By Itumeleng Solar Baloyi / 14 of December 2020
The wellness space is becoming increasingly popular these days, and more and more women are taking up mindfulness practices, such as meditation and yoga, to get their shine on. However, can we just admit that many of us are still pretty intimidated by them? Meditation can be particularly daunting. Beginners in my sessions always ask ‘how on earth do I keep my mind quiet for five whole minutes?’, thinking that it is impossible.
If you feel the same, fear not, because I am here to help! Here are six meditation hacks that will set you on a path to ‘eat pray love-ing’ without having to visit a toothless guru in Bali. You’re welcome!
Breathe. No, seriously! Anytime, anywhere. Just breathe, girl! Breathwork is a fundamental part of any mindfulness exercise, and you can do it anytime you are feeling on edge. When you learn how to breathe consciously, it will change your life, ntombi. So whenever you feel overwhelmed, drop your shoulders and take a slow, deep breath in through your nose. Pause. Then slowly exhale through your mouth, feeling yourself letting go of the anxiety in your body.
The best time to meditate is either in the morning after waking up or just before bed. So think about what you would like to achieve with your meditation sessions. Is it to give you energy and clarity for the day ahead so that you can handle your colleagues like the zen master you are? Or is it to help you reflect on the day and ease you into a restful sleep? Decide on a time of day to meditate and try to stick to it.
Find a quiet space for your meditation sesh. There should be zero distractions during this time. It is really important that you are not disturbed by people walking around while you meditate. You can also put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode so that your Instagram notifications don’t set you on *yet another* path of ‘self-distraction’. I see you!
Dress comfortably! Your clothes should be loose and stretchy. This helps you to get into the most comfortable position without feeling restricted. The most popular meditation pose is the half-lotus pose, where you simply sit cross-legged with your back upright. However, lying on your back is another amazing option for beginners or those with back issues. Just be careful that you don’t fall asleep and take a mini nap. Although, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, would it? Rest is the whole point after all!
Find a meditation app. There are plenty of apps out there that can help set you on a path of daily meditation practice. Calm, Insight Timer and Mindvalley are just a few incredible meditation apps I have used. Nature-sound apps are also a great option if you are not ready for the heavier content. I have found listening to water streams and ocean waves to be very calming and soothing when feeling anxious.
Set a convenient time aside to meditate each day. Start with five minutes at least three times a week. This is super achievable as a beginner and will cultivate the confidence you need to increase the amount of time when you’re ready. Try to make this process an intuitive one by really listening to and being kind to yourself. You are allowed to have thoughts come in during meditation and it doesn’t mean that you are failing, okay? Keep going, and keep breathing!