May is National Meditation Month! As I’ve mentioned many times, having a meditation practice is one of the top ways I’m able to find my calm on a daily basis, which is why I’ve creating this challenge.
Every day, I’ll share a quick and simple meditative technique that will allow you to find your inner peace, calm, and harmony. To keep with the day’s practice, be sure to follow Black Mom’s Guide to Calm on Instagram and Facebook (I’ll send a weekly reminder via email as well). Here’s the official calendar:
Additionally, here are a few useful resources/tips for the challenge:
- Do the exercises in a quiet, distraction-free space, if possible. Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine.
- When inhaling, breathe through your nose, filling your belly with air like a balloon. When exhaling, breathe through your nose or mouth, bringing your belly button back towards your spine.
- To help you focus on meditating instead of the amount of time that’s passing, use a timer or an app like Calm.
- If you find your mind wandering, bring your awareness back to your breath/the present moment.
- Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your belly to expand while counting to 5.
- Exhale fully through your nose while counting to 5, allowing your navel to go back towards your spine.
- To help keep each breath equal, count in your head. And if/when your mind wanders, bring your focus back to your breath/counting.
- Repeat for 3 to 5 minutes.
Alternate nostril breathing can:
- Give you an energy boost.
- Increase your focus and concentration.
- Bring you calm and help you relax.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Make a gentle fist with your right hand. Extend your thumb and last two fingers, leaving space for your nose.
2. With your thumb, close off your right nostril, and exhale through your left. 3. Fully and deeply Inhale through your left nostril.
4. Close your left nostril with the last two fingers, and exhale fully through the right nostril.
5. Inhale through your right nostril. Close it off then exhale through the left.
6. Repeat steps 2-4 for one minute.
- Find a quite, distraction-free space (if possible), and sit comfortably with a straight spine.
- Inhale fully and deeply, filling your belly with air. Exhale fully, allowing your belly button to go towards your spine.
- Continue breathing deeply, and imagine yourself in a beautiful location, like a beach, mountains, or garden. See yourself as calm and relaxed with everything as you want it.
- Focus on what you can see, hear, feel, touch (e.g., hear the waves of the ocean, feel the sun on your skin, etc.).
- Keep visualizing for a few minutes and/or until you feel more calm.
- When you’re ready, gently bring your awareness back to yourself and the present moment, then open your eyes.
Mindfulness meditation encourages you to observe your wandering thoughts as they drift through your mind. The intent is to not get involved with the thoughts nor judge them but to simply be aware of them, and let them go on by without giving them your energy or attention. As you meditate today and thoughts come, be aware of them, then let them go.
If you find it challenging to “just let them go,” imagine the thoughts on a screen scrolling by or put them in a bubble and let them float away. Then, focus your attention back on your breath.
With concentration meditation, you focus on a single point, like a single word or mantra, a non-moving object (like a candle or figurine), or your inhalations and exhalations, which is what I do primarily. For example, I will inhale and count to four, then exhale and count to four.
Of course, the idea is to continue concentrating the entire time, but you still might find that your mind wanders. When this happens (and it will, no matter how “seasoned” you are as a meditator), gently bring your awareness back to the chosen object of attention, and let the thoughts go.
Here are the links for the guided meditations (on the 15th, 19th, and 30th):
This post will be updated frequently, so be sure to check back for more tips and resources!