For Mindfulness and Calm: Three Guided Meditations To Try
In these challenging times of self-isolation and quarantine, it is only natural to feel overwhelming despair and anxiety. Panic is human. In the coming weeks we will all experience our own challenges with this loss of control and uncertainty. Focusing on our mental and physical well being has never been more important. To be able to be present for those we love, we must show up first, for ourselves. Mindfulness practices like meditation have proved to induce calm, reduce anxiety, improve focus, compassion and empathy.
What is meditation, you may ask? Meditation as a practice allows us to grow more aware of the body and mind, and slowly learn to embrace things for what they are as opposed to what you want them to be. In the philosophy of Sri Sri Ravi Sankar of the revered Art of Living institution, meditation teaches us to enter the fourth state of consciousness, where we are both fully aware and well rested. For those of us who are new to the practice, guided meditation can be a useful tool to start.
A Tibetan monk named Mingyur Rinpoche explains the value of meditation beautifully. When he was 7, he began experiencing panic attacks, panic followed him everywhere he went, so much so that he can began to fear the panic. His father, a meditation teacher, agreed to teach him the practice. And then one day, tired from fighting the panic, he said, “I invited the panic into my home, and said, welcome panic, let’s have tea.” The lesson here, being that meditation techniques gave him the tools to make friends with a negative emotion that had begun ruling his life. He recommends practicing a calm and compassion meditation to battle your own negative emotions. Try it for yourself:
Meditation gurus, Dinesh Ghodke and Khurshed Baltiwala recommend meditating for twenty minutes or less when you first start before moving into longer practices. They also advise meditating on a light or empty stomach as meditation slows down the metabolism and we need high metabolism to digest a meal. When you sit to meditate, comfort and silence is essential, keep your spine comfortably straight for free flow of breath and energy. Prop yourself with pillows or sit on a chair. Put your phone on do-not-disturb. Maybe light a candle or incense to create an intentional space for yourself and then begin. Listen effortlessly to the instructions that are being given – almost as if you are half asleep.
To reduce anxiety and build awareness of the present moment, try this:
Power naps are more restful because you remain in a state of consciousness. Yoga Nidra enduces a deep restful state while maintaining consciousness. Try this guided meditation to recharge:
Aside from guided meditations, resources like “The Breathing App” by Eddie Stern help scientifically regulate the breath into slower, deeper states. Meditation made accessible in an app, practicing your breathing is the first step in ancient meditation techniques.
Check it out here.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Happy Meditating.