Yup. I like yoga but my meditation practice sucks.
I have sat in countless lectures on the benefits of mindful meditation (reduce stress, sleep better, lower blood pressure, balance emotions and increase focus to name a few) and I still don’t make it a priority. Sound familiar? You know you should, it will make you feel good, but yet no time.
So, why don’t we meditate? One reason may be because we like immediate solutions and results. Meditation is most useful with a consistent practice, no quick fix here. Finding the time could be an issue as well. Many of us are pressed for time – likely running to work, helping the kids tie their shoes, making lists (oh the lists) or if we are lucky getting in a workout. It’s also hard to sit without the distractions of TV, phones, music and whatever because we are constantly stimulated. Sit and don’t look at anything to entertain our thoughts? Dreadful!
Deep down one of the most likely reasons we don’t meditate is… it’s hard. The shame and frustration at failing to “clear the mind” makes us throw our hands up and claim that we “just can’t meditate”. This, my friends, is the monkey brain. We all have a monkey brain with thoughts moving from branch to branch. Our brain is overstimulated and trained to jump and hop from our shopping lists to our upcoming work project. We have trained our brains to do this. The good news is we can also train our brains to rest.
So, what now? First off, stop expecting to be able to sit and clear your head. THAT IS NOT REALISTIC! Sorry if I yelled. The practice of meditation is more about noticing when your thoughts wander (they WILL) and come back to focus on the breath. Think of it like as the monkey (your thoughts) reach for another branch. When it happens, notice it and bring the monkey back to your tree (your breath). That monkey may hang around for a moment but in a matter of seconds they may reach for another branch. Notice and bring that damn monkey back. It’s the conscious return to breath that will strengthen your meditation practice and with time, give you more and more moments of peace.
So, my friends, this is the year I am going to meditate the hell out of this year! Like award winning meditation. JK, but I AM going to try every day for 5 minutes. It may be on a pretty pillow in a softly lit room, or possibly in a dirty car while in a parking lot. Baby steps.
Today I am on Day 4 of 5 minutes of meditation. Maybe it can be your Day 1?
My Favorite Guided Mediation Apps:
- Headspace (Free Versions)
- Calm (Free Versions)
- Insight Timer (Free Versions)
- 10 Percent Happier (Free Trial) – This is my fave!
- bulldog yoga app (you get yoga and meditations)