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meditation
Black Minds Matter

How to Open Up Your Mind to Meditation

August 10 2021

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Alkeme Health

Examine the benefits of meditation

Some of us are naturally drawn to activities like meditation and yoga, but there are also a large number of us who don’t know where to begin when it comes to anything in this realm. The thought of getting in touch with ourselves almost sounds impossible! And let’s be real, maybe even scary.

Luckily, there is actually nothing to be afraid of. For instance, meditation can sound like a big task where you have to think through all the steps - sit on a yoga mat, wear comfy clothes, have complete silence, etc. But it really doesn’t have to be that way at all.

Alkeme Health recently spoke with Mindfulness coach Curtis Smith about what mediation is and all that it can be for you.

Is all meditation the same?

If meditation was a sport, then mindfulness would be a kind of meditation. It’s important to distinguish between the different types of meditation. You have mindfulness, which is what I focus on. But as an example, there’s also visual - transcendental meditation. So it’s important to connect with a style that works for you. I chose mindfulness because it’s most accessible in just allowing the moment, our senses and our breath to be the anchor.

What are some preconceived notions about meditation? How would you describe it to a beginner?

I think the preconceived notion is that it’s something we’re not already doing. A lot of people think of meditation as this big production where you have to sit on top of a mountain with a monk, close your eyes, with your legs crossed for hours and hours in order to get the benefits.

While that’s what has been highly publicized in terms of images. Meditating is when you pay attention to one particular thing at a time - so I think we’re all always meditating. It’s just a matter of what we’re meditating on. When you meditate it’s about taking that energy that we put out to different things and put it toward one singular thing.

If we’re in a perpetual state of meditation, then how do we acknowledge an official starting point? Is there a process to meditating?

Meditating always starts with the breath. When you control and focus on breathing in through the nose and releasing out through the mouth your attention has gone inward and that begins the process. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out time. If you were to take three deep breaths, you just meditated for 5 seconds as you focused on those deep breaths for that time.

It’s as simple as taking a moment to pause, wherever you are, be still and then turn that attention inward to notice your breath. The next step is learning to be still with the breath. Taking that time can be weird, because our minds don’t want to be still. Over time the more and more you allow yourself to come back to the breath, the less and less distracted you’ll be. I’ve seen my students range from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. But the idea is to start wherever you are and improve from there.

How can we get ourselves on track to consistently meditate?

It takes discipline and consistency. You have to commit to the process. It’s not an instantaneous effect. The power comes when you can create a consistent process where you can connect with what’s inside you.

You want to carve out time in your day (I recommend mornings) - where you have the opportunity to develop that habit and incorporate it into your lifestyle. It doesn’t really matter how much time, what matters is if you’re being consistent. Trust the process, educate yourself on the benefits and remain diligent.

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Connecting with ourselves, just like anything else, will be a process. But what better thing to spend time on than the betterment of yourself?

Remember, you don’t have to be perfect to meditate. You just have to remain present and breathe.

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Alkeme Health

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