Did you know meditation grows the gray matter of your brain? It also shrinks your amygdala, the part of the brain where fight or flight lives, and grows your frontal lobes where bliss is experienced. All of which happens within 8 weeks of meditating for as little as 10 minutes a day. WHAT?! I heard all of these insightful facts on Jewel's (Jewel the singer of the "who will save your soul, if you won't save your own" fame) Instagram, of all places. I have heard that meditation is good for you. I have read that it helps you slow your thoughts, choose your thoughts more carefullly and become more grounded. However, hearing three very real and cool facts laid out-- I want to grow my gray matter! And I want to grow my frontal lobes!-- hit home in a way that it hasn't before. It gave me tangible reasons to stay more committed to my meditation practice versus the current do it for 3 weeks, take 3 weeks off and repeat. It goes to show you, you never know where you will get inspiration from. Sometimes, it's from a beautiful painting at a fancy museum and sometimes it's from singer's instagram. Insert shrug emjoi here.
Being that I'm feeling reinvigorated with my meditation practice, I wanted to share my three favorite meditations. I meditate for 10 minutes a day. I try to do the morning if I can and if not I'll sit quietly in the afternoon. Eventually, I will work up to twenty minutes and I would like to have two sessions a day but, I will take a consistent practice for right now.
For all of the below meditations take a comfortable seat. It doesn't have to be on a cushion, sitting cross legged. You can sit against a wall or on a chair. If you have tight hips sitting in a chair or sitting on a yoga block will likely be more comfortable for you. Light candle or incense if you like those things and it helps you to set a mood. If you don't want a mood, do you boo. Also, set an alarm for 10 minutes!
Tony Robbins priming meditation
Close your eyes and for the first three minutes lift your arms above your head with spread fingers on an inhale and on your exhale close your fists as you pull your arms down. Repeat on inhale and exhale. Do three rounds of ten. After each set, rest your hands on your thighs palms up and just feel the energy moving through you. The second three minutes, eyes still closed, image a beam of light coming from the sky and into the top of you head. Feel that beam of light travel through your body and come back out through your feet and into the ground. From the ground the light will come back into your body through your feet, up through your body and leave out your head-- creating a circuit. Continue to breath the light through your body. When you feel the light strongly coursing through you, try to start to push the light outside of you. Try to cover whatever you're next to with the light and see how far you could push it out. Slowly start to bring the light back into your body. For the next three minutes, place your hands on your heart and one at a time find three things you're grateful for. After the third, take the last minute to just sit in silence until your alarm goes off. I included the time breakdown for continuity sake but, don't worry about each section being three minutes. I often spend a lot of time in the light part. Again, do you boo.
Okay, I'm about to unlock a big secret in the meditation world. Do you know TM meditation costs $1000 to learn how to do it? I'm going to teach you for free! All you need is a mantra. Apparently, having a teacher giving you a mantra is worth a $1000 BUT, I say choose one that feels good to say. I like So Hum. "So" means I am and "Hum" means that. It's a mantra on the mystery of being. I know that sounds heavy but, it feels good to say in my mind. If that doesn't feel good for you find a mantra that will feel good to say in your head. Now, get comfortable and close your eyes, inhale so and exhale Hum. That's it! You know TM. Boom. When your mind wanders, notice the thoughts and gently draw it back to the mantra. Repeat until your alarm goes off.
This meditation is how I initially started my practice. It feels a bit like training wheels and I really like it. It's incredibly simple. Close your eyes and starting from fifty begin to count backward. Go slow and you can sync the counting with your breath. When your mind wanders, and it will, gently bring it back to where you were in the count. If you lose count, no problem, just continue from wherever you last remember. When you reach one, simply watch your breath. When your timer goes off, open your eyes and pat yourself on your back for a job well done.
Alright, that's it kids. Go grow your gray matter!