Until a few years ago, when someone said the word “meditation” around me, I admit that I chuckled a little. The “kinds of people” that did meditation also ran marathons (sadly, not me), ate vegan (I could write an “ode to steak”), and wore clothes made out of hemp (which I still don’t fully understand).
That was before I knew the mind, body, and spirit benefits of meditation that you feel the very first time you do it. Meditation is for everyone – including me.
In general, I’m an extremely positive person. I’m also a control freak who loses my mind when there are too many things on my (always growing) to-do list. I have no time to do any personal down-time activities such as watching television, enjoying a relaxed dinner, um…leaving my office or going outside. I figured there was no time to fit something like this into my life.
Wrong again. Meditation is made for people who don’t have time to do meditation.
The key point to remember about meditation is that after you finish, you are more focused, alert, and relaxed – which means you can look at your out-of-control to-do list and figure out the most efficient way to finish it.
Mental clarity, ladies and gentlemen…that’s what I’m talking about.
My brain often resembles that of a squirrel. I go, go, go and spend a big part of my time “reacting” to all the input instead of being “proactive” and slowing things down so I can get things done. In our fast-paced world – I’m sure you’ve felt the same way.
The Basics of Meditation
There are many variations of this ancient practice but I’m going to focus on the simple one that works best for me and I think you’ll like the way it works for you.
At first, I didn’t know what type of meditation I was doing. I originally found it on a blog that talked a lot about bean sprouts and the inner child about ten years ago – it was another five years before I actually tried it.
I now know (thank you, internet) that the meditation I’ve been doing is an ancient practice called Qi Gong. It is based on the importance of breathing (yes, breathing…that thing we have to do anyway).
You can do it almost anywhere because you remain standing. This is key for me since I tend to use my garage. Don’t judge me – it’s the only place in my house that is teenager- and pet-free. No one wants to go out there because there are wasps and it stays about 100 degrees during the summer and 20 during the winter.
I pretend I’m going out there to figure out something for dinner (my huge freezer lives out there). This is guaranteed to keep everyone away because I might ask them for help. Gasp!
The Meditation Technique:
- 1. Stand with your feet slightly apart, kind of relaxed. Let your arms dangle at your sides and keep your hands loose.
- 2. Inhale slowly, exhale slowly – pay attention to each breath. I usually count to three between them (inhale, hold for a count of three, exhale, hold for a count of three…repeat).
- 3. Allow yourself to feel your body from the ground up – how your feet feel on the floor, how your joints are connected to each other, how your breaths expand your chest.
- 4. Push your hips forward and tip your head back – stretching your neck and extending your spine – to allow each inhale/exhale to fill up more of your lungs.
- 5. I do this for no less than five minutes and no more than ten each day.
The focus I feel immediately afterward is fantastic and I can address what needs to be done without a sense of urgency (that usually doesn’t apply anyway). There have been days when I’ve done this in the morning and again at night to regain the calm my day has worn away.
There’s a body-brain connection that meditation helps to strengthen. You can read about this and other meditation practices in Daily Superfood Love’s book “Superfoodify Your Life.”
Don’t wait another day to include the benefits of meditation in your daily life. Meditation doesn’t require a class, a DVD, or a “quiet room” – all it requires is for you to take five minutes to center yourself. I promise, they are five well-invested minutes.
You and me…we’re those “kinds of people.”
Shayne McClendon is an author and positivity practitioner. Shayne believes love crosses all boundaries, social castes, races, genders, and belief systems. If you are lucky enough to find soul-deep love, you should fight for it. Life-certified, reader approved.