I love meditating y’all. It’s crazy how much I’ve just gotten used to it. In the past, I never really did it much. I mean, I’d try it every now and then but I never really found my groove with it. I used to admire my bff Nkem (over at For the Masses) with how she’d wake up every day really early (like 5 am) to meditate. Now, let’s be clear. I hate mornings if I’m honest. I hate waking up early so I’m not one to push waking up early down someone’s throat. I also understand that people are more productive at different times of the day so it’s important not to shame anyone for not waking up early to do something.
With that being said, I love to meditate whenever I can. Most of the time, its when I’m done working out. I don’t know what it is about working out and working up a sweat and then trying to calm down the mind after my workout and bring myself back down to earth. It feels great! When I was growing up, meditating was frowned upon. Now, I’m not exactly sure where I got this info when I was little but what I remember was being told that Meditating was a satanic thing to do. That when you clear the mind it makes it easier for demons to slip in and corrupt you. And don’t even get me started on the chants.
So what is meditation? According to Wikipedia, meditation is “a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state”. It’s about being void of all thoughts. Do you want to quiet the mind if you’re anxious? Yes, but it’s okay to have thoughts. When you feel your mind going to a place where it shouldn’t? Focus on your breath!
So what happened? How did I get to a place of where I meditate each day, sometimes twice a day? Well, it happened when I did the Toned Body, Toned Mind program in the Tone It Up app. I was excited when Karena launched the program because I really wanted to challenge myself. See, I’m not a fan of yoga. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do it (my fave type is hot yoga btw) but it’s not something that I’m like omg yass I have to do this. Like, no lol. But I really wanted to challenge myself and see how I can get better at it. I’m really an anxious person (hello anxiety) and so to slow down and move with intention was always a struggle for me. While I meditated once a week off and on, I wanted to practice it even more and with the program, you meditate every single day, even on your rest days.
I completed the four week program and you know what? Meditating is now in my everyday routine. I just love taking the time to sit in silence (well I honestly prefer guided meditations) and just breathe. It doesn’t have to take long. It could be as short as three minutes and so far from what I’ve seen as long as 30 min. Some people prefer to do a silent meditation. Others prefer guided. Maybe even both. Since I’m still a beginner, I really prefer guided meditations. In the Toned Body, Toned Mind program, Karena does a gradual release. Where in the first week, you have a five minute silent meditation and by week four, you sit in silence for 20 minutes. You heard me. That was the hardest part of the program to me lol. Just sitting in silence with my thoughts is really tough.
I started the program in January. It is now April and as I stated before, it is now just part of my daily routine. To make sure I get at least one meditation session in, I make sure to do it after my workout. If I’m not working out that day, then I’ll make sure to do it in the afternoon at some point. Hell, I even do one before bed if I feel like it will serve me. The type of meditation I do depends on my mood or how I’m feeling that day. Like for example, since we’re in a quarantine, I’ve been feeling really lonely, so I did a meditation in the Calm app on being alone. If I’m feeling like I need more focus, then I’ll do one on creativity or focus. I like to use both the Calm app and the Tone It Up app as well. Sometimes I’ll grab my crystals and burn my Santo Palo sticks. It just depends on what I’m feeling for that day.
Recently, I started adding breathwork in the mix as well. What is breathwork? According to MB Mannino’s website, “Breathwork is the act of being intentional with the way in which we breathe in order to alter our state of being. In other words, it’s a ‘practice of allowing our systems to see a different perspective whereby we feel deeply connected to our bodies and understand and experience the intelligence contained with our systems'”. I discovered MB from Sarah Ordo’s podcast and I follow her on social media. Sometimes on her instagram page, she’ll post a breathwork session. Sometimes, she posts them to her YouTube channel. Any way, I try to practice it once or twice a week. I’m new to it so it will take some getting used to. Below I will post a video from her channel so that you can check it out or try it out. It’s not easy and you may feel dizzy but trust the process.
Meditating has changed my life. I feel more centered. More calm. Does that mean I don’t get a depressive episode? No. Do my anxiety symptoms show up from time to time? Of course. Meditating helps me to be more mindful. Adding in the breath work is helping me focus on the here and now. I definitely feel more grounded and more calm when I do either or.
If you haven’t tried meditation before, I implore you to give it a shot. With practice everyday, it’ll be easier for you to incorporate it in your every day routine. Let me know if it helps!