I have practiced yoga for years. I started when I was in college and now I teach the practice to children /teens. I share my love of it as often as possible through conversations (sorry friends, I know you are sick of hearing it 🙂 and instagram photos (be on the lookout for March instagramming series!)
But one thing I haven’t shared is my love of quiet meditation time. It feels so silly to write about it, like its too personal or something, yet, it’s something that has a profound effect on my day and I only wish I had started a meditation practice way earlier in life. Thus, the reason I’m sharing now. It would be so amazing if the practice of meditation became a “normal” part of a young girls life.
First let me tell you what my simple practice is, and then I will share what it does for me on a physical and emotional level, and why I think it would make a profound difference in the life of a teen girl to add it into her daily life.
The word meditation freaks people out, as they imagine its an alien moment of isolation and discomfort. I also know that people have no idea where to even begin. I am not trained in meditation so I can’t offer you an actual practice but what I can offer is that the meditation I practice involves only two things: my willingness to sit quietly (early morning is the only option in my house) and my willingness to close my eyes and breathe for 10 minutes. For those 10 minutes, I don’t move around, I don’t open my eyes, I don’t think too hard abut what I am thinking about. I just let 10 minutes pass and try to accept whatever happens in those 10 minutes. (I do set a zen timer that dings when the 10 minutes is up). When I stand up at this moment, its this feeling of both calm and focus. I can easily see what my day has to offer and what I have to do to power through it.
How could 10 minutes of random thinking be so meaningful? I don’t know!!!! (I have read all the studies that show why slowing your breath and mind is meaningful, but I am admitting that at a practical level it doesn’t seem possible that 10 minutes a day could so positively affect me. It has taken me years to accept that my meditation doesn’t have to be this directed, forced, pre-determined practice. There might be a place for that as I evolve, but for now, in the midst of crazy life and a crazy time of child-rearing, 10 minutes of just accepting things as they are is the part that is earth shattering for me.
Now for why I think teen girls could really start to love this. I’m almost 40 but I remember my teen years so clearly. There were fun times, but what I recall most is the insecurity I always felt, about myself and how I looked and what others thought about me. Are there teen girls who don’t have this issue? They are few and far between. When I ask around to friends what they would tell their teenage self, most answers center around, “be happy with who you are,” and “live in the moment” and “don’t judge yourself”. It’s awesome advice but how do we help the young women in our life get to that place of self acceptance?
As you may see from this blog, I love the idea of introducing daily healthy habits into their (and our own) lives. If young women thought of it as “normal” to sit and mediate for 10 minutes every day they would have a chance to accept themselves for the special people that we know they are. I can picture this amazing cycle in which young women start feeling calm, and then they feel centered, and then feel happy and then at peace with their bodies and their abilities, and the world as a whole. Imagine a whole universe of at-peace-with-themselves- young women? PURE JOY!
In following weeks I will share some other practical ideas for those 10 minutes of sitting each day, but for now, it would be great to hear from you if you think this is 1.) a helpful, interesting topic 2.) what your experience of meditation has been 3.) if you think there is any chance WE could get teen girls to meditate?!