation into your daily rituals? Here is another basic meditation exercise that I find useful to get me started.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
No tools are necessary however a comfortable, quiet place to sit will help. A set of prayer beads or mala beads may help you to relax and focus on your meditation rather than on counting. Otherwise you can simply count by fours by lightly tapping your thumb to each finger on your right or left hand.
Choose your mantra. This can be something as simple as a personal affirmation that resonates with you in the moment, such as "I am enough," "I am fulfilled and joyful," "I am openly accept abundance into my life now," I feel deep gratitude," I am love." You may also choose to create your own uniquely personal mantra.
I have found that I enjoy choosing a sanskrit mantra such as any of those listed below for their specific ancient meaning. I find these to be a wonderful point of focus.
Ganesha: Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha
Rough Translation: 'Om and salutations to the remover of obstacles for which Gum is the seed.'
Lakshmi: Om Shrim Mahalakshmiyei Swaha
Rough Translation: 'Om and salutations to that feminine energy which bestows all manner of wealth, and for which Shrim is the seed'
Durga: Om Dum Durgayei Namaha
Rough Translation: 'Om and Salutations to that feminine energy which protects from all manner of negative influences, and for which Dum is the seed.'
Saraswati: Om Eim Saraswatyei Swaha
Rough Translation: 'Om and salutations to that feminine energy which informs all artistic and scholastic endeavor, and for which Eim (pronounced I'm) is the seed.'
Shiva: Om Namah Shivaya
This mantra has no translation but may be seen as 'Om and salutations to that which I am capable of becoming.'
Rama: Om Sri Rama Jaya Rama, Jaya, Jaya Rama
Rough Translation: 'Om and Victory to Rama (the self within), victory, victory to Rama.'
Interested in hearing a few pf these mantras? You may find this useful. Find more from Thomas Ashley-Farrand on mantras.
Select a mantra that feels right for you right now. This may change as you continue to meditate and develop a sense for your own style and specific needs.
Now let's get started!
MANTRA MEDITATION EXERCISE
(2-5 minutes or as long as it takes to say your mantra 108 times - When you are beginning setting a gentle timer may help.)
Sit in a comfortable position.
Close your eyes.
Starting from your head down, begin to soften and relax your muscles (eyelids, jaw, shoulders, hands, belly, feet).
Now gently place your attention on mantra. Begin to recite your mantra. Use whatever tool assists you to count. There is a lot of symbolism in the 108 repetitions, but if at first you lose track of the counting don’t worry. Chanting the mantra a different number of times is still beneficial and it is the discipline of trying that matters.
Breathe in and out naturally.
Notice any feelings and sensations that arise and allow them to pass.
If your attention wanders from your mantra, gently bring it back.
How you feel before and after this experience?
Add this meditation to your daily ritual at a regular time each day. Perhaps just after your wake-up or before bed. You may find that you prefer to use a different mantra for different times of the day or you may find one mantra that simply feels right. I find that after I workout or do my yoga asana practice is the best time for me to sit in meditation.
As you practice, you may find that your body or other distractions or thoughts call for your attention. Be kind to yourself and gently guide your attention back to your mantra and your purpose.
Keep a daily journal for ten days, listening and noticing everything that comes to you. Refrain from judging, Instead, simply allow these feelings and observations to rise to the surface.
If you used the One Point of Focus exercise how does this practice feel differently to you?
After ten days take a moment to read your journaling. Healthy daily habits often encourage others to form. Once healthy habits start to flow, they build their own momentum and clear a path for greatness moving forward.
This one daily habit of meditation has literally transformed my life...It was after just such an exercise, that I made the decision to return to school and pursue my holistic health coach certification.
I have often found answers and knowledge bubbling to the surface during my meditations. Now when I am searching for clarity, I find I often return to my meditation practice to help me to relax, focus and allow the inner answers to flow. Clearing the way for great...
Let me know how your meditation practice is coming along! Don't worry if your mind still races or feels full, often times for me my mind slows but never completely clears. I simply feel a space between my thoughts. What do you feel? May peace and success be with you...
In Health & Gratitude,
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