Let’s be honest: It’s not always easy to put your mind at ease.
The demands of everyday life can trigger stress and anxiety that can be difficult to manage. Major events, feeling overwhelmed by new or increasing responsibilities, and the rise in global strife are just a few examples of things that can impact an individual’s well-being. For some, striking a balance and being present in the face of these factors can come as a challenge.
One tool that can aid in reaching a deeper state of calm when experiencing such stressors is meditation.
Meditation is a practice that “develops awareness of the present moment,” according to Healthline. The benefits of adopting meditative practices into your wellness routine include decreasing negative emotions, boosting your overall mood, improving sleep, and even an “increase in quality of life” as reported in a 2018 study.
While meditation is a simple and accessible exercise for your mind that requires zero equipment or a gym pass, getting started in this practice can come with its share of mental blockage or roaming thoughts to master — but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome them.
For help, we called on MIRROR trainer and lululemon ambassador Pilin Anice for her insight on how to jumpstart your journey with meditative practices to get you living a calmer, more relaxed life.
On how she got started on her path to mindful meditation:
When I was a BFA student at Howard University, I was first introduced to yoga as it was offered as part of the dance curriculum. While I didn’t love it at first, the experience left a lasting impression on me. After graduating, I turned to yoga to improve my stretching and condition my body as a performing artist. Through consistent practice to unite my breath and body, yoga restored and balanced me not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. I fell in love!
On the benefits of stretching, yoga, and breathwork as a healthy alternative to traditional physical activities:
The benefits of yoga and breathwork are immense and can fully support and complement all physical activities. Some of these benefits include supporting recovery and preventing injury; building and increasing breath capacity and awareness; improving clarity and mental focus; connecting us to our bodies’ innate wisdom; and increasing stability and endurance.
On overcoming mental roadblocks and starting small:
Meditation does not stop the mind from thinking! Some tips on overcoming these mental blocks include the following:
- Meditation is a practice of being fully present from a place of non-judgment.
- If your mind feels busy, try counting your breaths, listening to a guided meditation, or engaging in a mantra or affirmation to anchor your attention.
- Start small, exploring two to five minutes of practice.
- Extend love and compassion to yourself throughout.
- Remember that as you practice, the mind will drift and when it does, just notice and simply begin again.
On the advice she would give to encourage Black women to get into yoga/meditation:
Restorative practices such as yoga and meditation are just what we need as individuals and as a collective. This is helpful when we want to slow down, breathe deeply, destress our bodies, and embrace a future where we are rested, healed, and loved.
Yoga is for everybody. It is a gateway to presence, self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-love. Just show up to your mat as you are to be with yourself and keep coming back for consistency!