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Tips on How to Cultivate a Meditation Practice

How to get meditating

Mindfulness has become a buzzword in today’s modern society as newspaper and magazine articles are touting the tremendous benefits of a mindfulness meditation practice. It’s true. Modern neuroscience now supports what ancient yogis have known for centuries ~ that personal growth and inner healing happen from the inside-out, through healthy amounts of stillness and silence. Meditation is the formal practice of mindfulness, can happen anywhere and doesn’t require buddha statues, incense or monks chanting “om.” Through consistent meditation practice, you can boost your mood, increase your sense of purpose in life, improve sleep and decrease inflammation in the body, to name just a few of the fantastic benefits. 

Here’s How To Get Meditating:

1) Start Small

You don’t want meditation to become another item on the “to-do” list to begin with 5 minutes every morning. Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, sit up in bed and dedicate yourself to 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation. When the practice becomes a non-negotiable like brushing our teeth, a habit is formed.

2) Befriend the Breath

Remember that the way in which you breathe is a metaphor for how you walk through life. Is your breath flowing and expansive or is it tight and constricted? As you settle into your 5-minute morning practice, use the breath as your guide into the body. Only pay attention to the textures of each inhale and exhale. Sense as the chest and belly expand and contract. Witness the various energetic and emotional states you experience as you invite the breath to expand throughout every inch of your body. 

3) Mindful Mantra

The stress hormone, cortisol, is highest in the morning. Why? When our eyes awaken in the “am,” the first thing that’s already flooding our mind is that endless “to-do” list. When we choose to meditate before checking our email or Instagram feeds, we’re proactively hijacking the automatic stress response that happens every morning. Our minds are wired to create thoughts so utilizing a mantra (or affirmation) can be quite helpful to steady the mind. As you are meditating, with each inhales repeat the words “I Am,” internally. As you exhale, repeat the words “At Peace” as you breathe this message to the entire cellular body. Continue this mindful mantra for your 5-minute meditation.

With our thoughts, we create our reality. When we align our thoughts with what we seek to grow within us, our life transforms. Gandhi taught that “our actions express our priorities,” so when we choose to meditate, we make our health, happiness, and well-being our priority.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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