7 Ways to Deepen Your Meditation Practice

Face it. We’re all neurotic and stressed out to some degree.

That’s the culture we live in right now.

Because of this, it’s incredibly difficult to just sit cross-legged and be “one with the Universe.”

I don’t know about you, but it takes me at least a few minutes before I stop thinking about something a kid said to me back in middle school. That’s the human mind for ya.

It’s not all chaos and craziness though. There are certain practices that make it easier to drop into deep meditation. I call them “meditation on-ramps.”

These are things you can incorporate into your life that will allow you to go deeper when you actually sit down to meditate.

7 Ways to Deepen Your Meditation Practice

1. Breathing Exercises

Any kind of breathing practices beautifully set the stage for meditation. Deep, conscious breathing causes your thoughts to settle and your body to relax, which allows for a peaceful, meditative state.

In the yogic tradition, breathwork is called Pranayama. There are many, many breathing exercises to do and all are fun to experiment with.

I personally do some deep breathing before every meditation session I do. I take about 7-10 long, deep breaths, then release into meditation. This helps clear my mind and relax my body.

Try it right now: Take 3 deep breaths into your belly, let go of the stress you’re holding and feel the changes in your state of being.

2. Nature

This one is obvious, yet few people use nature as medication. A quiet, peaceful place in nature works wonders for stress and the chaotic assault of daily life.

Spending some time in nature brings peace and balance to your being. If you take some time out in nature before or while you meditate, you will find that it greatly enhances meditation.

3. Intentional Movement

Consciously moving your body and releasing tension will definitely deepen your meditation practice. This includes yoga, stretching and walking outside.

Engaging in intentional movement before meditating allows you to relax that much more deeply. There’s a reason why they do savasana at the end of yoga classes.

4. Daily Practice

We’re creatures of habit. This can be leveraged to our advantage, if done consciously.

Meditating every day (especially the same time every day) helps you get “in the zone” more reliably. It builds meditation momentum, if you will. When you meditate every morning, your mind will be conditioned to let go during this time.

5. Meditating in the Morning

It’s really effective to meditate in the morning for several reasons:

  • The state between sleeping and waking is highly conducive to meditation
  • Your mind is clear first thing in the morning
  • Allows you to ease into your day
  • It gives you positive momentum to start your day
  • Makes you more peaceful, focused and mindful throughout the rest of the day
  • 6. Being Healthy In General

    Being healthy makes everything easier and more effective. Eat real food, walk outside, exercise, stretch, drink water, spend time in nature, watch less tv, consume less sugar, breath deeply, dance, express yourself, feel gratitude…etc. These are all simple practices, but they need to be practiced daily for optimal health.

    Your brain works better, your mood is more stable, you have less aches and pains, more energy and everything becomes optimized. Basically, when you’re unhealthy, you have more distractions in the way of your own inner peace.

    7. Prioritizing Your Well-Being

    If you make something a priority, you get it done by any means necessary. If you don’t make something a priority, you’ll find any excuse NOT to do it.

    Prioritize your well-being. Prioritize your peace of mind. Prioritize meditation. Once that intention is there, nothing will stop you.

    How to Actually Meditate Every Day

    Don’t know where to start?

    Meditation doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. You don’t have to meditate for hours a day to start seeing the benefits of meditation in your life.

    There’s a ridiculously EASY way to meditate every day. And it’s literally easier than getting out of bed in the morning.

    You don’t have to be an om-chanting yogi or a kale-munching vegan to meditate. Meditation is for anyone, anywhere.

    Want to learn how to meditate every morning? (and do it effortlessly, without it seeming like another thing on your to-do list)

    Join the 7 Day Meditation Challenge. It’s the easiest way to start meditating. Even if you already meditate, it will help you stick to a daily routine as well as give you tips to deepen your practice.

    CLICK HERE TO START THE 7 DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE

    Find bliss within and share it.

    One love.

    – Stevie P!

    meditation

    Heighten Your Senses With This Walking Meditation

    http://www.forestwander.com

    The meandering path through the lush green of the woods served as a walking meditation for me. I was deeply immersed, steeped into the sweet nectar of the moment. Each of my senses took its turn to be heightened and fully appreciated.

