What Happened When I Meditated for 31 Days.
Recently, I have seen many videos/posts abut doing yoga or meditating for a month. The person shares their experiences for others. I decided to give it a try. Everyone is different. I wanted to share my experience with you. I settled on 5 minutes of meditation a day in October. (I did miss two days due to migraines. However, I made up those two days). Although I love yoga asana, meditation has never been a regular part of my practice. I wanted to see if meditation could help my stress levels.
During this month, I noticed four things:
1. My progress was not exponential. I thought that it would get consistently easier. I thought that each day would be more simple than the one before. I assumed that two weeks in, I wouldn't be checking the clock to see if the 5 minutes were up. I thought I would move up to 10 minutes. I was wrong! Just today, I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. I was only 3 and a half minutes in. If you are anything like me, you are constantly running around. Sitting still, for any length of time, will be difficult. You will notice your mind wandering. You will wonder if you should go check the stove. You will constantly think about your to-do list and all the other things that you "should" be doing. You might feel like giving up. Don't! One thing has changed. I look forward to heading to my meditation seat. I used to worry that it was not a good use of my time. I felt silly just sitting there with my eyes closed. Now, I look forward to my five minutes of peace.
2. It can be a bit unnerving for your body to twitch while you are in meditation. It can be VERY unnerving! If you sit still, you will twitch. You will be getting into a zone and then your shoulder will spasm. As a yoga teacher, I knew this would happen. It is the same response that you have when your legs move while falling asleep. Your body releases energy or tension from your muscles as it comes to a relaxed state. It is a good sign when your body does this because you are coming to a place of peace. But it can be unnerving. My toes were the biggest culprit. My eyelids were the second. You get used to it.
3. There are so many different ways to get into a meditative state. You need to figure out what works for you. I started with guided meditations on peace and gratitude. Unfortunately, I found the voices distracting. I know that some people record themselves guiding a meditation so that it mimics their internal voice. I haven't tried doing one of my own yet. I ended up doing a combination of Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) and inspirational quotes. I picked a quote or verse and then focused on that, repeating it silently to myself. I played quiet music in the background.
If you are interested in Yoga Nidra? Check out my two videos: Yoga Nidra for Busy People and Yoga Nidra for Pregnant Women.
4. I never reached a point where my mind was completely blank. Sometimes, my thoughts would not cooperate. Other times, I would clear my mind for a few seconds. Inevitably, a thought would pop up again. I would acknowledge it. Then I would let it go. The important thing is that your body benefits from the sheer act of trying to meditate. You become more mindful as you focus on your breath. Your self-awareness increases as you check in with your mind and body. You are more intune with where your body is tight and where you carry stress. You notice reoccurring thought patterns. You learn to work through the feelings that arise. You also learn that you are not your changing emotions.
My suggestions for starting your own meditation practice are:
-Go in without expectations.
-No matter what, these moments of connecting your body, breath, and mind are beneficial. Even if you don't think you are making progress, you are.
-Try different types of meditation until you find one that works for you. You might try guided-meditation, pranayama breathing techniques, focusing on your breath, mantras, music, or chanting. Play with sitting up to meditate or lying with your back flat on the floor. You could also try a moving-meditation. Go for a walk.
-Stick with it! Even after a month, I know that I haven't even scratched the surface.
-Have an accountability partner. My husband didn't join me in my meditation. By telling him that I would be meditating for five minutes each day, he made sure I kept with it.
I will be continuing this practice in November. Who wants to join me? If you do, leave a comment below. I will connect with you and encourage you with your journey! :)