As you guys know I adore Annie Lawless of Suja Juice & BLAWNDE so it’s no surprise that when she posted about meditation, I was intrigued. Definitely ended up sending her questions ( with way too many Emojis ) via text.
So after talking we decided to do a post collab. Today I’m sharing my beauty tips on BLAWNDE & Annie’s sharing about her experience with meditation.
Here’s the deal though: I have a MAJOR problem sitting still. Like a serious problem. It makes me anxious. So meditation is…well, scary. Annie & I both have super busy lifestyles so I figured if Annie finds mediation soothing & productive, then it’s definitely something I should look in to.
ANYWAY enjoy this interview. I’m super excited about it because I’m REALLY, REALLY going to try to incorporate the practice in to my daily routine. Here ya go:
Ok, ok so what’s meditation?
Annie Lawless: Meditation is a state of being. When you’re in meditation, you’re not doing it, you’re being in it. One of the biggest misconceptions about meditation is that it’s an action or a something you put effort into. It’s really a deep state of inner peace that you enter when the mind is free of thoughts.
How should someone who’s never meditated start off?
AL: Start small! It will feel awkward and maybe even uncomfortable when you start meditating because it’s surprisingly hard/unusual for us to be still and surrender to peace and calm. We are so over stimulated and wound up these days with the fast pace of modern life, that sitting in silence to do nothing just seems odd. But, if you try for 5 minutes or so and gradually increase that time as you are able to sink into it and get a good feeling from it, you will understand the purpose and actually look forward to it! Also, try some of the tips below if you have trouble silencing your mind. This is definitely not something that comes easily in the beginning, but will be natural with time.
Describe your daily experience:
AL: I wake up and meditate every. single. morning. I do this for 30 minutes, minimum. I ask my boyfriend every night what time he needs to wake up and I automatically set my alarm for 30 minutes prior. I need to be alone in my special quiet space without distraction or noise. I like the morning stillness before anyone else is up and I can just be. This is usually around 5:30 or 6 and I like to go into the exercise room because we have a window that looks out to the ocean. I sit indian style, close my eyes, and place my hands on my knees. I probably look like a typical meditator or maybe just a weirdo, but I really don’t care because nobody is around – its my time. When I hear my boyfriend rustle around and turn off his alarm, I slowly come back into my body and bring my awareness to the feeling I’ve just created and make the intention to carry it with me the rest of the day.
Benefits of meditation?
AL: There are SOOOOO many!! Meditation is like yoga. When people say, “what is yoga good for?” I don’t even know where to start! Here are a few powerful perks of engaging in a regular meditation practice:
STRESS RELIEF: Research has shown, meditation may be one of the most effective forms of reducing stress. Neurologists have found those who meditate have less of the stress hormone cortisol compared with non-meditators.
IMMUNITY: Meditators have shown reduced anxiety and stronger immune function after just 2 months of meditation. Some produced twenty five more antibodies in response to the flu virus.
DEPRESSION: Depressed people treated with meditation are 50% less likely to relapse than people without meditation. Meditation helps retrain the mind to derail negative thinking patterns.
WEIGHT: Instead of eating mindlessly or dealing with stress and negative emotions using food, meditators are more mindful of their hunger and why they may be feeling the need to emotionally eat.
ANTI-AGING: Meditation prevents and reverses the effects of aging on the brain. Those who meditation regularly are shown to have thicker pre-frontal cortexes than those who do not. The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for attention and sensory perception.
What happens if your brain starts thinking too much while you’re meditating?? I’m so anxious, any tips? Also, describe what goes through your brain while meditating.
AL: This WILL happen. Don’t be discouraged or overanalyze it. It’s just the name of the game. When you’re truly in meditation, nothing is going through your brain. When you have trouble getting there, here are some things I do that really help me out when I have monkey mind:
LET YOUR THOUGHTS DRIFT AWAY. When my mind starts firing up with thoughts of what I need to do that day, what’s bothering me, what I should eat for breakfast, my workout, etc. I pretend those thoughts are monkey bars that I am swinging on and I simply leave that bar and swing forward. I don’t let myself hang on those thoughts. When beginning a meditation practice, you WILL have all sorts of thoughts come up and that’s 100% normal and ok. The key is letting them pass and not take over your mind.
USE A SOUND OR MANTRA. If you have trouble focusing your attention on stillness without something more specific to focus on, use a phrase or sound that you repeat to yourself and give purpose to your focus. I like to think of something I need that day like “awareness “, “gratitude”, or “patience” and I repeat that word to myself. When I focus on that word and that word only, my mind does not have the capacity to wander.
BREATHE. This is one of my favorite meditation tips because it is a big part of practicing yoga, which is a moving meditation. Breathing deeply and focusing on that breath is a great way to let everything else in your mind drift away. I like to follow my breath with my mind in through my nose, down the back of my throat, into my lungs and belly, and exhaling back up and feel each step in my body.
RELAX YOUR MUSCLES. A great way to allow your meditation permeate your body is by starting at your toes and relaxing each muscle all the way up through your body one at a time. To do this, focus on your toes and fully relax them, then the balls of your feet and fully relax them, then the arches, the heels, the ankles, the calves, and so on until you reach the crown of your head. By the end, you will have relaxed every muscle in your body while focusing your attention on that relaxation and nothing else. When you open your eyes, you will feel incredible.
I hope these tips help you start a meditation practice of your own! It is one of the most special and meaningful parts of my day and I know it will be for you too. If you have any questions, check out this post or email me at Annie@Blawnde.com!
Ok, so what’s the verdict: will you try meditation or do you already practice it?
++ Read about my favorite beauty tips on Annie’s blog here.