By Kelsey Duchesne
I recently began to think about my daily routine, and how much of it involves me scrolling through my phone, processing articles that read like Reductress’ satire headlines, and feeling anxiety swirl through my body like a GOP-produced whirlpool. My boyfriend and I realized that we were stuck in a rut that included a 6:30 a.m. political rant on the way to the gym, only to watch the news on the too-big TV screens at the gym, and continuing our ranting on the way home (oy-- do you have a headache from just reading that?).
While it is important to talk about decisions that will be affecting our country at large and discussing the action that we can personally take, I recently registered that my brain was always on high alert, causing me to be one stressed-out Sally in other aspects of my life. While my daily workouts have played a large role in reducing stress, my body is still, quite literally, going at full speed. So, how do I calm my mind, body and soul so I can continue to be my best self (i.e. a person who can still find ways to smile as our country goes through heavy turbulence)? I had to go inward and *finally* try meditation. But first, I sought out THINX’s resident spiritual/meditation guide-- our Community Manager, Jasmin.
“Meditation, as I see it, is a fluid (judgement free) conversation between my breath and my thoughts,” Jasmin told me over an almond latte in a cozy Chelsea coffee house (JK, it was on the THINX slack, but her writing is so lovely i’d like to imagine it was the former). “When I mindfully breathe (this is why I have essential oils in my pockets at.all.times) into the present moment, I am able to transcend the stress of any situation and respond, instead of react." Her response delighted me, and the idea of transcending stress sounded downright orgasmic. So, how should I get started, and what resources should I use? Jasmin was quick to send over a helpful guide that I’m happy to share with you.
INSIGHT TIMER- Insight Timer has a wide variety of guided meditations from the world's best meditation teachers. Bonus: there's a map on Insight Timer that shows you all of the people meditating around the world (at the same time as you!).
HEADSPACE- Headspace calls themselves “the gym membership for your mind”, because they’re not only assisting in your daily meditation, but they’re giving you the tools to learn how to meditate no matter where you are! At this point, I can only meditate in a quiet room with my soothing sounds on, so this app would be a great way for me to learn how to block out all the noise & chaos and focus on me!
YOGAGLO- Yogaglo is great resource for guided visual meditations, and includes videos from Jasmin’s very own meditation teacher, David Harshada Wagner! There are over 3,500 classes to choose from, all at different levels. You can enjoy a 15 day free trial (!!!!), and they select classes for you to try based on a quick survey about what you’re looking for.
CALM- Calm has 7-day mediation programs that focus on aspects of your life that may need a little more attention, like staying calm, relieving stress, processing gratitude, staying focused, and more. You do need to pay 4.99 a month for these programs, but they do have soothing images/sounds on the website for free that you can use while you meditate. My favorite is “mystic fountain”, and I’m listening to it now as I write this-- it makes the perfect background noise!
KRIPALU- The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health is in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. I was thrilled when Jasmin suggested it, because I went there for a week in high school with my best friends and I absolutely loved it. I specifically remember doing an early morning yoga and meditation class in a room with large windows, and the sun rose as we meditated, cozy in thick blankets on our mats. The teachers were kind and thoughtful with every student, including complete beginners, like myself. Kripalu offers programs, events, and retreats, and bonus-- you get to hike in the beautiful Berkshires. Brb, booking my reunion trip now.
OMEGA- Located in Rhinebeck, NY, Omega has meditation workshops and classes, among other outstanding programs. They also have a Women’s Leadership Center and retreats that specialize in trauma treatment, specifically for veterans. Their website has articles and videos from community members, so you can still be connected if you can’t physically visit the center!
Do you have a meditation experience, method, or resource that works well for you? Please share in the comments! It’s gonna be a year, folks-- but we must remember to take care of ourselves, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, tucked away in our happy place. With clear minds, we can take on whatever 2017 brings.
***Psssttt calling all NYC-based THINXers! We’re hosting our second meditation event of the year on Thursday, February 16th. :) If you’d like to join us, check out the deets here.