Meditation: Scary, Difficult, Annoying...Doable?

#Meditation is one of those top health and wellness hashtags these days. People try it at their bikram yoga studios and come out saying things like, "Wow, I feel SO refreshed," touching each other, and sighing, "Namasteeee." And the rest of us try it by following online tutorials in the privacy of our own homes but still can't seem to "clear our minds." So we roll our eyes and call the yoga people new-agey and annoying.  Because meditation is annoying and stupid and DIFFICULT. 

Yes, meditation can be HARD. Can you imagine turning your brain off for 45 minutes like they ask you to in those magazines and yoga classes? Have you tried it? It's damn near impossible. Especially for those of us who are just looking to try it out to manage our hair-pulling and stress-eating habits. So we leave those silly, hot, steamy yoga studios slightly deflated, pulling our hair, and reaching for the cookies at home. 

But the truth of the matter is, meditation IS healthy and DOES help tremendously with stress and anxiety management. So the following is for those who still want to give it a try but don't know what to do.

Here are some things that meditation DOESN'T have to be: 

  • It does not have to be is a 45 minute long session in a hot, steamy, yoga room where you're trying not to fall asleep, get sweat in your eyes, or fart. 
  • It does not have to involve sitting on a boho cushion, closing your eyes, and participating in that loud Ujjayi/oceanic breathing (in through your nose, out through your mouth but add some throaty noises). 
  • It does not have to be an exercise in "clearing your mind." 
  • It does not have to be so DIFFICULT.

Here are the things that it CAN be: 

  • It can be as quick as 1-2 minutes.
  • It can be something you do during the little moments in life, for example, when waiting at a stop light, waiting for your gas to fill up, while you're walking your dog, when your teenager is driving you up a wall. 
  • It can be called a "self-awareness" or "breathing" exercise. 
  • It can be an exercise where you just plain, plain, plain, focus on belly breathing. 

The following is a tiny tutorial on meditation/self-awareness/breathing" 

  1. You can be sitting or standing.
  2. If you can, put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. 
  3. Breathe in and try to expand your belly so that the hand on your belly moves more than the one on your chest.  
  4. Take a few (5) breaths and take note of how you're feeling. Calmer? 
  5. Repeat when needed. 

I hope that made this calming exercise a little less scary. Now you can join the mobs and say that you meditate!