May has now been designated as National Meditation Month and we celebrate by enriching our own practice and inspiring others to begin a moment of mindfulness of their own. Whether you are a beginner or a guru, your meditation practice is ever evolving and personalized to you. Thirty days well spent to better your practice or begin a new practice is all it takes to clear the mind of the clutter and be present – allowing abundance and positive energy to enter your life.
Day One ~ The Beginning
Begin with a quick session and work yourself up to a relaxing 20-minute session by the end of the 30 days. The first session can be as little as 1 minute. Yes! One minute. This is to allow yourself to be still and be aware of all the thoughts that dance in and out of your head in a 60 second period. This can be exhausting in itself. The goal is to allow those thoughts to enter, acknowledge them, and then quickly let them go. A one minute warm-up is great exercise for your mind, and a lot less sweaty than going to the gym.
- Find a quiet and relaxing space to sit upright. If you are sitting on a chair with your back against the chair, make sure your feet are planted firmly on the floor. This helps to ground you in your practice.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. If you notice your mind becoming filled with the laundry list of to-dos for the day, count your breaths 1 and 2 and 1 and 2 on each inhale and exhale.
- Feel your mind and body relax in the stillness and the presence of your breath.
The First 5 Days – Awareness
Give your mind a vacation this week by taking a load off of its stress, anxiety, and anticipation. For the first week of your 30 day Meditation Practice take this time to be aware of your thoughts. Some of the most common complaints from new and even seasoned meditators is that they can’t seem to quiet their mind and they get discouraged. Nothing is wrong in meditation. Thoughts coming and going when you’re trying your best to be still is quite normal.
- Choose a good time in your schedule (right when you wake up is a good way to start your mornings) and set aside 10-15 minutes.
- Be entirely open and allow your thoughts to flow in and out freely. Awareness that you are thinking those thoughts are key. Imagine how many thoughts come and go during the day and we aren’t even aware of them.
- Don’t force the thoughts away. Don’t get discouraged if they keep on racing through your mind and definitely do not try to analyze them. Just pay attention to them. Let the thoughts go. Accept them and be aware of them. The less you try to fight them, the less value they hold – making it easier for you to let them go.
Week 2 – Going Deeper
Once you have practiced connecting the mind with the breath, it’s time to go deeper into your meditation practice by falling into a hypnagogic state. The best way to describe a hypnagogic state is that sweet spot between meditation and sleep. You allow your body and mind to surrender to the stillness while maintaining a high level of consciousness and awareness.
- Lie down on your back, flat.
- Begin your meditation practice.
- Let thoughts come and go freely without letting them linger.
- Notice when you are beginning to fall into a deeper meditative state – almost falling asleep.
- The goal of this practice is to keep yourself suspended in this state without falling asleep.
Week 3 – Water the Garden
This is the time to personalize your practice so you can enjoy meditating each day even more, while also tending to the messy stuff like stressful thoughts and those pesky to-do lists that run through your mind every minute.
- See if adding meditation music to your practice helps you to clear your head. Pandora has a “calm mediation” station with yoga-inspired music and instrumental sounds.
- Meditating with an app like Calm or Headspace – offering guided meditations can also help keep you on the right track.
- Continue to be aware of your thoughts as they come into your mind, and practice letting them go, allowing another thought to come and pass. Each time you do this brings you closer to achieving complete stillness in body and mind.
- Work up to a 20 minute practice if time permits.
The Last 5 Days – Freedom
These five days mark a commitment to daily meditation that you will see has enriched your life in some form. Continuing the practice as part of your daily routine will help you to understand the most inner workings of your thoughts, promoting clarity and joy, and allow every day stressors to pass. Stress has no room to be locked up inside your head, taking up precious space for positive thoughts. The stillness in your mind for these 10-20 minutes is an important and healthy part of your day – to reboot, recharge, and renew. You will see by the end of 30 days it is just as necessary as your daily exercise routine.