Inhale, exhale, begin to quiet your mind. Beginning meditation can be as simple as that. So why are so many people intimidated by the thought of meditating?
You don’t have to be a fully enlightened yogi or a monk to meditate, and you don’t have to have a sacred space on top of a mountain. Meditation can be done anywhere and by anyone. And, let’s be honest, just about everyone has had an experience in their lives where they are out in public, and a quick meditation would be extremely helpful.
So what exactly is meditation? According to Merriam Webster, to meditate “ is to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one's breathing or repetition of a mantra) to reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness”, yep, it’s that simple. Meditation brings your attention the here and now and helps get rid of the to-do’s and distractions that you’re constantly bombarded with. By slowing down and focusing on your breathing, you can let the rest of the world just melt away. It helps you pull your attention inward and truly be and feel, which in turn brings forth a sense of calm and control of your emotions.
You can stop and focus on your breathing just about anywhere, right? So, you can meditate just about anywhere!
There are lots of meditation tools you can use to help facilitate your practice as well including:
Counting: As you focus on your breath, begin to count to twenty, one count accompanies one breath. (Example: Inhale 1, Exhale 2, Inhale 3, Exhale 4) Once you reach twenty, count to forty and slow your breathing down, only counting with every other breath. (Example Inhale, Exhale 1, Inhale, Exhale 2) The mental counting helps you concentrate on your breathing.
Body Scan: Imagine your at your desk and your inbox is piling up and you start to panic. Soften your gaze and deepen your breath and begin to cue your body to relax. Start from your forehead and work down your face and jaw, then move down your arms, torso, and legs. By the end of this practice, you will feel completely relaxed.
Paint a Mental Picture: Visualization can be a great way to meditate. As you close your eyes, imagine you are painting a rainbow on a big white canvas. Take your time to picture your paintbrush dipping into each color and pulling the line across the canvas until you have a complete rainbow.
Mantras: You don’t have to know fancy Sanskrit words to create a mantra. As you breathe, internally repeat a mantra that makes sense for you. For example, you could say I am on your inhale, at peace on your exhale, or I can on your inhale, do this on your exhale.
These are all types of meditation that you can do anywhere anytime. You can meditate when you need a five-minute break from your kids, after you have parked your car before you head into work, when you feel uncertain before an interview, or before bed to calm your mind. Meditation is a powerful tool that helps you create your own internal calm and peaceful space. I like to think of it as a superpower that keeps me grounded, in control, and able to handle anything life throws at me.
So go meditate! Meditate at home, meditate in a park, at your desk, in your bed, literally anywhere.
**Please don’t meditate while driving, and choose a safe space where you are aware of your surroundings for safety reasons.**
I graduated the program, moved back home to Hawaii, and started visiting yoga studios as a student, looking for my new yoga home. One day, I was the only person to show up for a yoga class, and it was AWESOME. I loved the class so much, and of course, since I was the only person there, I got to talking to the teacher. It turned out that she and I had graduated from the same college (she was a few years older than me). I told her how I'd just done training but felt too scared to teach, and she offered to mentor me. For a year, I assisted her most popular weekly yoga class, and I learned a lot.
I eventually began to teach at several studios, and then became a full-time teacher with 10-12 classes per week. At first, I was so nervous to teach that I wrote down and memorized my sequences, and stuck to my mat (like Cassidy). Now, after more than 1,000 hours of teaching experience, I don't plan anything; I just show up, trust my own knowledge, experience, and ability, and meet the students where they are.
Follow along with Valerie on Instagram! @valeriebrett
Check out Her Website Here: https://www.valeriebrett.com/yoga
From working to planning trips to reading the news, so many of us sit in front of a computer at a desk for long periods. Take a quick check, is your spine rounded? Are your shoulders up towards your ears? If so, you need some chair yoga in your life!
Cactus Arms x5
-Inhale Lift Your Arms Straight Overhead
-Exhale Bend Your Elbows and Bend Your Arms to a 90 Degree Angle
-Pull Your Elbows Back and Shine Your Chets Upwards
-Repeat Five Times
As always, take your time, be gentle with yourself and have a good time. Have fun flowing!
