I will never doubt anything now.
It’s not that I had any doubts about meditation, it was just something that I never saw being part of my lifestyle. I like to think of myself as pretty intense in the gym and tough as nails and meditation couldn’t fit in there.
It only took one session doing hot yoga to take me down a notch.
As strong and fit as I thought I was I was humbled by yoga and then found out how beneficial it was not only for strength and flexibility but to curb anxiety and find a better sense of calm.
Could meditation have a similar effect?
I’ve been seeing more and more people make reference to it and thought I would throw my hat in the ring doing it everyday for a month. Here’s what I found.
I have never had the greatest attention span, I’m kind of like a hummingbird after a 6-pack of RedBull so the thought of having to be inactive and sit motionless for an extended period of time seemed intimidating to me. I took a lesson as my role from a personal trainer instructing new clients and reminded myself to start small and build from there. Similar to being new to fitness if you take on too much all at once you’re not only going to feel overwhelmed but frustrated and probably burn out.
I decided on 5 minutes at first and used an app which not only had good reviews but after checking my last credit card statement was also free.
It had guided meditation which I thought would be helpful as I had no idea what I was doing.
I’ve always been aware of the benefits of breathing through sports and fitness and how it’s incredibly important for your health but I liked hearing instruction on how to focus on your breathing. My mind tends to be all over the place so learning to be aware of your breathing and returning back to the sensations of it if your mind wanders was very helpful.
I played around with a few different instructional meditations and they all had this focus on returning to the breath. This was pretty awesome to me and after the first 5 days I was going up to ten minutes each time. By the end, I was doing 15 minutes which is pretty good for me. Along with this increased discipline, I felt some other effects.
This is weird to explain as I think I’ve always had a touch of anxiety but it’s been more prevalent in the last year. I had started to get heart palpitations from the stress of it all and I don’t know how else to explain it but they are completely gone.
I had been conscious to not make other changes in my life to see what meditation could do so have kept workouts and diet the same. I imagine this is a key feature of meditating but my heart rate surges seem completely under control and nonexistent now.
After seeing many people do the same I decided to meditate early on in the day as it seems a good setup for rest of it. I found myself with more energy and more alert, a benefit I didn’t know, or expect, to be reached. I just had a feeling of more motivation and a lightness that made me more energized.
I’m not sure if it’s a direct result of the meditation or that I become more aware of my breathing when going to sleep but I found myself able to fall asleep quicker and wake up a bit more refreshed. Not perfect but definitely an improvement. Some of those tired mornings may have been from watching a late night House Hunters marathon..
It was only 15 minutes but I felt more on top of things and was able to set up what I needed to do each day a lot better. I think that time helps you to focus and clear your head so you get a better hold on what you need to accomplish each day. It’s a great discipline that to me has a trickle down effect to other areas of your life.
I will definitely stick with meditation. I know I’ll miss days here and there but I can’t picture the day without it now. I realize everyone will find different results and experiences from it but my goal now is to try and increase the time each day and I look forward to seeing where that takes me!
Originally published at medium.com