Monday, November 10, 2014

Meditation with Rae

While I am gone this week I have been blessed to have some amazing bloggers fill in for me. Rae from Mindful Rambles is here today to talk about meditation, something I have always wanted to get into and I am so happy to have her!


I’m so excited to be a guest blogger on Kristie’s
blog! Her blog is witty, hilarious, and overall fantastic…but I don’t have to
tell you that!

My name is Rae, author
of the blog Mindful Rambles. My blog started out as a lifestyle blog with a heavy
influence on the teacher's lifestyle. I left the classroom in May 2014 for a job
as a behavior analyst (after years of schooling to become certified). My blog
has morphed over time and is nicely settled into it’s own niche. On my blog I
share my journey with mindfulness, fashion, food, professionalism, and pursuing
my desired lifestyle.

I’m sure you’ve all checked out the 30 By 30 post, in which Kristie
shares a bucket list of sorts to accomplish by her 30th birthday (if
you haven’t, you should). Number 29 on her list is “Try meditation”. I’m
challenging her and you to not just try meditation, but practice meditation
as frequently as possible. Soon enough, meditation will be a daily part of your
life that will no longer be something you have to work at, but instead will
become second nature. Meditation and mindfulness have become so engrained in my
life that I don’t even think about it anymore. Obviously there are days when I
get stressed, but overall, due to my practice with mindfulness meditation, I
find that things that would have typically frustrated me, or sent me in a tizzy,
I’m able to manage better with limited stress and anxiety.

Here are ways you, as a busy, time-strapped person, can start
your own meditation practice and reap the amazing benefits:
  1. Find a comfortable spot in your home, office, the park, wherever! 

    I choose my living
    room floor, on top of a throw pillow, seated cross-legged. Sometimes my legs
    fall asleep. When this happens, sometimes I leave them and notice the
    sensations flowing through my body as they relate to the discomfort. Other times
    I can’t handle it, and I unfold them. It’s up to you. This isn’t about building
    pain tolerance and controlling your respondent behaviors. This is about finding
    peace and balance within you to better respond to heightened situations. Sure,
    allowing yourself to manage a small discomfort in your legs or lower back will
    help to build tolerance with other discomforts, but it’s not worth the struggle
    if you are going to dread your practice!
  2. Sit or lay down. 

    This is all about your
    preference. I LOVE the Savasana pose at the end of my yoga classes, but I know
    I could not sustain that for more than a few minutes – I’d fall asleep! But, if
    lying down works for you, especially if you experience pain in a seated
    position, then by all means! Alternatively, you can use this pose and meditation
    during bouts of insomnia, as I often do! When I’m wide awake in bed, and my
    mind is bouncing off the walls, I lay flat on my back in bed and focus on the
    waves of my breath, the sensations of my body, the rising and falling of my
    belly. This is a great way to settle down your heartbeat and refocus your mind
    to a more relaxed state. Oh, and close your eyes.
  3. Start with small increments of time. 

    Many meditation practitioners
    recommend anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours (or more) of meditation. I’d
    recommend starting at 15 minutes (though I am no professional) as that seems to
    be an adequate time for me to become fully engaged in my practice, but if 15
    minutes seems like a nightmare for you, start with 5 minutes and build your way
    up. However, similar to the recommendation above, about sitting with your
    discomfort, I do recommend attempting longer intervals of time. Think about all
    the avoidance behaviors we have developed in our lives: the smallest amount of
    silence in a group makes your skin crawl, a crowded party when your friend
    walks away to get a drink leaves you grasping at your phone to look busy,
    fast-forwarding the commercials on your recorded show. All of these behaviors
    are due to our discomfort or annoyance with waiting, sitting, patience, and
    perceived awkwardness. Wouldn’t it be great to ward ourselves of these
    joy-sucking and stressful behaviors? While it may seem silly that practicing patience
    by sitting still for 15 minutes equates to increased patience and balance
    across other aspects of your life, science supports this.
  4. Focus, or don't.  There are different
    techniques to choose from. If you choose a technique that requires you to focus
    on your breath, try that. Focus on the way your belly fills with air, the
    inhalation through your nostrils, the vibration in your throat as you exhale.
    Regardless of the technique, breathe, notice, and let live.
  5. Breathe naturally. 

    No need to control your
    breath, or breathe a certain way. Just breathe. Notice the sensations through
    your body as you breathe. Notice your natural breathing pattern, but don’t place
    judgment. Just breathe. Just breathe. Just breathe.
  6. Do it daily. Or as close to daily as you
    can. Or multiple times a day. Do it the same time each day, or vary your times
    based on your availability, stress level, or interest. The point is just do it. 
For more resources on meditation, visit The Buddhist Centre. Or check out my Resources for Mindfulness Amazon List.
DISCLAIMER: All the information presented here and on the
Mindful Rambles blog is for educational and resource purposes only. It is NOT a
substitute for or in addition to any advice given to you by your medical
professional. Before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise
regimen, please consult your physician.

I hope this simple guide to starting a meditation practice was
helpful for my busy friends out there! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this
topic! Leave a comment and let’s start a conversation

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