Every Monday we post on Instagram #MeditationMondays as a reminder to pause, breathe and reflect on uncomfortable feelings that rise during each day. Below are a compilation of our meditations up to January. Everyday is a practice.
Sending you positive vibes,
The Strange is Beautiful
Meditate tonight on that thing you’ve been waiting for the “perfect” time to start or to practice it until it’s “perfect” or have enough supplies or money so it will be “perfect.” A lot of times with anxiety, we are afraid to start our dreams because we are afraid of doing it wrong or badly. We want everything to be perfect so we have no chance of failure or embarrassment.
My dad sent me an article the other day that talked about how people with anxiety have trouble making decisions and trouble starting and finishing things because they are so afraid of picking the wrong decision or of the final product not being all they imagined. How do you overcome this? The article suggested to do it “badly.” Badly meaning, don’t second guess yourself, just do it and keep doing it and most likely you’ll find that you didn’t do it “badly” after all.
Make a goal tonight to do one thing this week that you have been putting off and to do it “badly.”
I did this earlier today, was so nice to close my eyes and reconnect with my feet to ground myself!
I switch often throughout different periods of my life on which aspect of yoga I emphasize more. When I first started I was focused on the physical practice, then when I had a bout of arthritis it was the meditative practice and now I have become more focused on pranayama, or breath work. ✨✨
For today’s #MeditationMondays, I will teach you how to practice Ujjayi breath. Ujjayi breath is something I go to whenever I’m anxious and is very easy to practice in public places. To practice, start by inhaling the word “HAAA” and then exhaling the word “HAAA” with your mouth open as you do it. Then repeat this but with your lips closed. ✨✨
You should be able to hear your breath a little bit, might sound a little like someone is snoring in their sleep haha. ✨
If you need a video to help you, search for one on Yoga Journal or through the Chopra Center, they have very good ones. ✨✨
Practice it for one minute, five minutes or ten minutes.
Practice it in your car, at the grocery store, when you’re anxious at your home, wherever.
This breath has always been very good to me, I hope it is good to you too. If it doesn’t feel good in your body or brings up more anxiety, of course stop and breathe normally. Different things work for different people so if this breath doesn’t help you, that’s okay, there’s many other pranayama techniques out there.
Sometimes a seated meditation can be very difficult. During those times, a meditation with movement can be helpful. Try focusing on your breath when practicing Trikonasana. Direct your breath into your belly on your inhales and out your legs on your exhales.
Walt Whitman loved to be in the outdoors. He was self-sustaining and rugged, having a deep appreciation of nature. And he was also gay. Many people saw these as opposite qualities, but here he gave himself permission to be exactly who he was, without apology for being a contradiction. He could be extroverted sometimes and also deeply introverted. In what ways do you feel you are a contradiction?
For me, it’s being a staunch feminist and loving male-centric 80s action movies. It’s being in the midst of healing and still stumbling. ✨✨
The Strange is Beautiful Staff
Tonight for #MeditationMondays, download our latest free zine in the link in our bio and create affirmation flags taught by Janie Johnson! This photo is an example of affirmations you can choose from and the other photo is an example page from the zine Affirmations are important to empower and re-ground yourself in times of anxiety, depression and self-doubt.
Honestly this can be hard for me sometimes because I’ll feel like a failure and fall into depression seeing the successes of my friends. Social media forces us to see updates on everyone’s life daily. It is important to practice being happy for the successes of others but Roxane Gay is right, it probably will be easier for you to be happy if your friends are happy and successful. Think about it. If your friends are doing well and you’re not, who will spot you on dinner or help you land a job in their company? Who will recommend you for projects you’d love to be a part of and invite you to events where you might meet your new best friend or your number one fan?
Your happy and successful friends will have your back and this in turn will make it easier for you to be happy. Also, life isn’t a competition. We’re all in this together (that phrase can never be said anymore without High School Musical playing can it? lol).
Meditate today on celebrating the successes of your friends. Send them love and hope for their growth and maintenance of their health as they continue their passions. Then, meditate on seeing yourself in your own success. If you feel jealously, envy or depression from seeing your friends in better places than you, ask yourself where do you want to be? Visualize yourself in that place.
After, send thanks to your friends for helping you recenter your goals and repat the mantra, “I am happy for my friends successes. I will get there too. I am motivated. I am determined. I will take action today and I will ask my friends for help to get me to (*insert your goal*).” Love, love, love to you all.
I spent most of my life wishing I had a better childhood. I wished my family of origin would become the warm, supportive family of movies and TV shows. It kept me hoping for something that would never happen. Gradually, I accepted that my family of origin would never become what I needed. After that, I gave myself permission to find that warm support in others. I married into a family of kind, gentle people; I surrounded myself with friends who genuinely care for me and accept me for who I am. I gave myself the environment I wanted most as a child. Has a negative past experience helped your present? How can we all stop wishing for a better past?
The Strange is Beautiful Staff
Comment your 5 things ✨✨
1. Finishing and printing zines.
2. Transcribing jazz songs.
3. Recording more.
4. Recording my friends.
Sometimes when I’m especially down (right now due to 4 weeks left of finals), I forget that there are so many beautiful things to look forward to if I can just get past this lump of caca.
It’s important to live in the ✨present, yes. But when you’re ✨present isn’t so great, it can be helpful to think of the bright future and view your present as a “tapas” or the hard work that purifies us, a concept the sage Patanjali talks about often. Of course, be aware of the difference between working through hard times and knowing when to leave a toxic situation. Breathe in your dreams and dream of them tonight, they are closer than you think.
Meditations written by Janie and Shannen.
Shannen Roberts (she/her) is the Peruvian-American, founding editor-in-chief of The Strange is Beautiful, musician and yogi.
Read her posts here.
Janie Contreras Johnson, The Strange is Beautiful’s Staff Community Outreach, is a Mexican-American feminist working constantly to overcome sexual and childhood trauma.
Read her posts here.