31-Day New Beginnings Meditation Challenge Week One
31 Day New Beginnings Meditation Challenge Kickoff!
Welcome to the 31-Day New Beginnings Meditation Challenge.
Are you ready to bring peace and harmony to your life?
This meditation challenge is split into 4 weeks. Each week is a new themed meditation focus. Since we all have different preferences, current lives, and different needs, we will add a variety of meditation techniques to the challenge.
You can follow each blog post (one per week of the challenge) for details, or join the virtual community of women who are participating in the challenge. Together we will build our best meditation habits and practice in order to continue meditating throughout our lives.
Meditation is much more than simply relaxation. During relaxation, the mind wanders uncontrollably, during meditation the Mind stays alert and focused. Sometimes we believe that during meditation we should try to clear our minds completely. However, this is not the case. We should take this time to actually control our minds. And we will learn how to do this in the 31-day new beginnings meditation challenge.
Meditation is an ancient method of controlling the mind and there are many ways to do it. Ancient meditation practices such as Buddhist meditation is very difficult to do especially because we live in a very modern society. We cannot take 6-10 hours a day or more to dedicate to mindfulness and meditation. Instead, we must do what we can to incorporate meditation into our lives as we are now. It’s possible to mediate successfully (reap the benefits) while living in the modern society. Moreover, modern meditation and ancient meditation both have a few things in common.
They both start with a period of relaxation, then the mind is given one point of focus and concentrates on this and nothing else. Every time the Mind tries to stray away to something else, it is gently but firmly brought back to this point of focus. Even if you only manage a couple of minutes at a time you will soon see results if you do it regularly. So let us take these 31 days to practice meditation in various ways. It doesn't need to be hard, actually, meditation should be very enjoyable and if you allow yourself to stay in a meditative State at least five minutes every day at first you will soon find that you will look forward to these periods of enjoyment. During the challenge, we will spend a week doing a particular meditation technique. This way, you can find the best practice for you to continue.
In week one we are going to practice relaxation. During your five and ten-minute meditation this week practice relaxing every muscle in your body. As you do this you are restoring the balance from a cellular level all the way up to your full body. Meditation allows us to restore the balance between the left and the right size of our brain. The left side of the brain deals with thinking, speaking, and writing. The left side emits faster electrical patterns called beta waves. The right side of the brain deals with intuition, imagination, and feelings. This side of the brain a bit slower electrical patterns called alpha waves. Therefore during our relaxation time, we want to merge the Alpha and the Beta waves so that we are focused and alert, but also feeling intuitive and listening to our inner selves. Use the meditation audio in the group to practice a 5 to 10-minute meditation where you're focusing on relaxing your body and your mind.
When to meditate
Effective time management for better meditation. Your meditation time is a time where you are spending entirely to yourself. You only need to meditate a few minutes at a time. That's why we are starting with 5 minutes for the beginning of the challenge. Managing your time effectively will help you have less stress, allow you to be more relaxed and have more leisure time to meditate more often.
You can block out a time in the morning (recommended before or around 8 am based on circadian rhythms) and evenings for meditation. Draw up a timeline for your day. List the things that you do each day. Decide on the time you will meditate regularly.
Now, let's see about your posture and breathing. Do you enjoy a seated, cross-legged, kneeling, or lying down posture? While seated, you can lay your hands softly on your knees, and keep your back from resting too closely on the chair. You can sit cross-legged on a cushion, but make sure you find the most comfortable leg arrangement before starting. you don't want to feel pain or pinching or numbness during your meditation.
You can kneel for short meditation periods as well. Laying down can be the most relaxing position; however, be careful you don't fall asleep.
How to Meditate
Sit in your new meditation posture. Begin to relax, and focus on your breathing. After each exhalation, but before breathing in, count silently as follows: One (inhale, exhale), Two (inhale, exhale) and so on until you reach 5 and then repeat starting with One. If your mind begins to wander, bring it back gently to your breathing and counting. Don't struggle with the counting if you miss a number or breath. Just start over or continue with where you are.
A meditation or yoga class can help you learn the skill of total relaxation. Some stress is good for you, however, chronic stress is highly dangerous. The fight or flight response that is triggered by stress will cause adrenaline to be pumped into the system. Your heart, breathing, and metabolism speed up. Cortisol is released, and digestion and immune systems shut down. Stress chemicals stay in the body, obstructing the digestive and immune systems and depleting your energy.
Today, try meditating laying down. Pay attention to the top of your head, and notice any tension here. Relax, and let go of the tension. Focus on your forehead and let any tension go from here. Relax your eyebrows, eyelids, ears, nose, mouth, neck, shoulders, and chest. Continue to focus and release segmentally down your body. Relax down your entire body. Legs, buttocks, ankles, toes. Return your attention to your upper body slowly by scanning up. As you release more tension this time, you go deeper into relaxation. Take deep breaths. Come back from the meditation slowly and open your eyes.
We often - very often- perform actions on autopilot. We are unaware of that is happening around us, and what we are doing. We don't notice the scenes passing by every day. Most of us are lost in thought instead of paying attention to our actions. Cultivating mindfulness through meditation will allow us to connect to the experience of the moment. Yes, we should plan, but we should not dwell on the future. Yes, we should learn from our past, but we should not dwell on it. When we become fully aware in the present moment, our heightened sensitivity allows us to be more observant and we can perform tasks more efficiently. Today practice mindful meditation. No matter how small, see it, feel it, give it your attention. Live with a peaceful detachment to everything. no judgment, just watch and feel.
Living in the present. When you are truly living in the present, everything takes on a new light. Colors are brighter and more vivid, more detail appears in objects and in people, you hear every note of music.
Stop, and concentrate on whatever it is you are doing at this moment. Begin to tap into your senses. Smell the air around you. feel the sensation of the air on your face. Is is warm? Are you chilly? Feel the clothes you are wearing, the sounds you hear, the taste in your mouth. Notice the thoughts that arise, and shift them back to the external.
Comment below with your reflections for this week's meditation experience.
Jennifer Hutchison Taylor is a herbal therapist, physiologist, author, doula, and reiki practitioner who helps women rediscover their feminine beauty and find the complete path to healing. As the founder of Beauty in Bloom, her mission is to promote generational wellness by providing natural, sustainable, and holistic health solutions for women. Beauty in Bloom exists to create a world where women are happy, healthy, and are taken back to their roots for healing. While herbs are the main tools that she uses, she combines this modality with superfood nutrition, spiritual guidance, and her rich biological sciences background to teach a powerful and revolutionary approach to holistic health.