Most of my life, even though I practiced yoga, I really wasn’t into practicing meditation very much on my own. I would usually practice meditation only if there would be a brief meditation in my yoga class, but at home, it wasn’t something that I gravitated toward. Being a rather fast paced type of person as a younger woman, with lots to do in a day, sitting down to meditate was not on my list of to-do’s. Now that I’m older, I find it really important for my emotional health, especially during this time of when our whole life’s pattern has been interrupted and there is a lot of unknowns in the world.
This unprecedented time of change can cause great anxiety and high levels of stress that must be dealt with and released for our physical, emotional and mental health and overall sense of well-being. These days, what an opportune time to try something new. I’d like to suggest beginning a meditation practice of your own.
If you already practice meditation, think of this blog as a sharing of my own ritual and system I use when I practice. I’ll begin my practice right before bed because I find it helps me relax the tension away that has built up during the day. The funny thing is, most the time I don’t even know I’ve that much tension built up in me until I sit quietly, in a candle lit room. To set the mood even further, I’ll have playing, in the background, the sound of gentle rain which is soothing to the nervous system. I’ll sit criss cross applesauce, with a straight spine, for 20 minutes. It’s so fascinating what comes up!
Every night I’ll have a different reaction. Some nights the 20 minutes will pass by really fast even though it'll have felt like I was just getting started. Sometimes I’ll have profound insights which are very emotionally charged and others times it’ll seem like I can’t wait for it to be over and I’ll feel fidgety. One of the points to meditation is to accept what comes up and observe your mind and not let it control you. You are not your thoughts.
The timer on my phone is set for 20 minutes after which a gentle song is played letting me know the practice is over. What’s interesting is that every night, every practice is different, the benefits are always positive and my emotional state feels much more balanced afterwards. I love how it washes off any anxiety, worry or tension that has, unbeknownst to me, attached itself to me during the day.
Meditation, if you are new to it, is easier than you think. If you practice mediation already, I bet you can agree with me—so many techniques are out there that it can be confusing to know which one will work for you. My advice is you need to just start.
When I sit down to practice, I spray three spritz of sage over my head. It’s an energetic clearing and it smells incredibly clean and fresh. They say that olfactory senses bring back memory the quickest, so when I smell the sage, my body instantly begins to relax and feel balanced, even feel love.
My back is straight during the whole meditation which I think is important. Once I close my eyes my mind has all these thoughts coming in non-stop. I think to myself, “Roxanne, this isn’t a time to think or plan. It’s a time to empty the mind!” How I empty my mind is I listen to my heartbeat. Some people might listen to their breath or focus on the sound of the gentle rain or even repeat a mantra. Me, I listen to my heartbeat because when I do, it’ll automatically slow down my breathing which relaxes me further. Try it now. Listen to your heartbeat and notice how your breathing will briefly stop while you listen and then slow down. This technique works well for me to slow down my breath, to empty my mind of thoughts and relax.
With my eyes still shut, I’ve noticed some interesting sensations. For example, if I rest my eyes focusing on my third eye, I’ll find that gets achy after a while, so then I’ll focus my eyes straight ahead, like car lights. After a while that begins to feel like I’m pushing my eyes out which is a strain as well. What I’m ‘looking’ for is this perfect in-between place to rest my eyes. I know when I get there because it relaxes