Getting Started with Meditation
*Guest poster Cristina Espaillat is a 13+ year meditation expert, former ballerina with the Pennsylvania Ballet and owner of Sculpere Studio in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia.
Everyday there is more and more scientific proof about the benefits of meditation.
From lowering high blood pressure, to manifesting our desires, this ancient practice seems to be the key ingredient to success in modern life. I am an advocate of meditation particularly because of the tremendous impacts I have experienced in my own life. I talk about meditation to all my friends, family and clients, and the number 1 issue they all have in common is, controlling racing thoughts and simply sitting still. This is why I created a simplified 4 step program based off of our Mastering Meditation Workshop series at Sculpere. It is a meditation starter kit to guide you through the early stages of your practice.
First, I want to explain that this experience of racing thoughts is totally normal when first starting meditation. It may take up to two weeks in some cases for this “mind chatter” to quiet down, like a detox period for your mind. I encourage you to be patient with yourself because there is great power inside of stillness, gratitude and spiritual connection. Here are the 4 simple steps you need to know to master your meditation.
Create a sacred space
Create an oasis in your home that is clear of clutter, and negativity. Use crystals and smoke baths like cedar, sage, and palo santo wood to elevate the energy of your space. Make sure the space is a comfortable temperature for your body, and the lighting is dim to calm your eyes.
Align your chakras through movement and breathing
Take time to move your body. This can be through a yoga practice, Pilates, or one of my favorites, after a run. These movements release stagnant energy from your body which in turn will help to quiet your mind. You can make all types of exercise sacred when you add sivasana at the end, not just yoga. Lie down on your back with a blanket over your body and start breathing slow and deep. The breath is the secret language of your mind. As you slow down your breathing, your mind will also slow down. 5 counts to inhale, 5 counts to hold your inhalation, 5 counts to exhale, 5 counts hold your exhalation. Repeat 5 times.
Repeat a positive affirmation. One that I use frequently is “everything I need will come to me easily and effortlessly”. These words have a way of immediately bringing me to the present moment. Refer to Affirmations by Louise Hay for new ones. Learn some of the ancient Sanskrit mantras and their meanings. The words of these mantras create an energetic frequency with the power to transform, and heal. This may seem like a bit much at first but a simple OM can work wonders.
The beautiful Gayatri mantra, short and all encompassing:
"Om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat."
The eternal, earth, air, heaven
That glory, that resplendence of the sun
May we contemplate the brilliance of that light
May the sun inspire our minds.
Allow yourself to be completely still, and then go deeper into that stillness. Gaze into the darkness behind your eyes, and pay attention to cosmic downloads flowing through you. There may be visions that feel like a dream, or messages meant to guide you in your life.This connection to source energy is truly blissful.
These simple tools are all you need to master meditation. You don’t need to go to India or participate in Shamanic rituals. You have everything you need inside of you. We are our own best teachers, and there is so much to learn. I encourage everyone who is reading this to take some quiet time for yourself everyday and practice these 4 simple steps.
Want to learn more about meditation from Cristina? Reserve your space for our Modern Mystic Monthly: WTF is Meditation? event on January 9th!