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7 Days of Meditation

Welcome to 7 Days of Meditation, good to have you along.

Please press PLAY to access your welcome introduction from Sally…

Day 1 – Getting Started

Allocate some time within your day, find somewhere quiet and comfortable to sit and let’s begin!

Day 1 – How was it?

It has been wonderful to start receiving feedback on Day 1’s session..

“First day….10 mins of trying to meditate….a challenge after 2 seconds I’d say! However, it IS a feel good factor, so I shall keep trying….”

“Great mindfulness session today, I may have fallen asleep! I’m sure it didn’t last 10 minutes….”

“I started Day 1 of meditation yesterday. Lovely and relaxing – I did it in bed just before turning out the light. Perfect – thank you…”

Struggling to settle?

If this was your first experience of meditation today, you may have run into a few problems. Don’t worry, it’s pretty common and completely normal – everyone runs into a few bumps when they’re first learning to meditate. Fortunately, just recognising and acknowledging an obstacle can often help you overcome the difficulty. Even those who already have an established practice will have ‘off’ days…

Getting comfortable enough to settle can be difficult and sustaining a sitting position for the extent of the practice may be a challenge for many people. The base that we give to the spine through the pelvis will affect our ability to sit upright, how the shoulders settle and how the head is supported. If you are sitting on the ground, try sitting up on a cushion or two – releasing strain through the hips and legs. If you are sitting in a chair, place the feet evenly on the ground and try using some support to keep the spine upright. If you are unable to settle in an upright position, lie down and see how that feels.

We may wonder if we are ‘doing it right’ – remember there is no set expectation on the practice and any doubts that crop up during your session about a correct or incorrect experience are just thoughts, all that we need to do is patiently continue to return our attention to the breath.

If motivation is a problem, try to allocate your practice time to the earlier part of your day and think about making it part of your routine for the week. Allowing your 10 mins of self care to be part of a daily ritual will help to alleviate the procrastination!

Restlessness can be a challenge – it may be that your body just refuses to settle, or your mind is overflowing with thoughts… Be patient with yourself, notice how you feel and persevere with the practice if you can. If you need to pull the plug, that’s fine – there’s always tomorrow to come back and try again. Every day will feel different and one difficult session does not signify failure!

It’s easy to drift off to sleep when you’re starting out, so don’t worry too much if you occasionally drift off during the first few weeks. If it keeps happening maybe try a different time of day or sit up a little straighter – when the spine is properly upright, the mind will often be a little more alert. The words of one of my earliest meditation teachers remain fixed in my mind – “the dull spine leads to a dull mind” – and this certainly holds true in my experience.

Whatever your experience today, congratulate yourself for having opened the Day 1 audio file and having the intent to make a start. Building a meditation practice takes time, patience and the willingness to persevere. Just remember you are not alone – this week you are in the company of 55 other people (WOW!!) – all on the same journey together, united in this mindfulness experience.

Day 2 – Counting The Breaths

Welcome to Day 2 mindfulness practice – Counting The Breaths. Allocate some time during your day and settle in for some calm space – ENJOY!!

Day 2 – How was it?

What are you saying about Day 2?

“Wow! I am surprised at myself today. Counting breaths certainly helped me to concentrate during today’s meditation. On the first count I got distracted at the 7th breath, I started all over again and finished 4 complete sets of 10 breaths – no problems. I felt 10 minutes simply flew past…”

“Thank you for the daily meditations. Working from home I was finding the transition between work and home difficult so have used them to help me rest my mind after work and ‘return home’ feeling calm…”

“I found counting the breaths difficult at first, but easing as the practice continued. I found I was much clearer in my head afterwards with a sense of relaxing in my body and mind. Very soothing…”

“Enjoying the daily sessions. Tried Day 1 when I woke and Day 2 before sleep. Think I will stick with the latter and hope it helps my sleep quality, which has been rubbish for last few weeks…”

 

Day 3 – Body Scan Meditation

Welcome to Day 3 mindfulness practice – Body Scan Meditation. Settle in to develop your attention skills….

Day 3 – How was it?

What are you saying about Day 3?

“Wow, 10 minutes is not long enough….”

“My mind remains busy right up to when you bring us back, then everything goes calm and my thoughts settle…”

“I found this practice really difficult – but then it had been quite a stressful day at work…”

“Will these recordings stay on your website? Would be nice to keep coming back to them over  longer period than 7 days….”

