Meditation and practicing mindfulness are becoming as popular as wearing yoga pants these days. What is it, about meditation, that’s making everyone from teachers to CEOs swear by it?
I recently sat down with Jerrica Fritzley, a meditation teacher and fellow yogi. She and I talked at length about the nuts and bolts of meditation and how important it has been in her life.
In her younger years Jerrica suffered from depression. Not wanting to go on anti-depressants she turned to meditation.
She started taking meditation classes from a woman who taught, not only to heal others, but to heal herself as well. Jerrica’s teacher has Lyme disease.
Jerrica discovered through meditation that she tends to be so empathetic towards others that it gets in the way of her following her own intentions. She noticed that she was making decisions based on what others believed instead of on her own beliefs.
Meditating started to instantly make her feel better. She started to see herself making her own decisions and taking control of her life. She said “everything around me started to seem lighter, like meditation brought the light out of my body and showed it not only to the world but to myself”.
Jerrica explained that this is her form of therapy and that meditation enables her to reset and balance her brain if she feels bombarded by other people’s energy.
She now teaches meditation to children sharing the lessons it has taught her with them.
Here are some of Jerrica’s tips to building a solid meditation practice:
- Start a mindfulness practice first. Becoming more present with your surroundings and your thoughts encourages awareness which sets the stage for a successful meditation practice.
- Pinpoint things to focus on. Whether it be following your breath, counting to ten or scanning the body your focus will lead the way to a quiet mind.
- Listen to your body and modify to fit your comfort level. Contrary to popular belief you do not need to sit cross legged on the floor with your hands on your knees sitting up strait. Which ever position allows you to relax and be comfortable is the best position to be in for meditation. It can be anything from sitting in a chair to lying down. One of Jerrica’s favorite ways to meditate is in child’s pose.
- It’s OK to let your mind wander. Look at your thoughts like you are watching mindless TV. View them, acknowledge them and then let them go. Try not to have any emotional attachment to them. Go back to the breath.
- Meditate anywhere, anytime. Being unconventional with your practice will not only enable you to do it more often but will make it so it becomes a part of your life and mindset. Meditation can occur when taking a walk, fishing or doing a mindless task at work. You can also use it to escape anytime you feel like someone has taken your energy. Jerrica suggests ducking into a bathroom stall or empty room at work and taking five minutes to yourself to breathe and recalibrate.
- Be patient with yourself. Your practice doesn’t have to be perfect (that’s why they call it a practice). Your awareness will grow over time and it will become easier.
- Try out an app, a class or a guided meditation. There are many ways to practice meditation these days. If your schedule is too busy to go to a class downloading an app like Headspace is a great option. There are also many guided meditations online to help you. These can be great motivational tools if you are just starting out.
I persoanlly downloaded the Headspace App after reading about it in a magazine and hearing a friend rave about it (she uses it when she can’t fall asleep). After only a couple of days I have gotten myself on more of a routine and I look forward to sitting down to ten minutes of meditation almost daily now. I am confidant that over time my practice will grow by how quickly I was able to implement it in the first place.
Where do you have five to ten minutes in your day to quiet your mind? What do you think the benefits would be?
If you already have a meditation practice share your tips in the comments section we would love to hear them.
Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and experience host whose writing focuses on cooking, holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made foods.