Trick or treat?
Why, treat of course!!! Always treat. :)
While ur treat today for you today isn’t edible like your favorite piece of candy, I still hope you enjoy it's sweetness.
Because what's more SWEET than cultivating peace?
If you're like me, then you might know what it's like to hit the ground running the moment you open your eyes. You might find your head's already in the day before you're very first sun salute.
A student once asked me - "hey are you always this calm?" Heck no! This is why yoga, and meditation in particular is so incredibly important in my life.
Morning rituals and dinacharya (daily routines) support our optimal health. Whether your ritual consists of a short self care practice - like drinking a warm cup of lemon water each morning; or extensive like your asana practice - what you do in the morning sets the tone for your day.
Waking up and checking your phone for the latest news?
GoodThink, a team of happiness researchers conducted a study that showed people who were exposed to three minutes of negative news in the morning were 27% likelier to say they'd had a bad day six to eight hours later.
While it’s impossible to ignore the daily news cycle - being a citizen of the world demands we remain engaged in current events - the morning time is a time for us to start with a personal blank slate. It's a chance for us to cultivate positive emotion and positive thinking. A little bit of sitting in stillness and meditation can go a long way in helping you handle the multiple stressors that come up in your day, including upsetting news cycles.
Here's our SPECIAL HALLOWEEN TREAT FOR YOU - a bite sized short and sweet morning meditation - delivered by our little wolfie. I may be a little biased, but isn’t she cute? ;)
Meditation is transformative. While studies in mindfulness are still young, collected data shows many benefits of meditation; including a decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lowered blood pressure rates in research participants.
But wait, you know what’s tricky? Resistance. Yep. Resistance is our old friend.
Resistance comes up when there's something we know we should do that's good for us. You want to read more about Resistance? Read Steven Pressfield's book The War of Art.
He breaks Resistance down to its bones. Resistance is the number one reason why we skip out on practice, eat that second cookie or revert to making that snarky remark to our partner. Resistance is an obstacle. But if we catch resistance by it's tail and notice when it comes up - it shows us an opportunity for growth.
Full disclosure here - more often than not - life pulls me in many directions. There are days I let my meditation practice slide. I know *gasp*! So lately, I've changed up my routine to help me get back to a morning meditation practice.
Here are our top 3 tricks to get you back on track.
Ha! So we do have tricks for you too!
1. BREAK UP WITH YOUR PHONE. First thing in the morning, whatever you do, don’t look at your phone. As a matter of fact - get a charging station and set it up in another room so you're not tempted to roll over in bed and grab your favorite device. Set a digital sunset and power down your devices an hour or two before bed.
But wait Charina, didn't you just give me a link to a sweet little guided meditation? Yes - if you find that a guided meditation helps you practice, then you'll probably need some sort of digital device. What I'm talking about here is the act of grabbing your phone after waking, lying in bed and scrolling until you find you've just spent 15-30 minutes looking at your news feed or Instagram.
This leads us to...
2. CREATE AN UNCLUTTERED AND COMFORTABLE MEDITATION SPACE - A space where you can sit or lie comfortably. This space might have a nearby table where you can write your intention down or reflections in your journal. If you're going to use a guided meditation via recording or app, then charge your device here. Prepare the space the night before. Pre-load your music, timer, or audio guide and have your journal and pen nearby so you have all your tools ready for the morning.
3. BUSY SEASON? START SHORT- The number one thing that Resistance loves are lofty goals. So, if you’re busy or new to practice, aim for a short meditation. Start with a few minutes, then five and gradually increase. If you find that your mind starts to wander once you sit for longer periods, back off until you're able to sit for a longer duration. Meditation isn't about controlling or stilling the mind. It’s about cultivating mindful awareness through observation. Which is why we can also practice meditation while drinking a cup of tea, walking through our neighborhood or washing the dishes.
Ok - because you're so darn stinkin' cute in your Halloween costume, here's one more trick, ahem treat.
4. PRACTICE CONSISTENTLY. You know that observation part? Well that’s the amazing thing about meditation. Practice consistently and you’ll start to notice the PATTERNS of thoughts in your mind. Those patterns are important in showing you where your work lies. Right now, if your consistent looks like once a week know it's ok, you're doing your best. Don't give up. Keep practicing. Be kind to yourself in what you're able to do in this season of your life. The same goes for your asana practice or any other practice, workout, or personal goal you're working towards to.
For me, consistency means that I sit quietly before I start my movement practice. More often if I just begin with postures, I cut my sitting practice short. This way I don’t miss out on this sacred time of the day for reflection and intention.
So you may be thinking that some of these tricks may not work for you. You might find that another time of day, like afternoon or evening may be best. Take what works and leave the rest behind.
One more thing - if you have additional tools that help you in your practice, please share! Your wisdom will help another person in our community get back on track.
Now I’d love to hear from you - Where are your favorite places to go for guided meditation or dharma talks? Please email us or comment on our post!
We hope this post is useful to you, stay tuned for more sweet treats as we enter in the holiday season.