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Monday, July 22, 2024

Get Your Groove Back

By Sarah McLean

Do you want to feel better and find peace in your day?  Perhaps meditation is the answer.  We’ve all heard how meditation lowers blood pressure, increases immunity, improves sleep and reduces anxiety.  People also credit meditation with improving relationships and helps them find meaning and purpose in their lives.

More than 20 million Americans meditate.  Some say they can’t live without it, others say they can’t meditate because they can’t quiet their minds.  Here’s a secret: Thoughts are actually a part of meditation.  You’re more apt to frustrate yourself if you try to force your brain to stop thinking.  Let it happen.

Whether religious or secular, most meditation techniques require you to focus your attention on a vision such as a prayer, mantra, sensation, or an object like a flower or candle flame.  Choose your vision and during practice, if you drift away, gently refocus on the breath then back to the vision.  It doesn’t matter how many times your attention drifts away. 

Ideally, try to meditate 10 – 20 minutes twice a day and commit to that time each day.  I suggest completing your first meditation when you wake up and the second in the afternoon before you eat.  You’ll need to time yourself with a watch or a gentle alarm clock that you can stop next to you.

Meditation is your experience, and what happens after meditation is more important than during the journey.  It is not uncommon to be interrupted by few to many thoughts.  Maybe you’ll feel a deep peace, an emotional release, experience boredom, frustration, or even fall asleep.  Time may seem to stand still, or 20 minutes will seem like a moment in time.

Try not to critique your meditation or worry if you are experiencing the correct sensation.  You can evaluate the quality of your meditation from the balance that evolves in your life.  Start the year off with a commitment to your meditation practice and welcome the peace that comes from within.

How to do it:

  • Remove all distractions and turn off electronics.
  • Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
  • Scan your body and relax any areas of tension or tightness .
  • Become aware of your thoughts and the noises in your environment.  Take a moment and welcome everything.
  • Breathe through your nose and notice the way the breath flows in and out of your body.
  • Connect with the feeling and sound of the breath, and the way your body moves as you breathe.
  • Acknowledge how the breath feels when air enters and leaves your nostrils.  Follow the breath down to your lungs.  Feel your belly expand.  Notice the pause between inhaling and exhaling.  Don’t force your mind in any way, simply pay attention.
  • As you focus on the details of the breath, you’ll eventually settle into meditation. 
  • When time is up, sit quietly with your eyes closed for a few more minutes before you return to your day.

 Sarah McLean, Director of the Sedona Meditation Training Company, offers classes and workshops in the Valley and in Sedona. Find out more, visit SedonaMeditation.com, or call (928) 204-0067.

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