I’d been hearing about the merits of meditation for years, but when it came down to it, I just didn’t know where to start. I’d never received any formal guidance on meditation, and when I’d tried, the thought of sitting still and trying to completely clear my mind felt impossible.
Once I started attending vinyasa yoga classes, my attitude completely changed. Vinyasa is a type of yoga focused on breathing, using deep, focused breaths to ground yourself in your body. I learned that the euphoric feeling I felt after a yoga flow wasn’t just due to the stretch – it was because I’d spent time focusing on myself and my breath, and caring for my body.
From there, I decided to create a morning meditation routine for myself that would recreate the way I feel after yoga class. Doing so has completely changed my mornings, and in turn, how I approach my day. I’m typically a night owl, so waking up in the morning is a less than pleasant experience, but I’m able to start this meditation the minute I wake up and leave my bed feeling awake and refreshed.
1. Setting Intentions
- As soon as I wake up, I switch off my alarm and, with my eyes still closed, move into child’s pose stretch to begin my routine and set some intentions for the day. If I’m in a rush and I’m able to crack my eyes open, I’ll set a 5-minute timer to make sure I don’t run late or fall back asleep – it’s happened!
To get into child’s pose, start on your hands and knees, and slowly sit back onto your ankles and bow forward so your stomach rests on your thighs, with arms outstretched in front. From there, you can separate your knees if that’s more comfortable, or bring your hands down to rest alongside your body.
Once in child’s pose, I begin to take deep breaths: in through my nose, and out through my mouth. As I do so, I think about my intentions for the day. I typically think of 3, and they can be either tangible, like completing a certain task, or intangible, like the way I want to feel throughout the day. For example, my intentions this Saturday morning were to update my portfolio, spend a few focused hours working at my desk, and approach my day with patience.
- While continuing my deep breathing, my next step is to visualize the energy I need to tackle my day, and the energy I currently have inside me. This takes a little introspection. I ask myself questions; How does my body feel this morning? How do I need to feel when I start my day? What will help me meet my intentions?
The visualization practice that makes the most sense to me is to imagine that energy flows in with every inhale I take, and flows out with every exhale. I assign colors to the energy flowing in vs. flowing out based on how I’m feeling. For example, today I knew I would need patient, calm energy so I can focus on the work I hope to get done – to me, that looks like a shimmering blue color. On the other hand, I woke up feeling sleepy and confused, so the energy I exhale is a much darker, muddier color. With every breath I began to visualize shimmering blue energy flowing in, and darker energy flowing out.
While this is what works best for me, any type of visualization that helps draw your focus to your breathing and your body would work.
- For this last part of the meditation, I move into hero’s pose. To get to hero’s pose from child’s pose, it’s just a matter of sitting up so that your legs remain tucked underneath your body. Your hands can rest palms down on your knees, or palms facing up if you’re feeling more open and receptive.
This is the part where I focus on taking deep, full breaths, expanding my belly to take in as much air as possible. I try to clear my mind and focus solely on the visualization of my intended energy flow. This helps me make sure I exhale completely on each breath, because I imagine myself emptying my body of all the energy I want to let go of. Once I feel like I’ve spent enough time meditating, or when my 5-minute timer goes off, I slowly open my eyes and begin my day.
This routine has changed so much about how I go about my day. Meditating helps me be more present, and keeps me in a good mood no matter what obstacles come my way. By taking the time to center myself in the mornings, I find that I’m more calm, patient, and rational – and the best part is, it only adds a few minutes to my morning routine!
What are some habits that you’ve incorporated into your morning routine? Is there anything you do to help you stay calm and focused during the day? Let me know in the comments below!