When I first started hearing about meditation, all I really knew about it was you cross your legs, close your eyes and say “ooohhmmm” like a hundred times in a dark room. That didn’t appeal to me. Plus I really found it hard to completely zone out even for like five minutes.
But I did know that meditation is supposed to be really good for you, so I wanted to keep trying. Adding a meditation practice to your life can help you sleep better, regulate your emotions, de-stress your body and mind, reduce depression, and help you lose weight. I don’t know a mama that doesn’t want help in one (or all!) of these areas!
The idea of meditation kept coming into my life. So one day I signed up for one of Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s 21-day meditation challenges. It takes 21 days to develop a new habit. Let’s see if this would work.
Once I started looking into meditation as a practice, I discovered that meditation doesn’t always have to look like Buddhist monks in a cold dark monestary ohm-ing their way to nirvana. There are actually tons of ways to make it part of our busy lives!
There are four ways that I have found that I am able to incorporate meditation into my life. Mala beads, mandala, trataka and guided meditation. Since I started meditating, it has really helped me feel lighter and less stressed, not to mention it has set a great example for my kiddos. So let’s talk about each type to see how you can integrate it into your super hectic life!
Mala: In mala meditation, you use mala beads to help you focus on a mantra or intention. Basically you hold onto your mala beads (that come in all kinds of super pretty designs) and say your intention as you push the beads through your hands. Being indian, I actually grew up familiar with mala beads and they were used for prayer in my culture. It is pretty cool to see how mainstream they have become in the meditation world.
Mandala: Um…coloring, y’all! All those adult coloring books are actually a type of meditation. I never realized that this was a type of meditation until I started researching it. Then I started doing it and I fell in love. Bonus points for this one because you can actually do it with your kids really easily! I’m an artist so there is nothing more awesome than zoning out with some spa like music and a mandala coloring book and knowing you are doing something good for your brain!
Trataka: This was actually the first type of meditation that I tried where I was truly able to “meditate”. Candle meditation is a great way to just focus on one thing (the flickering flame) instead of trying to completely clear your mind and focus on nothing. When I found this I thought, “okay, THIS I can do!” Especially for people trying meditation for the first time, limiting your focus to just one thing is a great start!
Guided: Because it can be so hard to channel and control ALL THE THOUGHTS when we sit down to meditate, guided meditation can be really helpful. And guess what!? There’s an app for that! Calm and Headspace are both pretty popular. You can play a guided meditation from your phone wherever you are. Options for a guided session can be as quick as two minutes, and something is better than nothing.
Okay, so, those are some different kinds of meditation. But how do I actually schedule a meditative practice into my daily routine between being a wife, a mom of twins and growing a business, among all the other super awesome things I’m up to?
I steal the moments that I can. Sometimes it’s only five minutes. But that’s okay!
Some of my fave ways to squeeze in meditation are:
- First thing in the morning before getting the kids out of bed, I will take a moment with my mala beads to set an intention for the day.
- During naps or quiet time, I love to take some time for trataka meditation with my favorite candle. The trick here is to do it the first few moments of your alone time so it becomes a priority and a habit.
- While in the bath or shower, a guided meditation is extra calming.
- Mandala meditation is perfect for during crafting time with my kids, or by myself while my husband plays with the Littles (out of ear shot).
- I also carry a travel candle with me in my purse so I can do a little meditation on the go!
TIP: If you want to get your kids into it, and do something other than coloring, have them sit down meditation style and tell them to pick ONE thing they want to think about. It can be any inanimate object. Then you tell them that for the next few minutes they have to close their eyes and think only about that one item (ie an apple or a spoon). They can think everything about it. How it looks, how it smells, how it feels. Start with just one or two minutes and go from there. We have been doing this for almost a year now with our boys and we are at the point where I can ask them to sit and meditate when they need to calm down, (or when I need a few minutes to put on some makeup undisturbed!-PRIORITIES!). They can usually go for about 10 minutes. One time, my little guy fell asleep! It was so cute.
This is self-care, friends. And you have to ASK for the time if you can’t find a way to squeeze it in. Ask your spouse, ask your babysitter…ask the universe! But I can tell you this: a meditating mom is a happier mom. And happier moms make for happier kids! So take a few minutes to choose a type and a time and try it today!