Learning to Meditate: Clearing My Mind Before Going to Sleep

Hi friends,

Learning new things and about other cultures is fascinating to me. I believe in personal growth and continuous improvement. Over the past years, I have learned from my experiences, and have become a more positive, balanced, and reflective person. Guess it comes with age – and experiences (good and bad experiences). To a certain degree, I have also become a calmer person, a more understanding and accepting person. I work everyday on trying to be appreciative and demonstrate gratitude for the many blessings I have, to let go of the things I cannot control or change. In the past few years, I have adopted the motto, “As long as someone is not hurting me or affecting me (or a loved one/others) in a negative way, then I just let it be and focus on the positive things in my life.” I can only control my words and actions, not those of others. Life is short, I try to enjoy it and am trying to live in the moment, which can be hard to do with my type A personality.

In the past, I have practiced yoga and found it to be relaxing. Lately, I have had so much on my mind and find it challenging to turn off my thoughts even during yoga. My thoughts just enter my mind a thousand miles a minute, making it difficult to get into my “yoga relaxation zone.” Sometimes, it is exhausting to have so much on my mind. Exercise and yoga have always helped me de-stress, and I am hoping to get back to that place soon – where I can clear my mind and make the best decisions.

I had read about meditation before and have been reading more about it in the past few weeks. I have become very interested in the subject and am trying to learn how to meditate. The first meditation technique I learned during a class was from Brooke Bunge, yoga instructor, at Calistoga Ranch. Brooke told me to relax in a comfortable position, focus on my breathing, and either to repeat a word of choice or to count my breaths. By word of choice, she meant a word that applied to the moment, if I wanted to relax to repeat that word, if I wanted change to repeat that word, if I wanted clarity, to repeat it, you get the drift.

Since we returned from Calistoga, I have tried to meditate every night before I go to sleep. I start by laying on my back (in bed) in a comfortable position, then repeat the word “peace.” Or, if I have had a very hectic day, I repeat “relax”over and over. I place my hands on stomach so I can feel the breathing and be aware of it. I start with deep breathes and then gradually more relaxing breathes. Many thoughts drift through my mind (mostly my “to do” list, or things that happened during the day, or thoughts of things that are months away), I just try to keep repeating the word and visualizing what “relax” represents for me. At some point, when I am ready to go to sleep, I turn on my side because I can’t sleep on my back. Then, before I know it, I feel relaxed and fall asleep without the hundreds of thought continuing in my mind.

I have also tried meditating at the gym as part of my cool down after exercising. I’ll share more about what seemed like loooong 10 minutes of meditation in one of my next posts. I have also found some interesting materials to read and a meditation that will be done globally. Oprah will also be hosting a free 21-day Meditation Experience, along with Deepok Chopra. I signed up for both. I’ll write about these soon!

Have you meditated? What do you think of meditation?




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