    The scenery transformed into high definition, becoming absolutely breathtaking as I began to gain elevation. The tops of trees looked like broccoli, the jagged, chestnut-colored cliffs smiled at me, and the benevolent blue sky was a boundless blanket of love.

    I heard the cheery chirping of birds. I basked in the welcoming, social sound of dancing branches in the gentle wind. I listened intently to the subtle crunch of my shoes over small rocks and twigs.

    The fresh scent of spring serenaded my sense of smell. I inhaled deeply with my eyes closed and was embraced by bouquets of blooming vegetation.

    Despite the barrier of rubber between my feet and the ground, I felt connected with the Earth. My hand reached out and stroked the brown bark of a charming tree. It felt like an old friend.

    The saliva in my mouth was infused with a touch of sweetness. There’s a certain purity that you taste when you’re out in nature, a purity that’s far more enlivening than the staleness of stagnant air indoors.

    As the ascent became steeper, I inhaled grace and exhaled stress, expelling any lingering anxieties I was hanging onto. The higher elevation brought me to a higher consciousness. I felt as if I was transcending worldly struggle as I gazed out at the beauty of the mountainous landscape. A childlike, jovial laugh emerged from my essence as a placid breeze stroked my cheek…


    That was an excerpt from my short story Falling into Forever. And I wrote that particular part because of how profound and enjoyable walking meditation is for me.

    Sunrise,_Dinajpur,_Bangladesh

    We often take life for granted. Many of us (myself included) tend to fall into monotonous routines and go through life on autopilot. Most of the time, we’re so consumed in looping thought patterns that we never really take a moment to stop and smell the roses (or, as you’ll soon find out, walk and smell the roses).

    This is where meditation becomes a powerful tool. It enables us to fully experience the life we’re living.

    “No meditation, no life. Know meditation, know life.” – Osho

    Don’t get it corkscrewed… Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting cross-legged in silence for hours on end. It can come in many forms, like Pokemon. (I just can’t write a post without a Pokemon reference, huh?)

    Meditation, in my opinion, is any moment in which your mind is still. The mind is either completely focused or blissfully empty, and you reside in the underlying essence of presence and peaceful awareness.

    I find that I often get into a deeply meditative state while walking outside and connecting with nature. My mind becomes still and peaceful, my senses become fully heightened and there is a deep-seated feeling of bliss that permeates my entire being.

    This state of being is accessible to anyone, especially through simple, moving meditations like this…

    The Five Sense Walking Meditation:

    While you’re walking alone outside, fully immerse your consciousness in each sense. Take a minute or two to focus on each of your senses individually, like so:

    1. Sight – See the colors, shades, forms and shapes all around you. Notice the patterns in everything. See the subtle characteristics that you often overlook. See how vibrant the world really is. Look at everything as if seeing it for the first time.

    2. Sound – Listen to the sounds of nature, the sound of your feet touching the ground, the sound of your breath. Notice the silence that all sounds come out of. Listen to everything as if hearing for the first time.

    3. Smell – Be aware of all of the scents surrounding you. The subtle smells that you normally wouldn’t notice when you’re consumed with thought. Smell everything as if smelling for the first time.

    4. Touch – Feel your entire body. Feel your clothing against your body. Feel your feet upon the Earth. Feel the wind caressing your skin and hair. Reach out and touch a tree; appreciate its beautiful texture. Touch, feel everything as if feeling for the first time.

    5. Taste – Taste the saliva in your mouth. Be aware of your tongue and taste buds. If you have water with you, take a sip and let it pool in your mouth, immersing yourself in its flavor and texture. Taste, as if tasting for the first time.

    Wrap up the meditation by allowing all five senses to integrate – Simply continue walking as you normally would. Each sense will feel as if it was dipped in an ocean of rejuvenating energy. You will feel like life has been upgraded to high definition. You will be in a state of intense awareness, yet deeply peaceful and radiating with overwhelming bliss.

    Try it out for yourself. See, hear, smell, touch and taste like you never have before. Experience complete awareness. Wholeheartedly experience life.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

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    7 Easy Ways to Ground Yourself

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    Spring is in the air.

    With the influx of warm, gorgeous weather, it’s natural to be really giddy. It’s easy to get engulfed by the fair weather frenzy and feel utterly ungrounded.

