My sophomore year of college I decided to attend a yoga class at a local studio and after sixty minutes of “Gentle Flow” my nineteen year old self was feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to take on the world. Soon I discovered, throughout my time at Dharma Studio, I didn’t particularly love the exercise, but loved the moment at the end: savasana. I learned that the purpose of savasana was to bring a deep meditative state of rest to conclude class. I much preferred the rest at the end, than the work in the middle, which made me think I would rather enjoy meditation.
When I used to hear the word meditation I would pair it with an extreme scenario like sitting a top a mountain at sunrise burning incense. But meditation can be as simple as sitting in a chair and focusing on your breath.
I had heard many things about a mediation practice, I knew my uncle meditated, my friends had taken a course on mindfulness in college, but I didn’t really understand how to get started. I started doing research on different techniques and tools I could use to start and found this app called “Calm” in the app store. I decided to download it onto my phone and the rest is history, I can say that it has absolutely changed my life.
As I am extremely fortunate to have been given opportunities in the writing world, theatre realm, and life in general, my anxiety can flare up sometimes; making it hard to walk through my day without feeling panicked about all the things I need to do. I had been searching for a way to ease my apprehension and was lucky enough to find meditation.
I am not sitting cross legged on a bare concrete floor, or breathing in incense at dawn. I am sitting comfortably on a pillow, which I specifically keep in my room for my practice, and focus on my breath. There is nothing religious in my practice; I know that some faiths like Buddhism have affiliation with such methods, but for me I am focusing on becoming the best "me" I can. Channeling into my breathing and allowing my worries to "pass like clouds in the sky" are my goals.
Meditation has made me a happier and more grounded person.
There are many different ways to meditate and tools you can use to help you center yourself. My favorite app to use is Calm.com, which provides soothing sounds like "Mountain Lake," "Sunset Beach," or my favorite, "Gently Flowing Stream," to play in the background as you meditate.
There are several guided programs, and the "7 Days of Calm" gives you a taste of numerous types of focus techniques like "Body Scan" or a simple practice called "Calm" which has you relax specific parts of your body through your breathing. Calm is also really wonderful because you're able to track when you meditate, for how long, and helps set personal goals to become more mindful in your practice.
Whenever I am irritated, sad, lonely, or overwhelmed I turn to my practice of meditation. I implore you to do more research on what meditation is and to try it yourself. I meditate for a 10-minute session every morning. I suggest starting at smaller increments of time, like two-five minutes with using an app like Calm or Headspace.
Meditation has changed my life.
Always remember that you are striving for the journey, not a destination. So do not be frustrated that it doesn't provide mind blowing results after the first couple sessions. Keep practicing. I am no expert on mindfulness or meditation, as I learn more and more about it every day, but it has changed my life in a wonderful way.