To some, it’s a walk in the woods. To others, it’s a contemplative time spent doing nothing but breathing and reflecting. Meditation can take as many forms as it has practitioners, no matter if you’re a master or just starting out on your journey.
While it's difficult to pinpoint exactly when meditation became a “thing”, the practice itself has been recorded as a human ritual for thousands of years. The oldest documented evidence of a meditative practice comes from India, where walls of art from 5,000 to 3,000 BCE depict people in a seated posture with their eyes closed.
Today, meditation is widely accepted, celebrated, and very accessible. From glossy magazines and yoga classes to talk shows and apps, people everywhere are discussing how taking time to center yourself and eliminate distractions allows for more peace, productivity, and personal reflection.
But our 9-5s, social media profiles, and daily to-do lists don’t have a lot of room for a meditative practice. Lying in bed and scrolling through Instagram is the closest many of us get to a “break” from the day’s noise and chaos, sadly.
So! As we enter a new decade, we propose carving out a bit of space for your mental health. We propose finding a few minutes here and there, or committing one night of your week to meditation or personal reflection.
Give stress a back seat, take a break from your phone, and get to know yourself a bit more fully. We promise only good things await.
If that’s got you curious about meditation but you’re still not sure how to get started, here are a few ideas, hacks, and strategies to help you on your way:
Meditation is personal.
There’s no right way to do it. So, with that in mind, start small.
Listen to your breathing as you commute to work. Set aside two minutes in the morning to think about your day and all you’re grateful for in life. Don’t set big goals you can’t meet on day 1.
Keep things simple and reasonable, and don’t judge yourself at the onset.
It might seem antithetical, but apps have made meditation extremely accessible, if we so choose.
Download any meditation app and start your journey with a little guidance. Starting out can feel tough, so, working through an app can make things a bit less scary and more manageable.
We dig Headspace, 10% Happier, and Calm. All are available in the app store.
John Muir said it best: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”
We agree. A walk in the woods gives perspective. It can simultaneously remind you of your smallness and greatness, your role in life and your purpose.
Sometimes meditation is just taking a walk.
Find Local Zen.
Finding a guide to help you on your meditation journey is a big plus.
It can feel daunting to enter into this world alone without someone to give pointers or lend a hand.
Yoga is a form of meditation that many seek and find comfort in. Browse local offerings to see if there’s a yoga practice or meditation meetup that piques your interest.
If you can't find a local meditation class, there’s plenty of online programs like Gaia and a world of YouTube videos to help you along.
Solace At Home.
Not super into bringing your meditation game out into the world? That’s cool. Keep things at home!
Put up a meditation-friendly hammock indoors or on the back porch and use it to help you get relaxed and find your center. (And always remember this sage advice: "You should spend 10 minutes in a hammock every day, unless you're too busy. Then you should spend an hour.")
Light some candles that bring you to a happy place and cuddle up or stretch out with one of our cozy yoga blankets.
Take a bath and let the stress rinse off.
Meditation is whatever you want it to be, and it can be as simple as enjoying quiet time alone at home. Just remember to eliminate the distractions and you're on your way!
Maggie Dodson is a creative writer living in New York City. An avid hiker and film buff, she spends most of her days sneaking wine into movie theaters and climbing mountains in the Hudson Valley with her husband and rescue dogs, Billie Holiday and Walnut.
For book + wine pairings and her merry misadventures, follow Maggie on IG at @maggiesdodson.