By Josephine Atluri
My mind is constantly thinking and planning. (I used to be an event planner and I have 5 kids and a 7'x12' whiteboard wall for scheduling.) Thus, it probably doesn't come as a surprise that I didn't think meditation was for me. How could I possibly stop my never ending thoughts during the day when it was already difficult to do so right before bed? Well, I'm always up for a challenge especially a wellness/fitness one. So, what happened???
I LOVED it!! Lo and behold I was actually able to get through the process. A friend recommended I start by using a meditation app. My biggest concern about the process was the uncertainty of how to do it, how to shut my mind off on my own. The app was a great way for a worried newbie like me to delve into this new terrain because the voice guided me on breathing and awareness of the body. What seemed like a monumental feat was suddenly broken down into smaller more manageable tasks.
The biggest lesson I learned from the guided app was that it was okay to have thoughts during the meditation. I had a preconceived notion that my mind needed to be completely empty or else I was a failure at meditating (and I highly dislike failing at things. Haha) On the contrary, it is okay to let thoughts flow through me while I focus on how the body feels. Who knew?!
I'm sure many of you are wondering, what's all the hype about meditation anyway? There are countless articles and books on the subject, but some of the benefits include: improved concentration and self awareness, stress reduction, improvements in cardiovascular and immune health, and increased happiness. All of these benefits will make it that much easier for you to live a healthy lifestyle!
Here's what my introductory meditation sessions looked like: the sessions were between 3-10 minutes in length and I practiced at night. I actually found that I could do this meditation as I was putting my older kids to sleep. It helped them unwind and calm their bodies and it helped me calm down after the evening mad rush of family life. It was a win-win for all!
The verdict - try it out. Try out different methods to find an approach that works for you. As for me, I'm going to keep practicing with my kids at night and reap in all the benefits of peacefulness.