Join us for a 40-day meditation challenge!
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I finally stopped procrastinating and began to sit silently for fifteen minutes every morning. After years of talking about meditating, we officially committed after my husband (the left-brain thinker) read a research article. Then I (the right-brain feeler) attended a talk by the meditation guru, the Dalai Lama. I have already begun feeling the benefits of meditation:
- Feel calm and peaceful to start my day
- Have energy to help support my preschooler through her emotions
- Feel more focused
- Feel connected to my husband
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I simply roll out of bed and sit on my bedroom floor on a bolster with blocks under my knees, looking out over the backyard. Then I close my eyes and sit silently for 15 minutes, while counting my breath using mala beads in my right hand. I love that twice around the mala beads is 15 minutes, so I don’t need to be interrupted by an alarm. I have found that by finding a format that works for me has been hugely beneficial in making the experience a joy instead of a struggle.
My goal for December is to practice meditating every morning so that it becomes a daily habit for 2015.
How and Why People Meditate
I would love to share what others have to say about how and why they meditate, for the purpose of demonstrating that there are many ways to meditate:
“I sit cross-legged in a space I created in my bedroom, an altar of sorts where I have a picture of Amma, Buddha, Ganesha, my malas, and some other things that mean a lot to me. I use this space as a refuge any time of the day or night, a place of infinite peace and connection. I practice because it is a clear channel for me to understand divine time, divine order.”
“I like to sit at the beach, close my eyes, and listen. I try to sync my breath with the waves. Then I use Erich Schiffman’s meditation technique of counting breaths backwards (I like starting at 50) to zero. By the time I reach zero, my mind is focused and calm. I practice because it gets rid of the clutter in my mind—the worries and fears. I have a clarity and focus that lasts throughout the day.”
“Right now, my meditation/mindful moments may happen while my kids (2 and 4) are playing or I am in the Pre-K pickup lane. Sometimes, I sneak a couple of moments in the morning or at night before bed, and it happens where it can. As of now, I don’t have a designated spot or a routine, although I hope to in time.”
Become One Yoga
“My more classic meditation practice, for the most part, is found during the quiet 10 minutes before I go to bed and again when I wake up before jumping out of bed. I start with attention to my breath, then onto gratitudes for the day, then relevant affirmation (changes daily depending on what my heart calls for), then back to the breath. Seems a little scattered, but I enjoy it and have some success staying focused knowing exactly what to focus on. This has become a necessary habit to open and close my day. In the morning, it provides a sense of peace, groundedness, and an improved ability to handle whatever comes my way with grace. In the evening, this practice helps me slow down and quiet my multi-tasking mind, provides an opportunity to remind my heart of all the beauty in my life, and it helps me sleep better! As a Christian, I also refer to this as my prayer time. To me, it’s one and the same in this instance, though I have other practices where that is not as much so, such as during a walking meditation or when I’m on the mat in a moving meditation, which also elicits an incredible sense of connection and reverence for life.”
“There is a Native American practice (which I do with my prayer feathers), where we quiet our mind and then honor (address) the four directions, thanking each one and praying for its help or special gifts/insights. For instance, the south is the direction of rest and recovery and also the direction of the unborn generations. We look to the south for rest and revitalization and also so that we can make sure we are doing good so the planet will be in good shape for the coming generations. We honor the north when we need wisdom, as it is the direction of old age, wisdom, and the elders.”
“Usually, I meditate about a quotation from the Baha’i writings when I need guidance or seek better understanding of what I have read in order to reflect and find a way to apply it to my daily life or a special event. I also contemplate on plans and the future, and I like to visualise positive things. I do it anywhere it is comfortable at that moment—lying down or sitting up, or just leaning on something. Sometimes, if I have a long bus ride by myself, I rest my eyes and meditate/visualise about things that need more clarity.”
“I do mindfulness exercises and meditate every day. I have several moments: once in the morning (before everyone gets up), I visualize the day (appointments, etc.), and then I concentrate on my breathing. Then during the day, when I feel that something is getting too overwhelming, I close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing again. If it’s a stressful moment, I use specific exercises to calm down and put everything in the right perspective. I can do this either sitting in my car (not while driving!),on a bus, or while walking. And I walk every day for at least 30 minutes in a ‘mindful way’. I started this a few years ago and integrated it into my daily routine because these are often the only ‘me’ moments I get.”
“I meditate and pray in bed first thing in the morning, sometimes sitting up, sometimes lying down. It’s the first thing I do when I awake for 15 minutes. I have recently incorporated affirmative prayer, which I do out loud after I sit (or lie) in silence. I read some inspirational teachings, journal, and also do my LoveLaunch workbook, which is for attracting my soul mate.”
“Last thing I do at night before falling asleep and first thing I do in the morning before my feet touch to floor. Both times, I place one hand on my belly to give thanks for my breath and the other hand on my heart to give thanks for an open heart to start or end the day. Then I simply listen to my breath, or if I’m having a difficult time calming my mind, I use the mantra ‘I am’ to flow with my breath.”
Jackie Stanley Morrison
“For my practice, I get up before the kids are awake 5:45. I always practice outside. These days with the cold, I pile on tons of clothes and head out with a small stool. I do about 10 minutes of standing yoga stretches, 10 minutes of Pranayama and 10-15 of seated meditation. It’s a great way to start the day!”
What works for you to practice daily meditation?
Start your own 40-Day Meditation Challenge to sit silently for 15 minutes each day.
My SMART goals for December
Each month, I ask myself these three questions:
- What makes me happy?
- How am I living a healthy lifestyle?
- How am I living my passion?
This year, I teamed up with a group of mommy bloggers, and we all wrote our monthly goals in hopes of inspiring you to write yours, too. Please continue to tell us your goals and share your successes and failures.
This month, I will:
- Socialize with local families at least once a week.
- Phone a close friend and my mom at least once a week.
- Take weekly “me time” breaks, especially to read.
- Enjoy the holiday season with my husband and daughter.
- Practice meditating for 15 minutes per day for our 40-day Meditation Challenge.
- Attend one to two yoga classes per week at a nearby yoga studio.
- Jog around our neighborhood four times a week. Figure out how to keep up the exercise in the cold weather.
- Go for weekly nature hikes with my husband and daughter.
- Eat healthy, fresh, whole food.
- Continue with the production of our next yoga books: 123 African Safari, Sophia Explores the Ocean, and Jenny’s Winter Walk.
- Organize a pre-release of Rachel’s Day in the Garden and Ella’s Summer Fun.
- Finalize our next 50-yoga card deck.
- Share the Monthly Yoga Pose Challenge with a focus on Cobbler’s Pose.
- Share our second Monthly Theme project on Kindness.
- Plan for 2015.
As always, I would love to hear your feedback. Please e-mail me at giselle at kidsyogastories dot com with your suggestions for improvement, either for the yoga stories or website. Help me deliver high-quality content that assists you with bringing global education, health, and happiness to children everywhere.
What is your theme for December? What do your mind, body, and spirit need right now? Who is your accountability partner (someone who helps keep you on track with your goals)? What makes you happy? Will you join our 40-day meditation challenge?
To see previous SMART Goals: