When most people think of health and beauty, they think of fitness gyms and facial creams. But there is so much more to being a healthy person. One aspect of a person that is often ignored, when considering a healthy lifestyle, is the spirit. Your spirit or inner self is what will guide you to your greatest destinies in life. It is important this part of you be kept healthy and happy. As crazy as it might sound, your spirit needs to be exercised and conditioned too.
Most often when we hear the word “spirit” we think religion. While most people identify with their spirit through religion or church, there are a number of ways to connect with and exercise your inner self; I personally recommend a daily meditation practice. The art of meditation does not necessarily mean sitting Indian style and chanting “Om” for several hours. This methodology is extremely effective and how I came to learn about mediation, however, meditation is a way of focusing on oneself and being able to connect with your inner spirit or conscious. Whether your “me” time be in front of your computer or laid out on the beach, it is important you allow yourself time throughout your day to be consumed with nothing but yourself.
I’ve practiced meditation for the last eight (8) years. It’s not a difficult concept, but you have to be willing to put in the effort. My meditation teacher was giving a lecture to a group of professional, career oriented women who just couldn’t find the time to focus on themselves. They all had excuses- children, meetings, travels- there just wasn’t enough time in the day for them to focus on what needed to be done within their own lives. My meditation teacher told us all in the calmest of voices one could imagine, “…just let go…” It took a while for his response to resonate with me, but I finally understood. There is always a moment in the day where you can let go of everything in your life and simply listen.
You might ask, “Listen to what?” Listen to yourself. Listen to your breath. When thoughts of your to-do list or ways of the world start to enter your mind, push them out and continue to focus on you. Whether it is after school when no one else is at home or right before a game when you are zoned out thinking about a winning play, take any moment you can to just be still and observe your spirit. Don’t allow the practice of meditation and self reflection to scare you. Unlike when you are in the gym working your muscles or at the makeup counter buying beauty products, there is no one else around but you and your God, which is perfect. The moments of solidarity allow you to be honest with yourself about who you are and the life you live. During meditation, the only person who can pass judgment on you is you. The practice is intended to create an inner calm and bring your life a sense of peace and well-being. Every part of you and your life can reflect a healthy lifestyle, but if your inner self is damaged and chaotic nothing else in life will make sense. The most impactful lifestyle changes are those that start from within. Here are a few tips to get you started with your daily meditation practice:
1. Choose a peaceful environment– Ideally, one should be able to practice meditation in the midst of pandemonium. However, to get to such a point takes practice and dedication. As a beginner, it is important you find a quiet, peaceful place where you can hear nothing but your breath. Turn off your TV, log off Facebook, and silence your cell phone.
2. Wear comfortable clothing– It is important you be comfortable during your meditation practice. It is hard enough to sit still and hone in on your inner self, the last thing you need is uncomfortable garments distracting your practice.
3. Decide how long you want to meditate– Set a timer for your meditation practice. The time limit does not have to be anything extreme, a solid 10 minutes a day is a good starting point. As you become more dedicated to your practice, increase your time in 5 minute increments.
4. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes– You don’t want to put your body in a position that is going to be uncomfortable and potentially distract you from your practice. Find a position that suits your body and doesn’t place too much strain on any particular body part. The purpose of closing your eyes is to help you maintain focus. If your eyes are open and wandering the room you are going to be less focused on the practice and more focused on outside variables.
5. Follow your breath– As you enter your meditation practice, focus on your breath and follow the breath as you inhale through your nose. Continue to follow your breath to the pit of your stomach. When you exhale, follow the breath from the pit of your stomach as you release through your mouth. You will follow and listen to your breath the entire time you are in practice. It sometimes helps you focus on your breath if you visualize a peaceful place.
The art and practice of meditation cannot be explained in a 1500 word article. It is truly something you have to learn and understand for yourself. Just as there are no two people who are identical, there are no two spirits or mediation practices which are the same. Each person’s practice is unique to them and their spirit. As with everything in life, you shouldn’t set your goals based on someone else’s lifestyle. Set your goals based on you and what you want to attain. Center your meditation practice on you and the well-being of your inner self.
True beauty is found within. You can be the most beautiful woman in the world with an ugly inner being and everything about you reflects the same. So, take a few moments everyday to get your inner beauty primed and perfect. No amount of make up or designer clothes can change who you are on the inside, only you can change that. Take your time, get comfortable, and breathe. A woman who is confident in her spirit is the most beautiful woman in the world. Until next time ladies, meditate, breathe, and self reflect. As always, I wish each of you a life of true health and beauty!