World Meditation Day is right around the corner on May 21st! The holiday intends to create awareness about meditation and its benefits, especially in our fast-paced world of constant movement and distractions, including social media. The meditation practice is meant to reduce stress, increase calmness and focus, and, most of all, promote happiness. The best part about meditation is that anyone can practice it, as it’s inexpensive and requires no special equipment, and you can set your schedule as you see fit. As Black women, we must take the time to pour into ourselves and be mindful of our stress levels.
The Different Types of Meditation
According to Healthline, there are several popular types of meditation, which include mindfulness, spiritual, focused, movement, mantra, and more. While several options exist, selecting practices that enhance your lifestyle is important.
In mindfulness meditation, the idea is to sit still and pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. In this practice, the goal is to be less judgemental around your thought process, as you shouldn’t be attached to the thoughts or become involved with them; instead, you observe and note any patterns.
Spiritual meditation focuses on developing a deeper understanding and appreciation for a higher power, despite a particular religion. This practice can be done at home or in a place of worship and benefits those looking for spiritual growth.
Focused meditation may be advanced for beginners as it challenges participants to hold their focus for longer than a few minutes. This practice is ideal for anyone who wants to sharpen their focus, deepen their awareness and attention.
Despite what one may assume, meditation doesn’t have to be done sitting down with your legs crossed and eyes closed. Movement meditation is highly popular because it’s active. People who participate in the practice can walk, garden, do tai chi, and do light yoga as a gentle form of movement. Movement meditation works well for people who enjoy being active but want to deepen their body awareness.
You may already be familiar with mantra meditation if you’re a fan of Tina Turner. The practice is prominent in many Hindu and Buddhist teachings and traditions, as it uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase, or sound, one of the most common being “om” or chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. After chanting your desired mantra for a while, it’s said that you’ll be more alert and in tune with your environment, ultimately blocking out any noise or distraction within your mind and around you. This meditation might be ideal if you enjoy focusing on words rather than your breath. It’s also a great practice for people who don’t like silence and enjoy repetition.
Benefits of Meditation
Regardless of the type of meditation you choose, the practice helps your emotional and physical well-being. When you meditate, spend time with yourself, and clear your mind, you can clear away unneeded information that builds up in your brain, which may contribute to stress. See the emotional and physical benefits of meditation below.
The Emotional and Physical Benefits of Meditation Can Include the Following:
A new perspective on stressful situations
Deepened internalized skills to manage your stress
Focused on the present and remaining grateful for what you have
Reduced negative emotions
Increased imagination and creativity
Increased patience and tolerance
Lowered resting heart rate
Lowered resting blood pressure
Improved sleep quality
Lowered blood pressure
A great sense of empathy and connection with others
Increased confidence and the ability to handle difficult and stressful situations
Now, How To Get Started Meditating
Set a time to meditate: To get started, make time for the practice. Setting aside time for formal meditation is important to establish a routine and get comfortable with the practice, even if it’s just a few minutes of the day throughout the week.
Pick a designated area in your home: To begin meditating consistently, it may be easier to carve out a space just for the practice to limit unwanted distractions.
Listening to basic guided meditations: Although you can practice mindful meditation on your own anywhere, listening to a guided meditation can also be helpful, especially when getting started. Check out Headspace or the Calm App.
Close your eyes and take note of your body: Throughout your meditation practice, it’s important to internally check in with your body to ensure you’re continuously comfortable.