100 Days of Daily Meditation.

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100 days of med

On March 15, I set a goal to meditate every day for one month to see what would happen.

After one month, I kept going and am still going. I just passed 100 days of consistent daily meditation and this is what has changed:

1. Less anxiety. Biggest change, by far. I feel as if something inside my body that was tightly wound has begun to unclench. It’s a deep internal release and continues to release more and more.

2. Feeling much more high-spirited, joyful, and optimistic (without even trying in any way).

3. Clearer thinking and easier decision making. Stepping into new situations with clarity. Leading more with intuition and energy rather than my thinking mind.

4. I am no longer afraid to meditate. I no longer dread it. I look forward to it. I am not afraid of my thoughts, even on “bad” meditation days. I sometimes settle in for a second daily meditation if things get hectic during the day.

5. My energy is naturally channeling into my passions. Working more. Writing more. Accomplishing more.

6. Occasional insomnia has pretty much minimized to a near zero. Sleeping heavy and deep, like I remember as a kid. Looking forward to sleep. No anxiety dreams or nightmares.

7. Feeling more connected in my yoga practice. Practice that is usually quite physical has slowed way down, but I’m OK with that. Feeling more in my body and restored after a practice.

8. More adaptable to change. Feeling as though I’m stepping into a flow and letting go of what I can’t control. Not all the time, but noticeable difference.

9. Slowing down. For someone that operates at a high velocity, slowing down is not something I necessarily even wanted to accomplish. I am still high energy, but it doesn’t feel messy and out of control. It’s the little things, like taking my time to apply sunscreen to my son rather than it being something I rush through. Or when he asks me to draw, I sit down and enjoy it rather focusing on what’s next.

Some tips to stay with your meditation practice, because it’s hard and takes effort:

Consistency. Find a time and place that is sacred and protected and stick to that each day. Don’t try to slide it in when a window opens up, because most likely it won’t. Throw out the idea that conditions must be perfect. Mine is first thing when I wake up before anyone else is up, right at the foot of my bed. Typically it’s about 6:15am. But I adapt. I meditated at 4:30 a.m. for a few early flights I had. I meditated on a cold marble bathroom floor in New York City while my family was sleeping. I never missed a morning in the 100 days, and still haven’t. It’s not always perfect, but I do it.

Start with pranayama (breath work). I do a few rounds of ujjayi pranayama (ocean-like, audible breath) following by nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing). The gateway into the practice is through the breath.

Don’t get hung up on time. When I started it was five minutes. Now it’s about 20 and that feels right. I have no desire to meditate for hours on end or do a 10 day silent meditation retreat. 20 minutes a day feels like enough time to drop in and feel a shift. I may add another 20 minutes in the evening at some point.

Don’t worry if the meditation is good or bad. Just meditate. Don’t judge the quality of the meditation while you’re in the meditation. You may not know whether you are dropping in or not. Some days I am quite sure all I do is sit and think, but then I still feel the benefits during the day. This is not something that comes natural; it takes practice. It’s not effortless until it becomes so (not there yet).

Observe your edge. Don’t stay in a place of torture and frustration. Know where that place is and play with it, but don’t camp out there. Come out of the meditation, gather yourself, go back to pranayama and try again. Or, let it go for the day and move on. Things will change.

Don’t worry too much about the type of meditation. No one “brand” is better than another. Meditation is simply settling your mind on a single point of focus. That focus can be mantra, breath, your heart chakra, music, chanting, an ocean view. I practice mantra. The point is to keep going back to that single point of focus when you lose your way. Be weary of any brand that over-promises or spends a ton of money on marketing. You are the one that holds the capacity for a deep meditation practice. You hold the internal wisdom. Everything you need is already right there.

The purpose of meditation is not to find inner peace. The purpose of meditation is to sit in stillness, drop into that place, and observe whatever is there without judgement. So don’t give up if you don’t feel peace and calm and butterflies and rainbows. In the beginning of my practice, I became acutely aware of my anxiety and it was actually quite rough. But it got easier. There are no problems to solve inside of a meditation. Stay with it. Things change. The path always trends to the positive.

At this point, I’ve skimmed the surface of what I hope will be a lifelong practice. This is in every way a self-study. A practice of developing deep compassion and self-love. If I can sit with the deepest corners of my mind, not react, and move through, then suddenly the world is a place of wonder and amazement for me to engage with. I am directly experiencing every single day that I am not my thoughts, I am the one observing.

I am the soul inside, an entire universe, expanding love.

 

Relephant read:

When Meditation is not Blissful.

~

Author: Anna Versaci

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Author’s Own

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Anna Versaci

Anna Versaci is a mother, dedicated yoga practitioner and instructor, and interior designer. Adopting yoga as a lifestyle has opened her heart to looking inward, pursuing her passions, and living more consciously. Connect with Anna at her blog.

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anonymous Nov 5, 2015 7:55pm

Manish, good question! Is there a necessary connection? I do think so. That being said you can begin your journey first with meditation. Meditation IS yoga. Sit everyday and see what happens!! =)

    anonymous Mar 27, 2016 10:55pm

    Slmply brilliant and worth a shot.

anonymous Nov 5, 2015 5:28am

brilliant offering here

really most inspiring

& down to earth :~)

aged 60,

& never having really ‘got’ meditation,

this may just be the encoragement I need !

thank you Anna :~)

anonymous Nov 4, 2015 6:22am

Is there a necessary connection between Yoga & Meditation.

anonymous Sep 30, 2015 9:59am

This is great, very engouraging, I m going to give it a try!

anonymous Jul 21, 2015 10:44am

Thank you, Lori!! xx

anonymous Jul 15, 2015 6:05pm

Thank you! This is really helpful and encouraging!!

anonymous Jul 14, 2015 6:40pm

Kristian, I do think most of us fail at attempted meditation because we either don't believe we are meditating (when we are) or we think we should immediately fall into a state of inner peace and shut off our minds. Things are usually a bit messy before they are smooth. One of the greatest teachers of the practice is when we bump into those rough edges…the agitation, chatter, whatever it is for you. That is the moment when you choose…do you stay with that discomfort or succumb? Wishing you more smooth sailing ahead. =) xx

anonymous Jul 14, 2015 1:17pm

Thank you for that article. Really enjoyed reading it – and actually found it encouraging. Tried to start a regular meditation "routine" more than just once and so far always failed, expectations possibly way too high, and having way too many things in mind about how meditation should (not) be. Maybe just trying and moving on seems a more promising and more fruitful way. 🙂 Cheers, Kristian

anonymous Jul 14, 2015 8:50am

Love to hear that!!! Thank you, Dawn!

anonymous Jul 14, 2015 5:30am

Great article Anna! You’ve inspired me to take up my neglected meditation practice again! Thank you & Namaste