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April 10, 2021


Meditation 101

Meditation. Where do I even begin? Meditation is everything! It is a state of being that you have access to, every moment of every day, to change your perspective, build your awareness, and find ultimate bliss. Today we will talk about the science behind it, the different types, and tips for implementing a daily practice. I cannot wait to get deep into this LIFE-CHANGING practice today. 

Before we get started, I want to first acknowledge that meditating can feel challenging, and it can BE hard. We are conditioned to be so busy, to never get quiet, and to consistently be producing. Thus, when we try to sit and meditate (especially if we only try it once), it can feel impossible. But I promise you, no matter who you are or how difficult it may have felt in the past: it is accessible to everyone, including you. 

Let’s dig in!

The Science of Meditation

The act of meditating is defined as training your brain to focus and redirect your thoughts. AKA, a workout for your mind. Without practice, the weights will never feel lighter, right? Mediation is the same exact way. It is worth sticking with, though, because it has SO many science-based life-changing benefits. 

Here are a few of them that will blow your mind: 

Reduces Stress

Accounting to a study published by Science Direct, meditation is a better buffer on stress than other controlled treatments such as medication. Further, in an 8-week study, it successfully reduced inflammation in the body, cortisol levels, and additional stress-influenced conditions like IBS. I mean, that is powerful stuff, babe! 

Controls Anxiety 

Closely related to stress, meditation also reduces anxiety across the board. Interestingly though, with anxiety, the more you experience, the more it relieves. Again this is because our brain wants to relieve tension… it just doesn’t know-how. So by providing it a tool to heal itself, it does. Sounds like magic, but again, it is actually science, babe. 

Improves Sleep

Want to hear a not-so-positive statistic? According to Healthline, nearly half the population will struggle with Insomnia at some point. Insomnia is driven by stress, anxiety, and uncontrolled thoughts. So by simply practicing meditation helps you control your thoughts. On Top of that, it helps relax your body, releases tension, and places you in a peaceful state in which you’re more able to fall asleep. 

Lengthens Attention Span

This is where the muscles aspect comes in. By showing up to meditate, even if it feels hard, and doing it anyway… you are strengthening that muscle. This has immediate and lasting effects. One study found that meditating for just 13 minutes a day enhanced attention and memory after 8 weeks. Can you imagine what it can do if you meditate for a lifetime?

I think it’s worth noting, the above is a shortlist of the benefits meditation can bring. Others include, but are not limited to: help fighting addictions, overall mental health improvement, kindness, and happiness goes up, reducing pain, increased creativity. 

Different Styles of Meditation

If you aren’t convinced to hop on the meditation train just yet, let me tell you all the different options you have to try to find the method that is most aligned for you! There are 6 main categories: 

  1. Mindfulness Meditation. I thought it was essential to start with this first because this is the most common in the West. This is the one touched on above that really makes you work the mental muscles of concentration and awareness. In this form of meditation, breathing is heavily used to bring your focus back on the meditation when our mind wanders – as it does and will. 
  1. Movement Meditation. HELLO YOGA! Clearly, this is my personal favorite form of moving meditation, but other common ones include walking and tai chi. This is the best entry into meditation, especially if you struggle to do it with stillness or experience anxiety around the more passive forms. Once you master meditation on your mat or out in the world, it can be easier to take it off the mat and back into the traditional zero movement methods. 
  1. Focused Meditation. This is another lovely gateway mediation. Focused meditation is all about picking a task at hand and keeping one hundred percent of your focus on that. And when I say one hundred percent, I am not kidding, babe! For example, suppose you choose to make your daily morning bev the focus of your morning meditation. In that case, you should tune into ALL senses: feel the warmth on your hands from the water, smell the scents, and then taste it on your lips. Take it ALL in. 
  1. Visualization Meditation. This one is powerful. I mean, they all are, but this one is big in building your bliss. In visualization meditation, we bring our highest self, best life, safe place (the possibilities are endless) to mind and focus all our attention there. By bringing these visions into our meditation, we are choosing our own reality. This creative form really brings really positive personal development and change. 
  1. Chanting Meditation. Also encompassing, another personal fav, mantra meditation. While chanting or saying your phrase, the key here is to focus on the sound of the words and the feelings they induce. Often this will bring a sense of peace and joy to mind. It can feel funny at first but start with what you feel called to, or you can always fall back on the traditional “om.” 
  1. Spiritual Meditation. Whether you believe in Buddha, or Jesus, or Source Power, meditation can get you closer to the divine! This has been a spiritual practice performed for centuries. Prayers, alters, and other spiritual aspects are often utilized as tools to connect to a higher power in this category of meditation. 

Tips for YOUR Daily Practice

  • Start small! Even 2 minutes to begin can get you going, and as it gets easier, you can add on more time.
  • Attach it to something you already do. For example, if you make yourself a morning tea in the morning, do it right before that. The tea becomes a little reward, and your brain will appreciate you attaching something positive to the new experience. 
  • Create a meditation corner! You’ve probably all seen this in my apartment, and it’s a game-changer. Make sure it’s a calm, quiet, and comfy space where you feel extra zen. 
  • Be flexible! Accept this may feel uncomfortable at first because it is new. Allow flexibility in when, where, and how you access mediation. It is all about practice, not perfection, love!

I’m not sure about you, but I’m ready to go meditate RIGHT NOW! Between all the MIND-BLOWING benefits and the variety of types to choose from, you have absolutely no excuse but to find a way to make meditation work for you. And if you’re in need of a little extra support to get sit done I created a free 5 minute guided meditation for you up on The Yoga Inspired Life Podcast and I also did a whole solo episode on meditation where I share some more personal thoughts and tips! Take the daily tips, try the different types, and let all the magic begin. Because while it’s not magic, it feels like it IS! Sit back, get quiet, stay open and slip into the ultimate state of bliss: stillness.

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About The Blogger

Hey! I'm Shayla

I’m a yoga and fitness loving, green juice drinking, wanderlust-ing, wellness obsessed gal living in Los Angeles, CA with my sweet rescue dogs Penny Lane and Bali.

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