Kanthaka is a fitness app that matches clients with in-home personal trainers who can work around busy schedules and insecurities created by the gym.
There are countless reasons you might not get results at the gym ranging from not really pushing yourself to feeling a time constraint to get home and take your dog out. So, why not get your very own one-on-one session with a yoga teacher or personal trainer?
Kanthaka matches their clients with the best in-home personal trainers who can work around busy schedules in various locations. Clients can feel comfortable working out in their own home, make-up free, without any insecurities.
The app's five-star trainers customize workouts to meet the needs of every client in a safe way. Some clients may be looking for a personal trainer to specifically help with weight loss, while others may be looking for a yoga instructor to help with muscle and joint movement. The app does the hard work for users, vetting trainers to find the best match that is trustworthy and can meet specific schedules.
**This post was made during the Covid-19 outbreak**
Because we're responsibly social distancing, Kanthaka is currently implementing a virtual training solution via the app that clients can choose to train with their trainer virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, I'm on Kanthaka! So, once the virtual training is live, and/or it's safe to meet face-to-face, find my profile and make an appointment.
Learn more and check them out on Facebook.
I'm going to be honest before I signed up for teacher training, I didn't have much of an "at-home" practice. But in training, they required that we start one and document it in some way. This is when I realized how beneficial yoga and holistic living can be.
An at-home practice doesn't have to be asanas though. It can be any number of mindful practices that you do outside of class or a studio. Here's a list of some of my favorite ways to bring a little yoga lifestyle to my everyday routine:
Meditative Bath or Shower: Taking a bath to clear my head is one of my favorite things to do. I add in some relaxing essential oils and turn on a guided meditation from one of my apps and I have a clear head in no time. You can do the same thing with a hot shower and some shower melts.
Simple Sun A On Your Mat: You don't have to choreograph an entire yoga routine to break out asanas. I often stick to repeating sun salutations. Being able to flow with my breath and not think can put me into a sort of meditative state.
Journaling: When my world seems to be going 100 miles a minute and I'm unable to process my feelings, I grab a notebook and write. You don't have to write for long periods of time; just writing a few sentences can be very helpful.
Taking A Meditative Walk: When the weather is nice, I love this practice! Simply chose a mantra like Sa Ta Na Ma, and repeat it as you walk. This not only helps you clear your head, but it also gets you moving and out of the house.
Well, I hope this post helps you develop your own at-home practice. Feel free to let me know what your favorite ways to practice outside of the studio on the comments.
I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training at Flow Yoga near Logan Circle in Washington, DC. Teacher training was an amazing mix of understanding the history of yoga and the asanas to learning to be confident and compassionate in front of students. It was 200 hours discussion, understanding, studying, adjusting, and sometimes practicing.
Many of my friends went directly on to teach at studios after training, but for some reason, I lacked the confidence I needed to go out into the yoga world and call myself a teacher. I wasn't sure I was ready to audition with the yogis who have been teaching for a while. And furthermore, get in front of a group of people and tell them what to do.
My first job came from a friend who managed apartment complexes around Virginia. She asked me to teach classes for the residents, so I nervously agreed. I prepared a sequence, practiced it a million times, and went to teach my first class. The first few went over pretty well, one only had one guy in it, and the others had a handful of people. But I still seemed to be missing the confidence to get off of my mat, adjust, and really connect with students.
So, I did some research and found a studio that offered an apprenticeship for teachers out of a studio in Alexandria called Ease Yoga and Cafe. I was connected with an AMAZING teacher who taught me more about sequencing, hands-on assists, the business of being a yoga teacher, and so much more. The goal we set was for me to be confident enough to audition to teach at a local studio.
After six sessions, I had gained the confidence I needed. I saw a job posting at Be Here Now Yoga in DC and sent in my resume. I prepared for weeks for my demo class, and it paid off. I got my first real job teaching vinyasa flow classes once a week. That then opened up to another class at the same studio a few weeks later. I now teach almost full-time with between 12-14 classes a week.
The moral of my story is that it's ok to be nervous after you finish teacher training, but don't give up. Find a mentor, keep trying, and believe in yourself.