Meditation 101

Updated: Jul 9, 2019



Have you listened to our second episode of the Here and Now Motherhood podcast? Check it out on Spotify, iTunes, or our website! Here’s a quick overview of the episode if you don’t have time to listen:


Sometimes entering into the world of meditation can be difficult - where do I start? How do I start? And what the heck is meditation?? In the second episode of the Here and Now Motherhood podcast, I go over 3 different kinds of meditation and how they work. If you’re new to meditation, this is for you!


Mindfulness


Okay first of all, I don’t like the term mindfulness. For me it reminds me of after I had my son and I was miserable - I kept googling how to feel better and just kept coming up with mindfulness. When it didn’t work, I felt like a failure and like it was my fault that I felt horrible - pile on the guilt and shame and all that painful stuff. So every time I hear the word mindfulness (not only do I cringe, but) I translate it in my head to “here and now.” Mindfulness is just being right here, right now. It’s being where your feet are, not off in the clouds.


The fastest way to be right here, right now is to focus on your breath. Not only does your breath tell you a lot about what’s going on with you (fast paced = stressed or maybe angry; slow = relaxed, or calm), but you can only breath in the present moment. So focusing on your breath automatically brings you into the present - you can’t breath today or tomorrow, or yesterday, you can only breathe right now.


So to get started with mindfulness, all you have to do is breathe. Notice your breath. How does it feel in your body? Where is it in your body - your belly, your chest? That’s all there is to it!


Mantras


When we hear people chanting a phrase or word in another language, it’s normal for us westerners to want to know what the translation is. It can sound scary or foreign and we want to make sure no one’s casting a spell or anything.


The reason that mantras are usually used in their original Sanskrit language is that Sanskrit is the only language that is designed around how the sounds vibrate in your body. The translation of the word is not as important as the effect the words have on you. For example, the sound “lam” will do something different in your body than “ham.” Knowing the English translation of mantra can deepen your meditation, so it’s okay to seek out the translation; just know that using an original Sanskrit mantra is useful because it is prescribed to do something very specific in your body - like relax you, or or energize you.


A mantra that is dear to my heart is So Ham. It’s pronounced “sew hum” but I’m not going to tattle on anyone if they say it differently. This was the first meditation I ever had a special experience with, so it’s near and dear to my heart. One of my favorite commentators on this meditation is Dr. Vasant Lad.


I was taught that So Ham means “I am that.” So when it’s repeated, it means “I am that I am that I am…” As a Christian, this means a lot to me! It reminds me of when God visited Moses at the burning bush and declared, “I am that I am.” Knowing this adds another layer to my meditation practice when I use this mantra.


Another mantra to use is Satnam. A great explanation of this mantra can be found here.


Satnam means truth is the identity, which has been really powerful for me. All of the truth that I need is inside me - all the truth EVER is inside of me! How empowering!



Mala Beads


Mala beads have kind of become like tattoos among yoga practitioners - you’ll see artsy photos of yogis on instagram with mala beads all the way up their arms. I recommend keeping your mala beads around your neck, under your clothes so they don’t pick up any negative energy from people or things bumping into your beads.


Mala beads look like a necklace with a tassel. At each bead, you can either breath or say your mantra, as discussed above.


Check out episode 3 of our podcast, where I walk you through all three of these meditations!


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