~ Four Meditation Practices to Quieten Your Mind ~

Thought you could all do with this as we approach such a busy time of year. Meditation has become part of my life and has had an amazing effect on me, it keeps me focused in the now and is very calming. Try these very simple methods for yourself.
~ Four Meditation Practices to Quieten Your Mind ~
I often hear people say things like, “I want to start a meditation practice, but I don’t have time” or “I just can’t sit still that long” and so on. But meditation doesn’t have to be sitting still for 15 minutes to an hour as you try to think about nothing without moving your body. Meditation can instead become a self-care practice you use to simply quieten your mind. But you have to try it in order to really begin to feel the positive effects on your body and soul.
Here are four meditations that are perfect for beginners and even seasoned practitioners who need to get back in touch with their beginner’s mind. You don’t have to be a yogi to try these meditations. They’re accessible for anyone and you can try any of them today.
 Counting Your Breaths
When you first begin meditating, it can be difficult to quiet your mind. Well, the truth is, some days this can be difficult for someone who has been meditating for years. This is why a counting meditation is a good one to begin with or come back to from time to time.
One idea to add into your meditation toolbox is using a sound to begin your meditation. This cues your body and mind that you’re about to enter into a quiet space for yourself. You can use a small bell, tingshas (pictured here), or a singing bowl. You might also want to light a candle or even clear your space with sage.
Here’s how to practice the “counting your breaths” meditation:
Find a comfortable way to sit. Using a pillow or a meditation cushion or even a rolled up blanket to sit on is a good idea.
Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breathing. After a few moments, being to count your breaths. One way I like to do this is to literally say internally, “Inhale one. Exhale one. Inhale two. Exhale two.” as I breathe. Count up to 10, then start over.
Go through this cycle of 10 a few times. When you’re done, notice how you feel. And then make any movements your body needs in this moment.
 Noticing Your Body
Exhaling into the Corners
I read about this technique years ago, and I use it on nights when I can’t stop the mind chatter and am trying to get to sleep. You can use it in the middle of the day to center yourself as well or to help you drop into a short rest. One idea is to wear an eye mask or lavender scented eye pillow while you practice this one.
Here’s how it works:
You close your eyes and visualize the four corners of the room you’re in. Start at one corner and with your next inhale, imagine moving across the straight edge of the room with your breath. Then exhale into the next corner. Inhale and continue around the room, breathing in along the edge, then exhaling into the corner. Continue several more times.
 Candle Meditation
I hope you’ll give meditation a try. And if you don’t enjoy it the first time you try it, try again. It can take a few times to really notice how it affects you. Try shortening the time or even lengthening it. Most importantly, listen to what your body is telling you and try to let go of any self-judgement that comes up. This isn’t about perfection; it’s about supporting yourself through a practice that feels right for you.