Isn't it funny how the times when it's hardest to meditate are the times you probably need it the most?
I've worked in the startup/tech industry for the past 6+ years, and to say it's a little crazy would be an understatement. If I'm being honest with myself, a big part of me feeds off of the excitement: a burst of insanity, a ton of brainstorming, a crazy project with a nearly-impossible deadline...there's something about the energy rush that can become addictive.
But you know what also comes with that adrenaline rush? Stress, vritti energy, and in many cases...little to no time to focus in on yourself.
When your career and social life are swirling around you a la Pig-Pen's cloud of dirt, adding on a meditation practice can seem pretty damn daunting. But here's the thing: meditation doesn't have to take up a huge chunk of your day. Creating a daily ritual of setting aside a few quiet moments each night can actually enhance all of the other things you have going on: by dedicating a little time to slow down, collect yourself, and b r e a t h e, you'll be in a better mental state to handle whatever life throws at you tomorrow.
I've created a super-simple, mantra-based meditation practice that I do for about 10 minutes every night when I come home from work. I'd invite you to try it out for yourself - you might like it, too!
Create your environment
Shut off the lights.
Light a few candles, and burn some sage or Palo Santo, both of which are meant to clear negative energy and re-set your space.
Turn on meditative music. I have a dog and a roommate, so as much as I love music as a way to creatively guide my practice, it's also to drown out any external distractions. You can always steal some of my meditation music from Spotify.
- Set an alarm for 12 minutes. I typically give myself a 2 minute buffer to get settled and comfortable before I drop all the way in to meditation.
- Set yourself up comfortably. I use the Gaiam Rectangle Meditation Bolster and sit in either lotus or sukhasana with a long spine.
- Begin to breathe deeply and close your eyes. Forget about ujjayi breath. Forget about whatever you learned in that meditation class. Forget about what you think you should be doing, and just. breathe. In and out through the nose. Calmly begin to observe your breath: can you deepen your inhalations and exhalations? Can you smooth your breathing out at all? Relax the expectations around it, and just go with what you're feeling.
As your breath regulates (inhales and exhales equally long, about 5-6 seconds each), begin to pair the in- and out-breaths with the phrase, "So Hum". As you breathe in, repeat in your mind "So"...As you breathe out, repeat in your mind, "Hum".
- Why "So Hum"?
- So Hum is a verbal representation of the breath; it sort of sounds like your inhalations and exhalations. But more importantly, So Hum translates to "I am".
- Use this as an opportunity to remind you of what you are. Here are a few examples that I use, from time to time:
- Enough. As simple as that. You are enough, exactly as you are.
- Calm. Even if "calm" is the last thing you feel, give yourself the opportunity to explore it: what does "I am calm" feel like. Can you train yourself to become calm, even in difficult moments?
- Capable. Capable of dealing with the pressures of work, family, friendships, relationships.
- Smart. You are mentally equipped with the skills to tackle what is in front of you.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. Your mind will wander, and that's OKAY! You're human, and this is only 10 minutes of your day. Do your best to draw your consciousness back to just the breath, and just your mantra.
When your alarm goes off, gently blink your eyes, wiggle your fingers and toes, and slowly pick yourself back up.
I'll be honest: some days, I'd rather flop on my bed and stare blankly at the ceiling for two hours...but there hasn't been one time yet where I've regretted my meditation session once I get down to it. Especially during busy or difficult weeks, it's such an awesome opportunity to practice some self-care and re-set mentally.
Ten minutes a day is all you need, my loves. You can do it - I know it!
PS - If you want to purchase the bolster I mentioned above, use AMANDA20 at checkout for 20% off your purchases of $50 or more. xo