Meditation can be super intimidating, and not just for the general public but for mind-body practitioners alike. I know yoga instructors who are as intimidated by meditation as students. I’ve made it my mission today to de-bunk a couple myths I’ve heard surrounding meditation. My intent is for you to feel empowered to seek out mindful moments in your day — so you feel more strongly connected to yourself, your thoughts, emotions and dreams.

(1) Meditation only “counts” if done in a seated position. According to the sacred texts, including The Bhagavad Gita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika, it is true that meditation is meant to be done with a straight spine. However, if you are not in a space where daily meditation is a reality for you, please do not let that stop you from seeking moments of mindfulness. Mindful moments are what hook many into discovering the benefits of seated meditation. You do NOT need to be seated on a cushion in total silence with palo santo burning in order to center your mind, although these sure are lovely enhancements 🙂 In fact, learning to center your mind and finding calm in the chaos is likely even more important for many in the modern world. Life offers natural pauses for mindfulness too! Here are a few of my favorite moments to find peace and a moment to inwardly reflect:

    • Walking in the park
    • Laying in the grass and gazing at the blue sky
    • Bathing at the end of the day
    • Waiting at a red light (and not grabbing your phone or fudging with the radio)
    • Going to the bathroom (just to go, and not to multitask and text or get a news update)
    • Cutting vegetables or cooking
    • Laying on your back in bed just to rest

Mindfulness is the act of being present with oneself, and a great way to practice mindfulness throughout the day is through these simple moments in life. Notice life’s natural daily pauses and be present with them, rather than choosing to fill them up with distractions. Then one day you may find you naturally seek your seated meditation seat and are inspired to go deeper into this practice of reflection and inner listening.

(2) “Meditation is about pushing thoughts out of my mind”. AH! This one makes me sad. We are human beings – it is completely natural for the mind to wander and for thoughts to come in and out. The key is not to push the thoughts out, but rather to greet and acknowledge them. In your mind perhaps try saying, “OH, I am worrying about what to make for dinner”, for example. Once you greet the thought, simply return to the breath or mantra if you’re using one, and your reality in this present moment. Let the thoughts release themselves from you after listening to them. When we choose to greet the thoughts we’re having, we become more aware of our fears, insecurities, self-judgments, etc. With this awareness of your mental dialogue, you can determine what affirmations or mantras might be helpful for you.  E.g. If you are feeling uninspired, perhaps choose the mantra “I am curious”. If you are thinking about physical insecurities, perhaps the mantra “I am beautiful or I am more than my body”. 

Meditation is the act of being present with oneself.

My friends, my intent is for you to feel LESS intimidated by meditation and to begin a mindfulness practice in some capacity without judgement and from a place of love. If you’re connecting with you, you’re doing it 🙂 Would love to hear your thoughts surrounding meditation and mindfulness in the comments below.