Absolutely – my intention would be to open up access to the recordings and add to them in the future – it is so wonderful to have had such an enthusiastic response to the focus! – Sally x

 

Day 4 – Attention Recall

Welcome to Day 4 mindfulness practice – Attention Recall. The mind certainly likes to wander, gently bring it back….

Day 4 – How was it?

What are you saying about Day 4?

“Very good session today. The breathing routine is becoming easier to focus on and I felt very rested after the session…”

“Today’s session was a real struggle – I’m not really sure why. I actually felt quite tearful afterwards…”

I’m really pleased to have received this feedback… It is very normal to feel emotions rise during meditation and the important thing is not to try to suppress what the mind/body wants to process. Meditation practice provides the space and opportunity for release to happen, so notice how you feel, try and relax and allow your breath to guide you through the surfacing emotion! – Sally xx

“I really like this session – being brought back with the chimes. I have been doing my sessions before bed and I must say, they’ve have really helped with my sleep. I’m going to try and continue with them after the 7th day…”

 

Day 5 – Finding Space

Welcome to Day 5 mindfulness practice – Finding Space. Focus a little more intently and notice the space….

Day 5 – How was it?

What are you saying about Day 5?

‘Today I did a morning session. When I am simply following my breath, I find it hard to resist temptation to intervene with natural rhythm – as I want to extend it. In this latest session I noticed that by the the end of 10 minutes, my breath had naturally extended itself! I also found that the morning session really energised me – I whizzed around my domestic chores in no time…”

“I found today’s meditation very restful and calming. I look forward to these precious 10 minutes…”

“My motivation has hit rock bottom. Work is so stressful at the moment and I just feel too tired when I get home…”

Be assured that this is entirely normal and to be honest, totally understandable during these current times. Why not consider using the practice just before lights out at bedtime? These practices can be done lying down and it might feel like a nice way to ease some of the stress out of your working day and settle yourself for sleep… Sally xx

 

Day 6 – Box Breath

Welcome to Day 6 mindfulness practice – Box Breath. Powerful yet simple – balance the breath to reduce stress and find calm…

Day 6 – How was it?

What are you saying about Day 6?

“I love Box Breath – I think this has been my favourite practice so far , I felt so calm at the end of it….”

“Day 6? I haven’t made it past Day 3 yet – next week will be different, I’m going to start again tomorrow morning….”

“I found the “space” at the end of the exhalation in the Box Breath rather challenging – it set up a bit of a panic…”

“I must admit to giving the Box Breath a miss as I know from past experiences that anything involving breath holding makes me feel panicky…”

I too have experienced this same sense of difficulty in Box Breath and have found that the following considerations can help:-

  1. Focussing the breath in through the nose and softly out though the mouth..
  2. Exhale completely before starting the practice..
  3. Shorten the hold to a count of 2, then gradually build back up to 4..
  4. Relabel the word HOLD to PAUSE – surprising what a difference this can make..
  5. Avoid tightening the jaw or clamping the mouth shut on the hold..
  6. Allow the hold at the bottom of the exhalation to be a continuation of the exhalation..

Box Breath is really helpful in balancing the breath and helping to reduce anxiety – it has become one of my favourite breath practices and well used over the last 12 months – definitely one worth persevering with! Hope this helps… Sally xx

 

Day 7 – Letting Go

Welcome to Day 7 mindfulness practice – Letting Go. Labelling the distractions and sending them on their way….

Day 7 – How was it?

What are you saying about Day 7?

“I did this practice twice today. The first time I had to use quite a few ‘labels’ and on the second – noticeably less…”

“I honestly didn’t think I would make it this far and am now feeling sorry the week has come to an end. I am definitely going to try and keep it going, these 10 minutes during my day have made such a difference to my lockdown anxiety….”

Continuing The Practice

During the course of our 7 Days of Meditation together I have sought to share a variety of basic mindfulness practices with you, as an introduction to meditation. Many of you have reported back that you would like to continue with the practice, so I have decided to add a few ‘bonus’ practices to the collection and invite you to explore the idea of building a regular practice.

Let me know how you get on…..

Welcome to a Continuation of Practice session – enjoy a little more ‘quiet time’….