I began exploring meditation at the ripe age of nine, drawing inspiration from a "New Age" mother and a father who was fascinated by Buddhism. I remember going to some very amazing places in those meditations where I didn't feel limited by time or space. As I went on to college I became interested in other things – like girls and good times – and meditation fell to the wayside. During this decade of indulgence, I knew something was missing. There was a feeling of being hollow, incomplete, and lost. It wasn't until I found my way into my first yoga class – which involved chanting and meditation – that I felt like I had finally reunited with that powerful person of younger years!
Many students come to me after class and ask how they can learn more about meditation. There are so many techniques available, and it can be intimidating to know where to begin. When developing the meditation component for my Ultimate Yogi 108 Day Program, I knew I wanted to pick meditations that were accessible and universal.
To start, find a quiet, clean, comfortable place in your home devoted to your meditation practice. It can be a room or just a corner of a room, but this will be your spot associated with getting still. You want to select a time where you will be uninterrupted. Traditionally, early in the morning is recommended, but find the time that works for you. Sit on the floor using a meditation pillow, or if necessary, use a straight back chair. The important thing is to sit with your spine erect.
1 – Gratitude Meditation
Gratitude is a high vibrational place to exist in. In this meditation practice, begin to focus on all the things you are grateful for. Feel a surge of gratitude swelling as you give thanks to the blessings that exist in your life such as your home, access to food, clothes, the planet, all the beautiful places you've experienced, the amazing people that exist within your life, and most importantly, to the miracle of YOU! What you give gratitude towards, you attract more of into your life.
2 – Dedication Meditation
Summon within your heart somebody who you know is struggling. Your dedication may focus on a person who is battling a life-threatening disease, a region of the planet that is going through a war, a place that has recently experienced a natural catastrophe, or a family pet. Spend time visualizing what you've chosen being showered and bathed with good vibes. This is a form of Karma Yoga, the yoga of selfless action, and you can guarantee that your subject will benefit from your thoughts and prayers.
3 – Affirmation Meditation
The things you think are the things you become. Your thoughts lead to actions, your actions lead to habits, your habits lead to a personality, and your personality leads to your present reality. If you are interested in enhancing your present reality, it all traces back to the thoughts you allow to enter into your mind. Choose a quality that you would like to strengthen within you. It could be forgiveness, compassion, patience, creativity, health, or love, but find something that has resonance for you. Once you've chosen your quality, plug it into the sentence, "I Am _______." So, if you selected “health,” it would be "I Am Health." Now, internally recite the affirmation over and over keeping the mind focused and one pointed.
4 – Repetition Meditation
Now, similar to the previous Affirmation Meditation, repeat the chosen quality for example, “Health... Health… Health...,” stripping away the words “I” and “Am.” The real battle is the one that takes place inside the mind. If you experience boredom, resistance, or even the ego rearing its ugly head screaming, "STOP, you're wasting your time!" – just know that you are not alone. This is why so many people talk about meditation but don't practice it. It's hard to erase old programs we've been given, but Conquer your Mind and start to write programs that are conducive to a fully empowered, healthy, joyful life!
Each time you repeat the quality, you are driving it deeper into the soil of your consciousness. Imagine every cell in your body illuminated as the total embodiment of your chosen quality. At the end of this meditation stop the repetition, and take some time to sit in complete stillness and silence. Finish by feeling "light" which is the key word in "enLIGHTenment!" Take your time slowly opening your eyes, bringing serenity with you, as you transition from the internal back to the external world.
Feel free to devote about five minutes per meditation for a total of 20 minutes. You can tailor the program to fit your schedule modifying as needed. Just like practicing an instrument, it's better to do a little everyday as opposed to a lot every now and then. Be focused, committed, and consistent. And, feel free to share your experience!