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Holistic Health & Wellness Associate
Meditation is a spiritual tool that brings balance, harmony & peace within all facets of our lives. Ask yourself: "what do I desire to manifest from implementing meditation in my life?" Is it to find relief during tough times, reduce stress & anxiety, calm the mind, improve well-being, help with a wellness crisis, deepen spirituality?
Find out what your meditation goal is at this time and let it motivate you to keep a disciplined daily practice. Here are a few of meditation’s innumerable holistic benefits:
- provide a deep level of physical relaxation
- increase energy levels
- calm down the nervous system
- aid with focus, attentiveness & concentration
- enhance creativity
- positively influence mood & behavior
- promote emotional stability & strength
- help keep things in perspective
- create inner space for tolerance & acceptance
- decrease the tendency to stress, worry & restless thinking
- provide peace of mind & greater capacity to experience joy & happiness
- deepen connection with Divine Consciousness or Spirit
- increase levels of compassion, forgiveness, love & trust
- gateway to self-realization & enlightenment
The list goes on but as you can see the benefits are worth the work meditation requires. Meditation guarantees raising your vibrations in many ways if you commit to it daily.
The online Cambridge dictionary defines concentration as "the ability to think carefully about something you are doing and nothing else" (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/concentration). In order to have a successful meditation practice, you must develop your concentration & focus abilities to control your attention.
This is the main obstacle many face during their meditation practice: not being able to stay focused. This is almost expected when you start meditating. Your mind's chatter will seem louder & wilder than usual because your mind has all your attention, so it talks your ears off!
It's also one of the reasons why many give up quickly. Some believe that by their first or second meditation they'd achieve inner peace easily. It’s a consequence of the times we live in: the mainstream “microwave” culture lowers people's attention span & has them expecting immediate results effortlessly.
This comes back to the example of expecting ourselves to run a 20K marathon when we can't even easily go up 5 flights of stairs. Same goes for meditation. It requires daily training. Below are 2 methods you can use to strengthen your concentration muscles and begin your meditation practice.
Beginner's meditation techniques
This method reinforces your focus and how to shift your attention from outside yourself to within yourself.
What you need:
- a candle
- something comfortable to sit on (chair, yoga mat, cushion)
- a table cleared from everything on it
1- choose a time in the day & a space in your home where you won't be bothered or distracted for 10-15 minutes.
2- wear loose, comfortable clothes, remove/loosen your belt, nothing should feel tight on you (not even your shoes or your hairdo!).
3- sit in front of the table, either on a chair or on the ground, with your back as straight as possible, chin parallel to the floor, hands rested on the knees either palms up or palms down. If you're sitting on a chair, your legs should be uncrossed & feet flat on the ground.
4- place the lit candle on the table at the height of your gaze, about 12 inches away from your face.
5- stare at the flame for about 10 minutes. Focus your attention on the candle only. Whenever your mind goes astray, simply bring it back to the flame.
6- after 10 minutes, close your eyes and focus your attention on what you see in your mind's eye for about 10 minutes as well.
7- open your eyes when you're ready.
This method uses your breath as a guide in your meditation, connecting you to your own energy. It can be done anywhere as long as you're not doing something that requires your attention.
What you need:
- your breath!
Repeat steps 1-2-3 from the candle technique, without the candle or the table.
4- close your eyes & focus on your breath.
5- inhale on a count of 4, expanding the belly & pushing the navel out; exhale on a count of 4, contracting the belly, navel towards the spine. You can do this on a count of 4, 6 or 8, as per your level of comfort. Repeat for a few rounds.
Start with these methods or whichever one resonates more with you at this moment. Over time, you can prolong the length of your meditations. Journal your experiences so you can see how your practice evolves. Having this solid foundation will open you up to different practices that will take you higher & deeper in your meditations (auto-suggestions, affirmations, visualizations, chakra & aura meditations, etc.).
This is your journey within to realize your meditation goals. Practice everyday even when it feels like nothing is happening. Trust me, "something" is happening: a seed has been planted. Water it daily. One day this seed will sprout, and later on a tree full of fruits will blossom from your meditation practice, making your inner & outer life much more holistically rich, nutritious & sweeter.
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