    In addition to the shift of seasons, there was a full moon and a powerful solar flare this week as well; both of which are known for their mysterious and peculiar influences on human consciousness.

    Side note: Without going off on a big tangent, just know that we’re essentially blind to the spectrum of forces that are affecting us. What we perceive and measure is based upon the observation of three-dimensional reality with our five (quite limited) senses. We process an infinitesimally small sliver of “reality” through these human mind-body computers. Everything is fundamentally an interaction of energy, frequency and vibration (ourselves included). But it really comes down to this… Be aware of your state of being and act out of that place of awareness. That’s what this article is all about.

    Now back to the topic at hand…

    Being grounded is one of those terms that is tossed around a lot in so-called “spiritual” circles. And everyone has a slightly different definition for it. To me, being grounded means having full-body awareness (not being too “in your head” or “woo woo” or “floating in the clouds”) and being connected with nature.

    If you’re still a little unsure of what I’m talking about, here are some signs of being ungrounded:
    You feel spacey or even a little dizzy.
    You find it hard to finish tasks.
    You can’t concentrate.
    You find it hard to make yourself understood.
    You find it hard to understand others.
    You get distracted or your mind wanders.
    You lose track of time.
    (source)

    Everyone has experienced at least some of those symptoms from time-to-time. Here’s what to do about it…

    “I tell them there’s no problem, only solutions.” – John Lennon

    The Solution (7 Easy Ways to Ground Yourself)

    1. Spend some time barefoot on the Earth – Even if you can’t get out in nature, just walking barefoot on a patch of grass will do the trick. It sounds so simple, but it’s incredibly effective and feels amazing. Watch the documentary Grounded for an in depth look at this.

    2. Deep breathing – When isn’t this a solution?

    3. Working out (resistance training) – Leg workouts are especially grounding. This “grounds” you both into your body and the Earth.

    4. Turn off the technology – Too much tech will throw your hormones out of whack, make you dazed, robotic and too “in your head.” Take periodic breaks from technology and connect with your inner self and mother nature.

    5. Eat grounding food – Anything with roots and anything that resonates with the root chakra is grounding. These include root vegetables, animal proteins (preferably grass-fed and organic) and red-colored foods. Minerals help with grounding as well (so don’t shy away from sprinkling some Himalayan pink salt on everythang). Also, make sure you’re eating enough food, as caloric restriction is ungrounding.

    6. Watch the sunrise or sunset – The awe, the wonder, the captivating beauty. Something about the times of dawn and dusk are simply magical. And watching the sunrise or sunset will sync you up with the natural cycles of the Earth.

    7. Go hiking – Getting out in nature is the absolute best thing you can do to ground yourself. Do not underestimate how powerful this is for your overall well-being.

    My Personal Experience

    Earlier this week, I found myself unable to concentrate or focus on anything. I noticed it on Monday, but on Tuesday there was no getting around it. I had the attention span of a goldfish. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t concentrate on the simplest of tasks at work. And the act of writing seemed as insurmountable as catching Mewtwo with a regular pokeball. It was frustrating, to say the least.

    However, I’ve recently come to the realization that it’s useless to resist the flow of life and try to swim upstream. I’ve learned that everything works out when I sail with the currents of life, not against them.

    When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails” – H. Jackson Brown

    So I decided to lean into the natural cycles and embrace my need for groundedness, as opposed to forcing myself to focus on digits on a computer screen.

    What I did to reverse feeling ungrounded within 24 hours of noticing it:
    1. I gave up on trying to accomplish anything. I acknowledged my state of being without resisting it.
    2. I worked out (heavy deadlifts have quite the grounding effect).
    3. I went on a sunset hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with good company (see the picture below).
    4. After the hike, I ate… A lot. (Hooray for Carb Backloading)

    Then before I knew it, I found myself more productive at work and effortlessly writing this post. No rigid forcefulness required.

    Grow powerful wings to fly. But also grow powerful talons for when you need to perch upon the Earth.

    Be as liberated and limitless as a mythical dragon, yet as deeply rooted as a mighty tree.

    Stay free. Stay balanced. Stay rooted.

    Keep feelin’ good, feelin’ great.

    – Stevie P!

    Sunset me