Why now might be the perfect time to start meditating

I’m a bit of meditation “wannabe.” I have the best intentions, and usually make it out to see my meditation trainer on a weekly basis, but a regular practice has been tough to instill. I’m like many of you, chronically overscheduled and feel too busy to justify a timeout, no matter much I may need it.

Now that the coronavirus has upended so many of our lives, stress levels have skyrocketed. I find the uncertainty and insecurity unnerving, sending my inner dialogue into a tailspin of “what if” scenarios, followed by a considerable amount of jaw clenching. Can you relate?

>> Read More: Perfect time to garden: Playing in the dirt, watching plants grow can relieve stress

Relief from that incessant internal banter can be found in simply sitting in silence. I know because I’ve experienced it with my mediation trainer. I also felt grounded and recharged, not to mention considerably less irritable. It feels like the right time to make it more of a habit.

How to begin? I found some great options to try below. Remember, meditating isn’t easy, but it’s also not that hard. If you set a timer for two minutes and just count your breath (in for a count of six, hold for three, and out for six), you may be surprised how much lighter you feel. I’m with you on this journey, so let’s get started!

>> Read More: Dayton yoga studio grateful for local support during COVID-19 crisis

Listen to a guided meditation online

Given the financial and personal stress put upon so many by this crisis, many meditation apps and websites are sharing resources with the public for free. One of my favorites, Headspace, has a "Take a Moment with Meditation" page specifically for COVID-19. The three-minute "Feeling Overwhelmed" guided mediation is perfect for everyone who needs a quick timeout. "Walking at Home" and "Relieving Stress" are 10-minute sessions that are sure to boost your spirits.

Calm has also curated a free mix of meditations, sleep stories, music and more, all hand-picked to support people's mental and emotional wellness through this difficult time. You can find the "Take A Deep Breath" collection online at Calm.com. The first session, "A Heart Less Heavy" is a lovely listen and at just 12 minutes long, can fit into your schedule relatively easily.

You can also download the Headspace and Calm apps from the Apple or Google Play Stores.

>> Read More: Small acts of kindness go a long way: 'We're all in this together … just 6 feet apart'



Lunchtime Live Sessions from Dayton Heartfulness

I’ve tried various forms of meditation, and the one that I connected to the most is called “Heartfulness.” It’s a silent form of meditation that encourages you, with the help of a trainer, to focus on your heart and let your brain take a much-needed rest.

Every day at 12:15 p.m., Dayton Heartfulness, a local meditation center, hosts Uma Mullapudi, an experienced trainer, on both Facebook and Instagram Live. The session kicks off with a welcome discussion, which is perfect for newcomers and guides you through a relaxation technique.

At 12:30 p.m., the meditation session begins for a total of 30 minutes. That seems like a long time, however in my experience, that’s how long it takes to fully disconnect and calm the mind down completely. At 1 p.m., there is an optional Q&A session. This takes place daily and is free of charge.

Although it may be difficult to do regularly, this one is great to tune into once or twice a week for a truly refreshing experience. Once you've got the hang of it, you can tune in just from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. for the meditation session. If that doesn't work for your schedule, Heartfulness has a completely free app called Heartsapp, also available at Apple and Google Play.

>> READ MORE: DeWine & Amy: The popular pair have a theme song and video, thanks to Ohio animator



Conscious Living Classes

If you're curious to dig deeper, Dayton Heartfulness is also hosting Heartful Living Classes to learn the art of living consciously. Discussions include how to maintain a daily balance and how to have inner poise. This five-week streaming series is live on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. To receive the link for the online Zoom class, please send an email to Dayton.oh@heartfulness.org. Only registered participants may attend the class.

Whether you take a class to learn more, or simply find a couple minutes for deep breaths, I applaud your efforts to carve out time for much needed inner peace and relaxation.

About the Author