A little blog about meditation, I didn't put it in the stress blog because it's that important. People hear the term meditation and visions of hippies, free love, Buddhist Monks, and what not start dancing through their heads. They think meditation isn't for them and more geared towards those eccentric types. People start a laundry list of excuses of why they can't do it: Netflix bro, Who has 10 minutes? Waaaay too busy, I don't even know where to start, tried it, it doesn't work for me, I would but I don't want to and the list goes on. The truth is meditation is becoming more and more mainstream, everybody is doing it man. An extremely high percentage of CEO's do it daily (listen to any podcast with a CEO they will discuss their meditation practice). I have listened to several interviews with CEO's and lets just say they're at least 1 hour long med sesh isn't plausible for the average everyday life. The point is that they do it and make it part of their daily rituals like brushing their teeth. Next thing you might be thinking is why is meditation getting so much fanfare? The answer is easy the benefits of meditation are extraordinary (stress, anxiety, emotional control, recovery from workouts, cognitive function, focus, to name a few) and the list keeps getting longer with every new scientific article on its benefits. When it comes to wellness I feel meditation is the single most important tool that you should develop. My issue with meditation is I do not feel it is taught in specific enough detail and that is why most people don't start or do not make it a daily ritual. Most books talk about the spirituality and tell you to sit lotus and breath. The problem is especially in Merica people are bad breathers (short vertical chest breaths) and bad breathing gives way to a stress anxiety loop. So when a book or a practitioner tells you to just breath, you are doing it incorrectly and the focus on your breath most likely will create more anxiety so you give up which is understandable. The first step to learning how to meditate is learning how to take a mechanically correct 360 degree diaphragmic breath. There are plenty of exercises to help you go from short chest breaths to a nice deep diaphragmic breath ( it's kind of my thing). For the interest of time, the simplest way to start breathing better is to consciously inhale and exhale through your nose. The nose is linked to the diaphragm and when your consciously breathing through your nose try pull that air as deep into your lungs as possible (I tell clients to breath into their toes to accent the point). Once someone can take a mechanically sound breath the next step will be attempting meditation. You are not looking to carve out hour long sessions, 5-10 to ten minutes will do wonders to your life. Try to do the meditation to start your day and a little scrub meditation to end your day. I won't go into depth about the step by step process of mediation I will just give you some key overviews (there is a great book Headspace by Andy Puddicombe which is a great beginners guide to meditation, he is also the Headspace app guy).
Some Key Points
- Pick a spot in your house for meditation. That is all the spot is for, preferably dark and comfortable. It will cue your mind that this spot is for meditation and get you primed for the sesh. The spot can also be your car before you go into work.
- Try to do it same time each day so it becomes habit and again primes your mind. Everyday after I brush my teeth then I meditate, stack the habit onto something you do daily. (Atomic Habits secret there)
- Sit comfortably or lay down to start, don't be overly concerned with lotus position but if sitting try to sit upright, I like to sit against a wall.
- Do a minute of good nostril deep diaphragmic breathing to start
- First 2 minutes let your mind wander and slowly bring your attention back to your breath every time you notice your mind wander. Every time you notice your mind wandering you are making progress.
- Once you have calmed your mind start focusing on your breath: 3-4 second inhales with 4-6 second exhales that is 1 rep. You want to get through 10 reps of that without your mind wandering. Every time your mind wanders you start back at 1. This could last you the entire 10 minutes again every time you notice your awareness wandering and you bring it back to your breath it's a win.
- If you get to 10 reps, I would suggest concentrating on destressing next. You can do that by focusing on each part of the body and releasing the stress, if there is an area where you know your stress builds concentrate on that area and consciously release it on the exhale.
- The scrub I use at the end of the day, lie in bed, mentally go through your day and mentally scrub it off, release all the negative things that happened so you can start fresh tomorrow.
Just a brief overview to help you get started if you want a deeper dive I can help you just give me a call or an email.