Hi friends, I wish you all the best wherever life finds you during this beautiful spring season. I’ve been finding myself burying my nose in fresh blooming trees along walks with my pup the last month and am feeling so grateful spring is here. Being that I live in Minneapolis, it can often feel that warmer weather may never come, but I taste it (and smell it on those flowering trees!). And I can safely speak for all Minnesotans when I say that we take our spring/summer/fall very seriously over here. Not a moment of sunshine and fresh air will be lost on us! In addition to taking mindful walks outside that awaken the senses (which I highly recommend), I have three meditation practices that will nourish you. If you’re new to meditation, click here to read my post “9 Tips Before Meditation”. http://breatheandbe.yoga/2019/05/28/9-tips-before-meditation/
These three BEAUTIFUL meditation practices will transform your relationship with yourself and others. Get cozy, grab your notebook and write these trusted and true practices down. I promise — you’ll want to revisit these again.
- Loving Kindness: meditation exercise to cultivate compassion and love for others
- Self-Love Body Scan: meditation exercise to promote deep healing and gratitude
- Replay Your Day: meditation exercise to create awareness and open the door to transformation
#1 Loving Kindness
I can honestly say this is my all-time favorite meditation technique. I especially love this practice if I am feeling particularly down about myself. It gets me extending love and compassion to others and then I find that after I can extend that same love and compassion to myself.
I have found that over the years I have developed a “mental” prayer list of my loved ones that I go through. I have a BIG family now that I married my husband and find that it helps me to think of each immediate family so no one is forgotten. I mentally name each and every person in our families and their significant others/children and send them love and compassion. I specifically bring my attention to areas of their life that may need additional energy and love. For example, if they are struggling with a health condition, I send them well wishes and bring my attention to what I hope the universe (God) brings them for healing.
Once my family is complete, I extend this loving kindness practice to my friends and people in my community. What I love about this practice is that you find yourself wanting to send love and compassion to everyone. It feels good to love.
The Dalai Lama also references this technique in The Book of Joy, noting that he has a lot of people to pray for and wakes up at 4am to squeeze them all in! I know, right? That’s a whole lot of good juju he’s sending out regularly. Know that practicing once in a while is just perfect too. We can’t all be the Dalai Lama afterall.
#2 Self-Love Body Scan
This technique is rooted in gratitude for the body, being with “what is” and making space. I have personally found it to be transformational and healing. I previously suffered with chronic pain from candidiasis and used this technique to transform my mental dialogue surrounding my symptoms. Humans have a tendency to put pressure on the body to heal. This practice instead teaches us to:
(1) Hear the body
(2) Meet it where it is today
(3) Focus on all the remarkable things our body does for us at any given moment
(4) Say thank you to your body
If you are in pain, you can begin with bringing your focus to the region of the body or body part where you are experiencing pain and acknowledge it. Say thank you to it for all it does for you to live.
E.g. “[To aching stomach] I hear that you are hurting right now, and I just want to let you know that I am listening. I know this aching sensation is your way of letting me know to back off a bit and make some space. I hear you and am resting. I know that right now, you’re in a lot of pain and are working overtime to do all you can for me. Thank you for digesting my food. Thank you for figuring out what to do when I eat things that are taxing on you and for figuring out how to handle when I’ve given you too much food or too little. You work around the clock for me to live and I am so grateful for all you do for me”
For those who are currently not in pain at this moment in time, this meditation is still fantastic to practice. You may choose to begin your scan at your feet and work your way towards your head simply acknowledging and thanking your body for all it does.
E.g. “[To feet] Hi feet, it’s been a while since I’ve acknowledged your presence and function in my body and I wanted to say thank you. I love being able to run and walk my dog, dance with my loved ones and drive to work. Thanks for making all these things possible for me. Thanks for being smart enough to create calluses to protect me from blisters and bleeding when I hike for hours. I don’t tell you I love you and appreciate you often enough, but I do.”
You may also choose to go through this practice more swiftly by simply going through your body scan and saying hello and giving a simple note to each. (e.g. Hi feet, I love you. Hi ankles, thanks for staying strong when I tripped the other day! Hi shins, you handled that pavement run like a champ, etc.)
Another option is to go through this practice acknowledging each body part and then saying relax.
Find your own inner voice and dialogue and revisit those 4 principles above as the foundation for your dialogue.
#3 Replay Your Day
The Replay Your Day meditation is a great practice for when you’re lying in bed at the end of your day. Essentially, the practice is to close your eyes and revisit your day from morning to night. Take yourself on a replay of your day by picturing yourself waking up, getting ready, eating and going about your day. It is such an amazing practice to cultivate awareness as to how and where your time is spent. Notice how you feel about the day you’ve revisited. What moments were enjoyable? What moments do you feel were not a good use of your time? I know I struggle with this one because often I picture myself scrolling through my phone too much! If that’s you, know you are not alone. Use the awareness to transform your activities to something new that you are proud of and enjoy. And don’t forget, you get to tuck yourself into bed (again). Sweet dreams.
That’s all for today! If you try any of these techniques, let me know in the comments section below.
Light and love,