Destress, center and focus.
Having your cake and eating it, too, has always had a negative connotation to it, but in terms of meditation and yoga, I honestly feel like it's a suitable label for this combination!
I've been a dedicated yogi for years, but I didn't start meditating until recently. You can find a slew of reasons why meditation is good for you, but reaping the benefits isn't the hard part; getting started is!
Many people (myself included) avoid meditation because it's mistakenly thought you sit on a cushion for an hour without having any thoughts.
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This isn't true for everyone, and I highly recommend guided meditation to get you started. It eases you into the practice of meditation without overwhelming you and making you feel like you aren't capable.
There's no need to head to a studio or purchase expensive audio recordings to initiate a meditation practice.
The internet is a great resource for starting meditation, and I've found the following videos to be the best guided meditations on YouTube.
Learning how to meditate should be something you enjoy not stress over, so let these videos be your guide!
This is a guided meditation with imagery, and I highly recommend it if you find beautiful images soothing. The images flow through lovely views of nature with rich colors and floating clouds to whisk you off of your cushion and onto the wind.
The beginning of the video is narrated with directions on how to accomplish deep breathing. This lasts about six minutes, and the final 10 minutes of the video are quiet except for the accompanying sounds of the images.
"The Summer Meadow"
Are you reading this during the freezing depths of winter? Take an escape from the snow and bitter winds and float right back into summer for some extra sunshine and relaxation.
The beginning of the video reassures you that meditation is your time, and you should pick a time and place where you won't be disturbed. The narrator uses detailed imagery ("breathing in fresh, clean air") to guide you into relaxation and a state of meditation.
The instructions are simple enough that you can listen to them with minimal effort from a state of detached consciousness.
Surrender Meditation: Letting Go
Control freaks and type As, I'm talking to you right now. This meditation is designed to help you release your need of control by surrendering to the support of the universe.
Not only does this work to release your mind, the narrator helps you relax your entire body from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head.
He takes you through each individual body part, allowing you to trust your body and realize you don't need complete control to be happy and relaxed.
Meditation for Anxiety, Worry, and Urgency
A tight schedule is enough to rattle anyone's nerves. Remember that you don't need 30 minutes to an hour to have a relaxing meditation session. It's really the quality of your practice, not the quantity.
The narrator's voice is soft and smooth; it very much reminds me of a mother's nurturing voice when she's tucking her children into bed. I've sifted through a lot of meditation videos, and a "relaxing" voice on most people gets annoying quickly.
The background plays soothing music, and if you prefer to meditate with your eyes open, there are peaceful images that play on the screen.
My favorite line from the video: "The world will not come to an end because you're taking time for yourself".
Calming Warm Light: Spirit Healing Rainfall
I think if I could sleep in the rain without catching pneumonia, I would. The sounds, the smells, and the feeling of warm rain can't be beaten.
However, I'm not sure the logistics would make this very comfortable, so the next best thing is allowing stillness to wash over you like rainfall.
This particularly soothing meditation is best done right before you go to bed because it's supposed to create such an intense calming effect that you'll fall to sleep and experience deep, restful sleep.
The soft music is accompanied by the sound of rainfall, so you can pretend you're fulfilling my daydream of taking a nap in the warm rain.
Yoga Zen Breathing for Sleep
Everyone has days where no matter how tired you are, you simply can't fall asleep. Deep breathing meditations are some of the best ways to transition you into sleep. This meditation is designed for helping you fall asleep with deep breathing, stillness, and internal awareness.
The narrator guides you through your body using your breath and physical awareness to pull you away from consciousness. His voice is rich and velvety, and it's spiked with a British accent for extra relaxation.
The meditation is about 18 minutes long, and the narration lasts until minute eight before he lets you drift off into your own world with the soft strums of music in the background.
Guided Meditation for Anxiety and Stress
This guided visual meditation helps you visualize internal peace to relieve chronic states of anxiety and stress. After this meditation, I felt significantly less stressed and anxious over the daily issues that get me all worked up.
Setting an intention is something we all do during our yoga practice, but novice meditators often forget to set an intention for their meditation practice. You can certainly come up with your own, but this video gives you a pretty strong intention: peace.
The narrator uses colors to help guide you through 30 minutes of deep breathing. Having something specific to focus on while I'm meditating keeps my mind from wandering, as did the narrator giving you directions on how to breathe.
Chakra Cleansing Meditation
This is a great meditation for people who adhere to Eastern traditions of medicine, but it's simple enough that even more Western-minded folks find it useful.
If you're unfamiliar with chakras, you get a brief explanation of each chakra as the video progresses through each one. The video encourages you to breathe out negativity and inhale positivity, so I highly recommend this one if you're chronically negative.
The 5-Minute Miracle
Just like yoga, even a few minutes of meditation is enough to impact your day. This video gives you the benefits of a 30-minute meditation practice in just five minutes.
It smoothly guides you through a deep breathing exercise, encouraging you to visualize your exhalations pushing away negativity and distractions while your inhalations embrace your imagination and the perception of your circumstances.
In just five minutes, you'll not only be rejuvenated, you'll feel empowered and inspired to shift your perspective and reactions to the things you can't control.
Blissful Deep Relaxation
If you've been looking into meditation as a way to go so deeply into your subconscious that you are unaware fo your surroundings, this is a great place to get started as a beginner.
The video gets you so focused on your breath that you ignore the noise in your head and focus on the sound of the waves in the video and the accompanying sound of your breath.
I highly recommend this if you're looking for a mid-length practice (it's only a little over 18 minutes) that introduces you to a deep meditative state.
This is perfect for you, too, if you're looking to take a brief vacation from the chaos of your mind.
Meditation doesn't have to be sitting in silence in an empty room listening to the sound of chimes blowing in the breeze. You can meditate anywhere you want to with these guided meditations: in a coffee shop, in a park, or in the bathtub.
Regardless of where you meditate, you'll find you're leaving behind worry, anxiety, anger, and frustration in less than an hour.
I hope my collection of best guided meditations on YouTube are helpful enough to get you started on meditation and a path to more peace and less stress!