Meditation is something I like to include when talking about Pilates. Pilates focuses on our mind and body and I’ve found meditation to be very helpful with my Pilates practice. It’s helped me reduce the clutter in my head.
My favorite app for meditating in the morning is Insight Timer. The app is free and there are tons of meditations for free. In fact I can’t think of paying for a meditation ever! In the past I’ve tried Calm and there aren’t as many free options.
Sometimes I choose a guided meditation from 5-10 minutes.
One of my favorite instructors is Andrew Johnson and his meditations focusing on relaxation. He helps you relax all of your muscles leaving you with a heavy feeling. This helps energize your body and relieve tension.
Another of my favorite instructors is Karen with Open Lotus. She includes affirmations within her meditations. The important thing to know about affirmations is they need to believable. If you try a meditation and it doesn’t work for you, try another one!
I also use the timer option.
This allows me to set a timer with a gong to start the meditation and a gong to end it. Lately I’ve been practicing silent meditation. This is hard for me because I don’t enjoy sitting in silence with my own thoughts. When I do silent meditations, I focus on counting my breath or asking the question “Who am I?” and wait for an answer. (Spoiler alert there’s no true answer to that question and if you have one it’s from the ego)
You can also choose background music for the timer option or an interval bell/gong. This is a great way to start silent meditations after doing guided ones. Or start with non guided ones if that appeals to you!
Relaxing the psoas
When I find myself stressed or overwhelmed during the day I do a meditation focusing on my psoas. I use The Wong Janice’s cello music (link) and lay down in constructive rest position. You can read more about this method here.
Lastly, I enjoy meditations focusing on the chakras.
If I find my lower back tight, I’ll choose a sacral chakra meditation to help release it. There are 7 chakras in the body starting with the root (tailbone) going all the way up to your forehead. The 7th one is an overall body chakra. I love using this meditation for focusing on all chakras in a short amount of time.
There are also books you can use to help start meditating.
The Inner Gym is one I began reading when starting. The first 5-7 days you focus on your meditation practice. I would set a reminder in my reminders app to begin this habit and do it right after breakfast. This was the time that worked best with my schedule. Starting my day with meditation helps me start off on the right foot. If I miss it, I still try to do one in the afternoon and usually the psoas option.
Another great book for meditation is The Blooming of a Lotus by Thich Naht Hanh. My first meditation instructor used his book in person. I love his focus on inhaling and exhaling. “Aware of my body, I breathe in. Smiling to my body, I breathe out.” You can choose the one that suits you depending on your day. These meditations are helpful when focusing on your breath.
I even use Insight Timer for music at night to help me sleep.
I love this one that’s 2.5 hours long. There are many options for sleep including ones to help you fall asleep. Andrew Johnson reads children’s stories which are great. His voice is soothing and helps you fall asleep.
Lastly, Insight Timer has courses you can take on specific subjects such as trauma, perfectionism, chakras, and more. You do need to pay for these with a membership which is about $60 for a year. They also have live events with the instructors (these are free) and there’s even yoga if that interests you!
When starting a new habit like meditation remember that each day is a new day. Sometimes you’ll miss and instead of thinking poorly of yourself, know that you’ll start over again tomorrow. Also even if you don’t feel like doing it, remind yourself that it’s important to you. Just do it! You’ll be happy you did.
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