Inhale, exhale, begin to quiet your mind. Beginning meditation can be as simple as that. So why are so many people intimidated by the thought of meditating?
You don’t have to fully enlightened to meditate, and you don’t have to have a sacred space on top of a mountain. Meditation can be done anywhere and by anyone. And, let’s be honest, just about everyone has had an experience in their lives where they are out in public, and a quick meditation would be extremely helpful.
So what exactly is meditation? According to Merriam Webster, to meditate is “ is to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) to reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness”, yep, it’s that simple. Meditation brings your attention the here and now and helps get rid of the distractions that you’re constantly bombarded with. By slowing down and focusing on your breathing, you can let the rest of the world just melt away. It helps you pull your attention inward and truly be and feel, which in turn brings forth a sense of calm and control of your emotions.
You can stop and focus on your breathing just about anywhere, right? So, you can meditate just about anywhere!
There are lots of meditation tools you can use to help facilitate your practice as well including:
Counting: As you focus on your breath, begin to count to twenty, one count accompanies one breath. (Example: Inhale 1, Exhale 2, Inhale 3, Exhale 4) Once you reach twenty, count to forty and slow your breathing down, only counting with every other breath. (Example Inhale, Exhale 1, Inhale, Exhale 2) The mental counting helps you concentrate on your breathing.
Body Scan: Imagine your at your desk and your inbox is piling up and you start to panic. Soften your gaze and deepen your breath and begin to cue your body to relax. Start from your forehead and work down your face and jaw, then move down your arms, torso, and legs. By the end of this practice, you will feel completely relaxed.
Paint a Mental Picture: Visualization can be a great way to meditate. As you close your eyes, imagine you are painting a rainbow on a big white canvas. Take your time to picture your paintbrush dipping into each color and pulling the line across the canvas until you have a complete rainbow.
Mantras: You don’t have to know fancy Sanskrit words to create a mantra. As you breathe, internally repeat a mantra that makes sense for you. For example, you could say I am on your inhale, at peace on your exhale, or I can on your inhale, do this on your exhale.
These are all types of meditation that you can do anywhere anytime. You can meditate when you need a five-minute break from your kids, after you have parked your car before you head into work, when you feel uncertain before an interview, or before bed to calm your mind. Meditation is a powerful tool that helps you create your own internal calm and peaceful space. I like to think of it as a superpower that keeps me grounded, in control, and able to handle anything life throws at me.
So go meditate! Meditate at home, meditate in a park, at your desk, in your bed, literally anywhere.
**Please don’t meditate while driving, and choose a safe space where you are aware of your surroundings for safety reasons.**
About the author
Cassidy Ricalde always found healing powers in the movement of the body. Growing up as a classical dancer, she found yoga and barre to be a way to tie together body and soul. She completed her 200-hour Yoga-Teacher certification at Flow Yoga in DC and did an apprenticeship with Ease Yoga in Alexandria. You can find out about Cassidy here.