Meditation. Let’s go there. Everyone and their mother is meditating lately, from Arianna Huffington to Angelina Jolie, even Oprah Winfrey. Boutique meditation studios are popping up to lure you in from your hair-pulling afternoon commute. So if meditation is the new black…then why do we still assume it’s only for the crunchy-granola set?
Lynne Goldberg is a certified meditation coach who is interested in making meditation accessible, and the simple yet powerful shift that can happen when we just stop, drop, and breathe. We’ve been looking for a no-nonsense gateway into meditation for eons, so when we pressed “download” on Lynne’s new app, OMG. I Can Meditate!, we were thrilled. Eager to bring the power of zen to the masses, Lynne breaks it down simply and clearly, using accessible terms that literally anyone from a kindergartener to business exec can latch onto. We asked her to give us the lowdown, telling us what we got wrong, what we never knew, and how meditation can change our lives – plus an eight-step meditation that’s a surefire mind clearer. Here’s Lynne…
Life is full of misconceptions – that money equals success, that the older we get the less we can do, that happiness lies somewhere other than within. A lot has been said about meditation and mindfulness in the past few years. Some of it right, some of it just misconception.
Got two minutes? Let’s debunk a few of those meditation misunderstandings together with a quick game of true or false. It may change your life, all while bringing you success, youth and happiness all in one fell swoop (it certainly did for me!).
True or false… I have to sit cross-legged on the floor to meditate.
False! There is no right or wrong way to sit during meditation. So long as your comfortable and alert – in a chair, on the floor, cross-legged, or legs out in front of you – you’re doing it right. The only thing I don’t recommend is that you lie down (it’s just too dang easy to fall asleep that way!).
True or false… If I’m having thoughts I’m not meditating.
False! We all have thoughts. By some estimations we have 40,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. That’s major thinking, which is tough to just switch off. The practice of meditation is all about recognizing that you’re having these thoughts and then coming back to the object of your attention: yourself, your practice, this moment. Each time you catch yourself in thought and come back you strengthen your attention muscle. That’s meditation.
True or false… Meditation is religious.
False! Meditation has absolutely nothing to do with religion. It can be practiced by anyone who is interested in learning to calm her mind. It’s no Trojan horse for religious rhetoric, no sheep in spirituality’s clothing. Meditation is about personal development and connection, and however you define it beyond that is for you and you alone.
True or false… Meditation isn’t for me , I’m too hyper.
False! You are exactly who meditation is for! Our bodies and minds are connected – have you ever been nervous and noticed your stomach was upset? As your mind unwinds your body unwinds and eventually that peace and tranquility that’s been eluding you becomes accessible. It takes a bit of practice to allow your mind to settle, but once you get the hang of it you’ll never want to stop.
True or false… Meditation makes you self-absorbed.
False! We all need a bit of self love. (I’d even argue that we need a lot more than just that little bit.) It’s kind of like the oxygen mask on the airplane. I’m sure you’ve got the whole flight attendant routine tattooed in your brain just like me and it’s something I always come back to when thinking of meditation. We must put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we can put it on others. We must love ourselves before we can love others. We’re of no use to anyone when we’re stressed, frustrated and unfocused. Thankfully meditation is the antidote to all of that. It helps you become less reactive, which can do wonders for your relationships, including the one you hold with yourself.
Ready to try meditation? Take ten minutes right now with this guided meditation:
10 Minute No-Nonsense Guided Meditation
Start with one really big, slow, deep cleansing breath.
Expanding your stomach and chest fully on the breath in, and exhaling fully, feeling tension leaving your body as you let the air out through your mouth. You can sigh audibly if you like.
Come back to the natural rhythm of your breath, breathing in and out through your nose.
Now bring your attention fully to your breath, noticing the temperature of the air as it touches your nostrils and following the breath into your nasal passages, your lungs, your belly.
Now reverse that pattern to breath to belly and then chest, paying attention to the sensation of air as it leaves your nostrils.
On your inhale you can repeat silently to yourself, “breathing in.” On your breath out you can say, “breathing out.”
Whenever you notice that your attention has drifted away from your breath just gently come back to it and those statements. Don’t worry if you have to do this over and over – that’s the practice of meditation.
Now take one final deep, cleansing breath.