Let’s play the Word Association Game. I’ll say a word and you say the first thing that pops into your mind.

Ready? Here we go…

Meditation

Okay, did you say some version of bliss? Or did you say some version of torture?

It certainly varies from person to person, but some people absolutely dread the idea of meditating. Many believe that meditation is sitting completely still in the lotus position while desperately trying to not think about anything.

ohm.jpg

The fact is, there are actually many ways to meditate! While more traditional styles do have you focus on your breath or a mantra, meditation is simply the act of being totally present with whatever it is you choose to focus on.

Meditation is like yoga’s BFF and it has many benefits. To list a few, meditation reduces stress, improves concentration, and increases self-awareness, happiness, and acceptance.

This past week, I had the opportunity to experience three non-traditional types of meditation where I didn’t have to sit completely still or empty my mind at all.

Here are the three I tried:

1. Lorin Roche’s instinctive meditation (author of The Radiance Sutras) led by yoga and meditation teacher Tobey Mintz. 

Lorin’s philosophy:

You don’t have to sit still.

You don’t have to sit cross-legged.

You don’t have to make your mind blank.

You don’t have to calm down.

One of his techniques is focusing on something that you love or brings you intense pleasure, and then recreating that feeling in your mind using all of your senses.  After that, you just dive in and enjoy the ride.

Some things that you could think about are: the greatest meal you’ve ever had, remembering a beautiful sunset, falling in love, or recalling the first time you held your newborn. In other words, recreate a memory that makes you melt and then dissolve into the feeling of it.

Yummy! Way easier and more pleasant than focusing on your breath.

 

2. Mind Body Meditation with Master Life Coach and Body-Mind teacher CrisMarie Campbell.

The question that CrisMarie asked the class was, “What are the goals that you set out to do, but don’t make happen?”

From there she guided us towards having a compassionate conversation with the part of us that doesn’t want to go forward, and then a separate conversation with the part of us that does want to take action.

Sure enough, by the time this experience was complete, I was flooded with new found insights about what stops me from doing what I really want to do.

 

3. Sound Meditation with meditation teacher and massage therapist Hallie Parker.

This class was called Group Sound Immersion: A Meditation Sound Bath. It was at a store called Pixie Dust, a Metaphysical Boutique in downtown Sarasota, Florida.

For an hour, five other students and I laid comfortably on the floor in a dark room while listening to crystal bowls, rain sticks, heartbeat drums, soothing music, a waterfall, and crashing waves.

There were no words, only soothing sounds that washed over you.

I felt like I was floating through a sea of tranquility.

I left the class feeling completely at peace.

So, if you hate meditation or think that you can’t do it, think again! There are many other ways to get the benefits from meditation without sitting completely still and trying to get your mind to stop thinking.