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Don’t Hate, Meditate: 5 Ways to Win With Zen

When most people think of starting a meditation practice, it can feel daunting. It’s almost funny how the idea of sitting there and doing nothing can be so scary, but it’s true! Like most things in life, it can take some getting used to, and the idea of meditating can definitely feel challenging at first. Here are five steps to ease you into meditation and get you closer to a clear and calm mind.

1. Pick a place.

Find a space that works for you, whether it’s a chair in your house or a bench in the park. Choose a space where you feel peaceful and relaxed. It’s important to feel comfortable in the space so you can close your eyes and let go without worry.

2. Start small.

You don’t have to be “guru status” to start meditating. The best way to start is with just one minute a day. Sit quietly and comfortably, close your eyes, and relax your body. Start to observe your thoughts while slowly breathing in and out. Gradually build up to two minutes and so on, until you find an amount of time that works for you.

3. Enlist help.

Almost all successful people have coaches in their lives, whether they are athletic coaches,  business coaches, or speaking coaches. So why not get the help of a meditation teacher? There are a few ways you can learn meditation. You can find a meditation class that fits your schedule and commit to that. Or if you’re not in a position to attend a regular class, try a mobile app that helps you build your practice by a few minutes each day. I like the HeadSpace meditation app, for example.

4. Find your meditation style.

Meditation doesn’t have to be a fearful practice where you stress out if thoughts come up. I like to do japa meditation—the type where you repeat a mantra. It could be the mantra om or another one like sat nam, meaning “I am that.” You can also meditate on your breath. Another great alternative is to do a guided meditation, where a speaker guides you through relaxing your body and mind to bring you into a meditative state. You can find guided meditations online, as well as on iTunes and Spotify.

5. Be kind to yourself.

A meditation practice is a journey, and all journeys sometimes have bumpy roads. Be gentle with yourself if you can’t get into meditation with ease from one day to the next—that’s why it’s called a practice. Allow space for your mind and body to unfold and relax. Some days will be better than others.  Always remember this practice is a way to learn more about yourself and the world around you. There are no expectations and no pressure, just the opportunity for discovery.

Amy Dannheim
Amy Dannheim

A creative leader in the Miami yoga community, Amy Dannheim is passionate about yoga, plant-based recipes and healthy living. With her degree in journalism from the University of Florida, Amy is a yoga writer and blogger as well as the co-host for Radio 1Om8, a weekly live yoga radio show. After years of working with lululemon, Amy established herself as the go-to person for yoga consulting in Miami, with her finger on the pulse of the yoga community. When she’s not strategizing or cooking, Amy teaches dynamic vinyasa yoga classes that are layered with hip-hop and spirituality, drawing inspiration from her frequent travels. Amy sits on the Green Monkey Yoga teacher training faculty and leads regular workshops and innovative events throughout South Florida. Amy is also a VitaCoco and Funky Yoga ambassador and has appeared on the pages of Wall Street Journal, on lululemon.com and shape.com. She lives in Miami Beach with her husband and fellow yogi, Mike, where they run their bike centric community & clothing company Purdy Ave. Follow her blog at www.miamyyoga.com or find her adventures on Instagram @miamy.

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