Today I wanted to talk about a topic that is very close to my heart. It’s something that is so powerful for all of us to learn about and will benefit all areas of your life: meditation.
How does meditation impact our lives and what are some easy tips to help set up your practice? Let’s take a look…
Benefits of Meditating…
One of the benefits that many notice is stress resilience. Being more in equanimity—having the ability to handle stress, handle adversity, handle when things don’t go exactly as you anticipate. When we meditate, we can feel a lot more at ease when these things come up in our daily lives.
When you’re sitting in meditation, you’re not attached to any particular thought. You can let your thoughts come and go, while you observe them. This helps you realize you are not your thoughts, and you don’t have to be attached to them. It’s like learning to let thoughts flow through you and not get “stuck”. Then, when you go to face what life throws at you, you have the ability to let it flow through you and not get stuck in your body, your energy and your mind.
When you train your ability to sit in stillness and observe your thoughts from a distance, it becomes truly powerful and dramatically improves the more you practice.
The yogi that really brought meditation to the West in a big universal way was my personal guru, Paramahansa Yogananda (you can check out his book here!). This is where I practiced the kriya yoga technique—which is taught at the Self Realization Fellowship.
When you hear these stories and read about his life, it’s interesting because there are all these different kinds of people that are attracted it—from hippies to businessmen and professionals (even Steve Jobs was a devotee of Yogananda’s, and arranged for a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi to be given to each person that attended his funeral as his last thought!).
Meditation can also help you focus and be more serene in changing circumstances, whether those are business circumstances, your environment, your family life, or just general mental anxiety.
I think it’s really interesting that so many different types of people are attracted to meditation now and how it’s become universal. In the last 10 years we’ve seen such a shift in the number of people that are open to meditation.
Another benefit that has significant implications is living the Beauty Detox lifestyle. I think it’s not typically associated with meditation but I notice for me personally, that when I meditate, I feel less impulsive towards any unhealthy addictive pattern (like a food craving), or just reacting in a way that’s not healthy.
The more we meditate, the less impulsive we become. Meditating helps to slow us down and create a pause before we do things or react from habit.
The biggest thing for me personally, is how Yogananda talks about the idea of a new joy. Who doesn’t want more joy?? It’s the motivation for virtually all that we do an pursue. All of us have heard that joy or happiness comes from within, but we don’t always feel it. We try to fill ourselves with new clothes, more friends, more money—but we know that all these different material pursuits never fill the void for that long. Sure a new pair of Gucci heels will feel super fun for a time, but then it surely will get old and you’ll need need more shoes!
When meditating, this allows you to go into a deep state—connecting to the divine, the universe and everything around you. Getting out of the limited body, our limited selves, can make you really at peace and is definitely worth striving towards.
Easy Meditation Tips for Beginners…
There is so much information and tips out there, but just like with exercise or dieting, it’s easy to just want to jump to the highest level or compare yourself to somebody that’s experienced or knowledgeable.
But start with something that’s doable and repeatable…
We don’t want to do anything that feels daunting—this includes in our meditation or even our yoga practice. When we do something where we feel we have to push ourselves through it, eventually our willpower runs out and the pain association becomes too great…so we tend to stop altogether.
Start with something that feels good but is challenging, and when you actually feel like you can do it (even if it’s only for a half minute), you can slowly work up to one minute, then three minutes, then five— just getting into that rhythm or practice.
Meditation should be developed slowly over time so it integrates into your lifestyle long-term.
We have these great resources for you Beauties—free meditations that you can download or you could listen to on your phone. In the beginning, it’s really nice to have someone lead you. These are meditations I recorded for our community and they’re absolutely free. There are even different ones where you can experiment with some of the different breathing techniques before sitting into silence.
They are just a few minutes each, which can be really great if you’re beginner, or you feel stuck, or you want to try a different technique, or just want to get into it again (get re-inspired). I’d love for you to check these out!
Start with sitting in a comfortable seat, closing your eyes and lifting your spine. It can help to put something under your hips to elevate your hips and spine. Start listening to your breath- which automatically helps to slow it down. As thoughts come, try not to follow them, but just observe them like waves ebbing and flowing. Start with 30 seconds to one minute. You can conclude with thinking of 3 things to be grateful for in that clear space.
Meditation is a powerful tool against food cravings and being reactive in using food to soothe feelings. By making it a regular practice, the benefits of meditation can help reduce poor decision-making, but it needs to be regular!
Another tip is to use meditation to judge the merit of an activity…
You can actually use meditation as a form of self-realization for your actions.
On the spiritual path, meditation is like the vehicle that leads to enlightenment. High priority is put on this judging because then you start to look at things in your life, like relationships for instance—are they dramatic, chaotic, and negative? Do they make it harder to meditate or easier, by supporting you? This feeling gives you a clue as to whether that relationship is good for you at the moment.
Decide whether or not you should do any particular action by feeling intuitively whether you are drawn towards meditation or away from it. Judge whether that choice will make it easier for you to meditate, or does it actually make you harder for you?
Then there’s even food. You can use meditation to judge what you eat, as well. For instance, when you eat a meal, do you feel like you can meditate comfortably afterwards? Or do you feel like you need to nap or watch TV or veg with the many avenues of social media we have at our disposal?
Are the things you’re taking in supporting your meditation or taking you away from it? Start to make choices based on your meditation being a priority—even it’s not your ultimate, but it’s something that you’ve told yourself is important. Start to make choices that support that progression rather than take it away.
All parts of your lifestyle have an impact and this is how we live when it comes to our Beauty Detox lifestyle. When it comes to diet, there’s a reason that all these yoga masters encourage a vegetarian diet. :-) The idea is to take in lots of fresh food, rather than foods that make it harder for us to settle down for meditation, ie that have any vibration of pain or suffering, as in animals that were killed.
When you get into meditation you will feel more at peace, which may even lead to a natural evolution where you may want to eat more plant-based or vegetarian meals throughout your week. You just have to see how it unfolds for you, but it truly is a beautiful journey!
Well Beauties, don’t forget to check out my free meditations, or any sort of simple practice, just one to three minutes in the morning. I think it’s really great to do before you start getting ready, going to work or checking your phone. Just start to make it a part of your regular routine first thing in the morning and you can keep building from there.
I love talking about meditation and will talk more about it in the future but for now, let me know how you like the free meditations and any thoughts or questions you may have!
Lots of love,