We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.
We’ve written before about working out being a good way to de-stress. But for times when you can’t fit in a full workout, then what? We turned to author Jenny Blake with this question, and her answer is today’s challenge: Try meditating for 5 minutes!
Meditation, schmeditation. Many of us have read the rapidly-growing number of articles touting its benefits (Improved sleep! Health! Gratitude! Focus! Productivity!) but for the longest time, even as an avid yogi and lover of Buddhist books, I JUST. COULDN’T. GET. INTO. IT. I got bored, restless, and I never “had the time.” (Pfft! What a load of hooey—even 5 minutes goes a long way.)
“Does walking count? Running? Biking? What about Journaling?” When I asked my friend Adam, who studied meditation while living in a monastery in Thailand, the answer was a resounding NO, NO, NO and NO. “Get quiet,” he said. “Those other activities may just be more forms of doing.”
It wasn’t until my entire life flipped upside down last year that I turned to the final frontier of what might soothe my deep sense of discomfort: meditation.
So I committed to a daily practice of 10-20 minutes, and made it fun by tracking my progress and holding myself accountable to getting 10, then 20, then 30 days in a row. Pretty soon I felt an enormous sense of relief: that even for just 10 minutes a day, I could calm down, get quiet, and even let all of my emotions wash over and flush themselves out of my system.
I’ve been meditating daily for a year and half now, and even though sometimes I only do 5 minutes, it feels like re-charging the battery of my brain back up to 100 percent.
Do you consider yourself “meditation curious”?
Since that early conversation, Adam and I partnered with a team and created our own meditation app to bring this amazing practice to the masses in an accessible, “non-granola” way, through emotional analytics and shared accountability with friends (similar to your Fitbit dashboard).
After polling over 200 people about what gets in the way of starting a practice, we found that many beginners get overwhelmed by some very practical (and understandable!) questions: How should I physically sit? And what the heck do I do once I close my eyes?
We’ve got you covered! If you’re feeling motivated to experiment with your own sitting practice but you aren’t exactly sure where to begin, below are a few pointers from Casey Gramaglia, Lucent’s meditation advisor (or download the handy Beginner’s Meditation Guide as a PDF). Born and raised in NYC and Connecticut, Casey Gramaglia moved to Thailand in 1999, where he became involved with Vipassana Meditation and established the Thai Hermit Yoga School.
Without further ado . . . here’s Casey!
A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
Tips for your Physical Posture: How to Set Yourself Up
Tips for your Meditation: A Basic Practice to Start With
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice! Will you commit to experimenting with 5-minutes of meditation a day for the next 4 days? If so, report back in the comments or using #30DaysToSummerFit and let us know how it goes! (Check out Lucent if you’re looking for an app to help facilitate this process, and download the Beginner’s Guide to Meditation for handy reference.)
We’d love to hear from you in the comments:
Do you already have a regular meditation practice?
What helped make it “sticky” when you were first starting out?
If not, try the 4-day experiment and report back!
About Casey Gramaglia
While living in northern Thailand, Casey Gramaglia deepened his meditation studies at Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong under the auspices of Phra Dhammamangalajarn Tong Sirimangalo. He is currently working towards MA in International Education, with the intention of bridging the gaps between Mindfulness-based practices, yoga, and traditional academics in International Schools. He is known for his approachable teaching style, and believes meditation is about simplicity: on and off the cushion. In his meditation teacher’s own words, “You can’t fail at this work.” (Chindaporn, 2009)
About Jenny Blake
Jenny Blake is an author, speaker, and career and business strategist who loves helping people move beyond burnout. She loves exploring and creating simple, accessible systems at the intersection of mind, body and business. She’s the co-founder of a new app called Lucent for people who are “meditation-curious” and for fun, Jenny teaches a Geek Yoga class in New York City for entrepreneurs. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.