“Sense the breath.” Sip it in, pause, sip again.
Sweeten with the mantra “Ham”  (pause) “Sa”. Sip again.
 In late July I realized I needed to bring a little more peace and focus into my life. My nights had less sleep, I was less than patient with my girls and concentration was difficult. I knew that I was craving something. Was meditation it?
 I decided to investigate the vast buffet of meditation practices. It was at this same time that Yoga Journal introduced their 30 day Meditation Challenge. The Yoga Journal program was broken down into 4 separate weeks; each week included a 5 minute yoga sequence warm-up, a new type of meditation and a daily email with Q&A’s and brief descriptions. The biggest challenge was finding time to sip my cup! It was summer – which means no set schedule in our household.  By setting the alarm for 6:30 a.m. each morning, I was able to find a quiet time to practice.  After that, all I needed was a small pillow or blanket and a journal.  
Honestly, I didn’t follow the daily meditation practice as prescribed by Yoga Journal exactly.  And you know what, I didn’t get upset, or caught up in not following the program to a tee.  If I was practicing their Day 6 on my Day 12, so what. The very same day I began this journey, I noticed my outlook was brighter, my interpersonal relationships more spacious and I felt more at  ease with myself.  It didn’t quite hit me at first that it may have been the after effects of meditation until the next morning’s practice.   Even with inconsistent practice, I felt the benefits of meditation. Imagine what it would be like, if I practiced everyday!  
My favorite part was to journal afterwards.  I didn’t rush through the practice to get there but I liked putting down the most immediate effects on paper.  I know now that there is no one set way to meditate, it’s more about what suits you at the time. 
So 55 days later, I am all caught up to Yoga Journals Week 3. (Note the math!) I have even incorporated some of the “Sensing the Breath” and short meditations into my classes.  I plan on continuing this journey and finding which buffet of meditation choices fits me at that moment.  At least now I will know what is on the menu.

Dr. Weil’s 8 Reasons to Meditate

1. Helping lower blood pressure
2. Decreasing heart and respiratory rates
3. Increasing blood flow
4. Enhancing immune function
5. Reducing perception of pain
6. Relieving chronic pain due to arthritis and other disorders
7. Maintaining level mood
8. Bringing awareness and mindfulness to everyday aspects of life

See more Dr. Weil on his daily blog Dr. Weil.com