#MeditateInMay Meditation Experience

 

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

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 . Click here to download the calendar.

Meditation/breathing tips:

  • 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.

Equal Breathing

  • 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.

Here’s how to do a walking meditation

Visualization Meditation

  1. Find a quite, distraction-free space (if possible), and sit comfortably with a straight spine.
  2. Inhale fully and deeply, filling your belly with air. Exhale fully, allowing your belly button to go towards your spine.
  3. 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.
  4. Focus on what you can see, hear, feel, touch (e.g., hear the waves of the ocean, feel the sun on your skin, etc.).
  5. Keep visualizing for a few minutes and/or until you feel more calm.
  6. When you’re ready, gently bring your awareness back to yourself and the present moment, then open your eyes.

Mindfulness Meditation:

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.

Concentration Meditation

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):

Guided Meditation to Get Grounded

Guided Meditation for Self-love and Self-worth

Everything is Working Out! Guided Meditation

 

This post will be updated frequently, so be sure to check back for more tips and resources!

#MeditatingInMarch: Start Your Home Practice

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Welcome to week 3 of #MeditatingInMarch! This week’s focus is on starting your meditation practice at home:

1. Find/create space. Having a space that inspires you and/or makes you feel peaceful will likely motivate you to actually meditate. If you don’t have an entire room you can use (I don’t), no worries! Just use what you have and get creative. You can use a corner in your bedroom or put your items (like crystals, incense, candles, etc.) on your nightstand or table.

2. Make time. To become consistent with your practice and experience the amazing benefits of meditation, you must make time for it. Ways to do this: 

  • Write it in your planner.
  • Put a reminder in your phone.
  • Schedule it in your calendar.

3. Start small. If you’re just getting started with meditation, you don’t have to start with an hour, 30 minutes, nor even 15 minutes a day. Begin with 2 to 5 minutes, then work your way up to longer times as your practice continues.

4. Be gentle with yourself. If you remember nothing else, please remember this: Meditation is a practice. There will be days when your mind won’t stop wandering; there will be times when it feels like it’s not working. Just remember that the more you do it, the easier it becomes (most days). And the more you keep at it, the more often you reap the benefits.

Check out the YouTube Channel for guided meditations to help you get started!

#MeditatingInMarch: How to Meditate and Types to Try

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

This month, I’m doing a weekly series to help you get started with (or continue) your home meditation practice.

Welcome back to #MeditatingInMarch! This week we’re focusing on how to meditate and three types to try. One of the most common things I hear from people is they want to meditate (or at least attempt to), but they don’t actually know how to do it. If this is you, here are the very basics:

  1. Find a quiet, distraction-free place if possible. If you can’t, no worries; consider using headphones to drown out any noise.
  2. Sit comfortably with a straight spine. You can sit in traditional meditation style — each foot under the opposite knee, with your feet flat on the floor (if you’re in a chair or on the bed), kneel, or with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  3. Place your palms up or down on your thighs, or bring your palms together at your heart.
  4. Breathe fully, deeply, and slowly. When you inhale, fill your belly with air like a balloon. As you exhale, allow your belly button to go back towards your spine. Note that it takes practice to learn how to breathe properly, so be gentle with yourself and give yourself time.
  5. Release your thoughts. Something else people tell me regarding why they “can’t meditate” is that they can’t quiet their minds. Learning how to let go of your thoughts when meditating takes practice. And even when you’ve been meditating for years, you’ll still have to work at this. Again, be gentle with yourself.

3 Types of Meditation

Now that you know the basics of meditation, here are a few types you can try to see which you prefer:

1. Concentration.

With concentration meditation, you focus on a single point, like a word or mantra, a non-moving object (like a candle or figurine), or your inhalations and exhalations, counting to four when you inhale, then again when you exhale (for example). The idea is to focus the entire time, but you’ll likely find that your mind wanders. When this happens (and it will, no matter how much of a seasoned meditator you are), gently bring your awareness back to the chosen object of attention and let the thoughts go.

2. Mindfulness: 

Mindfulness meditation encourages you to observe your wandering thoughts as they drift through your mind. The intent is not to get involved with the thoughts nor judge them, but to simply be aware of them, and release then, letting them float on by without giving them too much of your energy or attention.

3. Affirmation: 

I’m not sure if this is the official name, but affirmation meditation is just as the name suggests: using affirmations while you meditate. You can find/choose affirmations for whatever you’re working towards in your life, like creating calm, joy, abundance, etc.

Here are a few tips for creating your own:

  • Begin with the words “I am,” and/or the present tense. Speak your desires/intentions as if they’re happening now.
  • If you’re having trouble believing what you’re saying, start your affirmation with, “I believe it’s possible to…” or “I give myself permission to…”
  • Make it positive. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t let people disturb my peace,” say, “I only allow positive, peaceful people around me.”

Enjoy these tips? Found this post valuable? Please share with your people who need it!

Also, if you need assistance in beginning and/or becoming consistent with your meditation practice, check out Black Mom’s Guide to Calm YouTube Channel.

How to Incorporate Meditation In Your Daily Life

One of the top ways I make sure I stay calm, grounded and centered every day is by meditating. My meditation practice allows me to begin my day on a positive and peaceful note, helps me worry less, and it helps me stay in the present moment (just to name a few benefits).

If you don’t have one already (or if you fell off the wagon), I definitely recommend that you incorporate meditation in your life. In this video (from a Facebook live), I’m sharing a few simple ways you can get started: