Continuing with our healthy habits of the mind, body and soul series, today I would like to share a little bit about my meditation practice–how I got started meditating and some useful tools I use to set my mind from wandering.
From around the time I was in middle school, different forms of meditation have been a part of my daily life. My grandma gave me some books around that time and they caught my interest. While reading them, I began experimenting with different meditation techniques while holed up in my room for hours at a time. I tried all sorts of meditation when I was young: candle light, visualization, chakra, walking meditation and meditative free writing–just to name a few.
During college, I spent time living in France for a semester working on an art program. Without the distractions of “normal” life, work and school, I was able to enjoy walking meditation daily, which doesn’t get much better while walking the lovely streets and fields of France! As young adult, I went through phases of meditation regularly and then not meditating at all. Once the practice of yoga became a focal point in my life, my meditation practice came back as well. Pranayama, the yogic practice of breath control, became a big part of my meditation practice.
Today, I have a sacred space in my home where I meditate. It is a calm, clutter-free room with objects that hold meaning to me and that I think are beautiful. I aim for a daily 20-30 minute meditation. Of course, I sometimes “fall off the wagon” and miss days, or even weeks, but I always start again. I’m a huge fan of mixing different techniques of meditation, which allow me to apply the techniques I need that particular day. I didn’t always have a room for meditation–for years I would just find a clutter-free corner of my current apartment to plop down, so it’s certainly not a necessity! When I am actively practicing meditation, I have found that my mind is calmer, I am able to deal with anxiety and stress more easily and it also prepares me for creative decision making throughout my day. It is amazing how just focusing the breath and calming the mind can revitalize your spirit and body.
Here are some resources and techniques that are some of my favorites for my meditation practice:
I often start meditation with some Pranayama or breath work and am generally seated in a comfortable sitting position, my hands on my knees, palms up toward the sky. If I have a lot of energy that needs to be let out to calm myself I will start with some kapalabati, or “skull shining breath.” Once I’m calm, Nadhi Shodhana, is a favorite to help clear my mind. Lastly, my favorite is a three part ujjayi breath, bringing me into the present moment.
This podcast has a great collection of guided meditations, and I love her voice! These are my go to when I know I will need some extra help quieting my mind 🙂
I also love my aromatherapy diffuser with my doTerra essential oil serenity scent and my salt crystal candle holder. These scents and visuals help me get into a calmer space by simply stepping into my meditation area.
If you are interested in starting or expanding your own meditation practice, the best advice I can give and what I have to tell myself every time I sit down to meditate, is that you can’t do anything wrong. If I am sitting, breathing and focusing on my breath I am meditating–it is just important that you are where you are. Thoughts will naturally come into your mind, sometimes I can notice them and say “no, thank you thought, I am focusing on my breath now” and sometimes I realize I’ve been thinking about an interaction I had with a grocery store employee four days ago and what I’m going to make for dinner for the entire meditation! Either way, it is a beneficial practice!
Cassie Uhl is the founder and owner of Zenned Out, a jewelry company that handcrafts jewelry with meaning and provides a community that inspires a mindful and spiritual lifestyle. Cassie grew up with a open minded, astrology obsessed grandmother and a father that would take her and her sister star gazing in the wee hours of the night. These experiences shaped Cassie and Zenned Out into what they are today by bringing spirituality and astrology into the forefront. Cassie hopes to give spiritual souls a place to feel at home on the Zenned Out blog and offers handcrafted jewelry with meaningful symbols, powerful gemstones, and mindful quotes to enable people to wear jewelry that aligns with their souls purpose.