It’s so much more than Ohm-ing and breathing. I used to be skeptical until I decided to open up to it and give it a try

“You should meditate,” I keep I finding myself suggesting the practice to all my friends and family when they tell me about their physical or mental concerns. It didn’t use to be like that.

I didn’t think it worked, didn’t see the point, didn’t believe in it and never thought I could do it.

I was wrong.

I’ve always thought that I’d have to switch off my brain in order to meditate, and that just seemed impossible. It’s like a forever rolling machine that would never slow down, let alone stop.

I was wrong, again.

When I attended a retreat practicing yoga twice a day, there was my chance to try to open up my body and mind to meditation. The first three days I tried but rather got frustrated that my mind kept my attention away from the present. Because I was focused on why my mind was still running in circles, I couldn’t relax.

It wasn’t until I went to the yoga instructor on the fourth day and told her that “I just can’t do it. I keep thinking about everything else but being here.” She told me that most people start out that way and gave me an answer what I now refer to as the key to all of this. (Which by the way, makes complete sense). She said, “You don’t have to shut off your mind, you can’t. But what you can do is ignore it.” Ding! That was my big AHA moment.

Practicing yoga on a retreat in France

We did a longer meditation that evening and for the first time I did it. I shifted off to such deep relaxation that I felt completely zen for the rest of the night and slept like a baby. It was as if I was floating on air, my whole body felt weightless.

It still amazes me how that one simple suggestion “just ignore your mind” could get me on the right track. Although I’m still no expert.

Since that day, now more than two months ago, I’ve meditated almost every day whether it was for five or 45 minutes. I still, however, can’t do it on my own. I listen to guided meditation podcasts or recordings on Youtube.

One of the podcasts I highly recommend is called The Breathing Club by Patrick Beach and Carling Harps. Both of their voices are very calming and the music they use in the background is soothing, so the two complement each other very well.

Take a listen to this one as a starter from The Breathing Club

So why do I meditate and what do I get out of it?

It creates a sense of calm in my body, mind and spirit that I’ve never felt before. I shift off to a place somewhere between being awake and asleep yet completely aware. It might sound strange and overwhelming, yet it’s so simple and so rewarding.

Often after meditation I feel energized, focused, balanced, and sometimes even mellow. (I kind of understand why people often say that yogis are “just so zen.” Meditation does that to you.) It helps me clear out my thoughts and focus on what’s important. Instead of being concerned about the past or the future, all that matters is the here and now. It allows me to focus my energy where my life most needs it, whether it’s to heal a cold or stop procrastinating and get work done.

If you haven’t meditated before, I’d suggest to begin with guided meditations. You shouldn’t feel weird about lying down and listening to someone tell you to breath and focus your energy in a certain way. It might be unusual at first, but if you let it in and believe that your body and your unconscious is much more powerful than you think, then you’ll want to do all the time.