The power of a deep breath

We turned the tables on “Anna Asks” and so today we are asking her – about Meditation.

Meditation.  What a word.
For some we immediately light up – “when“, “where” and “how can I get myself in that state as fast as humanly possible?”  For others it’s initially a turn-off.  “That’s a bunch of himna humna, right?” And still others are pleasantly curious yet wouldn’t even know where to start. Today we are going to back it up.  Define meditation {hint: it can be whatever you want it to be} and talk about its awesome benefits.
So Anna, what is meditation for you? 
Meditation, for me, is finding an inner calm and peace that is physical, mental, emotional – all encompassing really! In my best practices (meditation like so many other things we do is a practice), it feels as if every thing is turned off in my body and mind. No thoughts. No feelings. Even physically, my whole body has that “pins and needles” asleep feeling. 
Tell us about your first experience or when “it clicked”?
My first experience in which the above happened, I was at a yoga nidra class run out of someone’s home in Minneapolis. My mom and I went together, and I had no idea what I was getting into, but it was the most amazing experience. I knew I would be hooked. Because I cannot practice yoga nidra at any given point in time, I also practice meditation both at home and in peaceful, quiet places that facilitate and promote the inner peace and calm that I am trying to achieve.
What do you notice when you mediate? how you feel while practicing – after? as mom, a wife, a friend?
During meditation I notice that it can be very difficult to quiet my mind. Actually, the first time I ever practiced, I gave my self an hour, and I spent nearly the whole hour just trying to calm the many reoccurring thoughts that kept popping up. When I get to a place where I can finally calm my mind, I feel very at peace and right with the universe {I am aware that I am over-using the word “peace”, but other words like content or tranquil don’t quite do it justice for me}. After carving out time to meditate, I feel renewed. I have a grater sense of gratitude, and a more realistic perspective about what is truly important to me – where and how I want to spend my time. Additionally, I have better control over stress and stress management. Of course as a wife, mom and friend this serves me well. I truly believe that as care-takers if we want to take care of others well, we must take care of ourselves first.

If someone is totally new to this whole meditation thing, what you you tell them? 
The great thing about meditation is that there is no “right” way to do it. There are many different types of meditation to try practicing if you’d like, but start with simply trying to calm your mind and just be. It will take time, and as I mentioned before it is a practice. so you have to do just that – practice. 
Ok, so I’m curious now – how should I get started? 
I actually watched a short video recently where Dr. Frank Lipman mentions that he will meditate on the subway – I am not so sure that I am to that point yet 🙂 But really, as you start just choose someplace quiet, where there are few distractions – ahem, put that phone away! If you are a beginner, like me, here would be my advice {which is the best advice I have been given or read}: 

1. However you choose to sit, sit with dignity. This will look different for every person, but most importantly it will feel good for you.
2. Choose something that will be the focus of your practice. It can be anything: your breath, prayer, counting, a mantra etc.
3. Acknowledge thoughts that pop up and move on. Your mind will wander, and that’s okay. When you realize this is happening, accept it and come back to your focus.
4. Stick with it! Carve out time to practice and just do it. I have never met anyone that has said meditation is a waste of time, have you?
We are beginning a meditation evening at Yellow Barn Wellness in Mendota Heights, MN on Thursday evenings from 7-9. The first hour is a self-guided meditation and the second hour will be a 50 minute yoga nidra class, in which you lay on a mat and are guided through a meditation. We are really looking forward to this!
Thanks Anna!  As always – we are so thankful for your insight

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