Today’s topic for 5 Days to More Calm is meditation which is probably the top practice I use to find calm. Meditation can be defined as “a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state.” (Yoga International) Additionally, it can be a way to find your inner peace and a way to train your mind so you’re not constantly caught up in your thoughts.
I discovered the amazingness of meditation through starting my yoga practice. At the time, I did an online meditation challenge with yoga instructor Faith Hunter and fell in love with it. Becoming a consistent meditator is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, and the practice has literally changed my life. It has taught me to be in the present moment more often, I’m able to hear Spirit and my intuition more easily, and I can tap into my inner peace when I need to throughout the day.
- Helps you create a more positive mindset and helps you focus on more productive thoughts.
- Decreases your tendency to worry and/or overthink.
- Can lessen anxiety and depression.
- Reduces your stress levels.
- Improves your concentration.
- Strengthens your immune system.
Some types of meditations you can try include:
- Concentration: You focus on an object (like the flame of a candle, a figurine or crystal), a mantra/word or affirmation as you meditate. If/when your mind wanders, bring your awareness back to your object of focus.
- Mindfulness: In this type of meditation, the intent is to allow your thoughts to come and go while also being aware of your breathing and any sensations you feel.
- Mantra: Here, you can repeat a mantra like ‘Om,’ ‘Peace,’ or ‘Relax.’ Or use an affirmation (or a few) like, ‘I am calm and centered,’ or ‘All is well.’
Here are a few tips and ideas for getting started with your home practice:
Set up space for it. You can use a spare room if you have it (but you definitely don’t need it) or space in your bedroom. You can include things like a yoga mat or meditation pillow, incense, candles, crystals and/or anything that brings you calm and positive vibes.
Prepare your body.
Ways to sit: If you’re on the floor or on your bed, you can sit in traditional meditation style, kneel or with your legs in front of you. If you’re in a chair, plant your feet on the floor. Keep a straight spine (you can sit against a wall if you need to).
Hands: A few simple ways to place your hands are: palms up or down on your legs, prayer position with your hands at your heart or bring your index finger and thumb together while resting your hands on your legs.
Breathing: The simplest technique to use is deep abdominal breathing. Inhale fully, allowing your belly to expand, and exhale completely, letting your belly button go towards your spine. If you find it challenging to keep your breath even and/or to focus, as you inhale, count to 5, and as you exhale, count to 5.
Make time for it. Decide how often you want to meditate and what time(s) of day. Then put a reminder in your phone or add it to your to-do list. Try different times/days to see what works best for you.
Start small. You can begin with 5 minutes a day (or even less if you need to), then work your way up to longer times as you grow in your practice.
Remember it’s a practice. You may fall off with your consistency or feel like it’s not working or find that it’s challenging to keep your mind still and focused. It’s okay; it happens (yes, even to me, even after all these years). I encourage you to do your best, to keep going, and know that the more you practice, the more you will reap the benefits of meditation.
Need assistance with starting your meditation practice? My book, ‘The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm’ has tips to help! Learn more and order/download your copy in the Black Mom Calm Shop.