Coloring Meditation

"Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet."
Paul Klee

I have always been a doodler. As a kid, I loved to color. In school, the corners of my notes always held little drawings or patterns. My journals are covered in a vast array of sketches and designs. It always seemed like a great way to settle an anxious mind and help me let go of stress.

Lately, there has been a trend encouraging both young and old alike to sit down and color! Its likely that your last experience coloring was as a child, but research shows that coloring has a similar effect on the mind that meditation does. It quiets the mind, relieves stress, and lowers anxiety.

Some days, I enjoy relaxing with a cup of tea and a few pages to color in. Other times, I love having a bunch of blank sheets available for friends to come gather around the table and get to coloring with me! Can you say COLORING PARTY? Whoo-hoo!

Remember: there is no wrong way to color! Find a quieter time, possibly with some relaxing music, and let it flow! Inside the lines or out, let intuitive and creative self take over! Many people like to color mandalas, whose sacred geometry patterns can be very zen and relaxing. However, any coloring will work! Not surprisingly, adult coloring books are becoming incredibly popular, and you can find a large variety of beautiful designs and themes. Check out your local book store for a few fun coloring books, or look online for books and printables!

Take advantage of these short, winter days, and instead of reaching for the remote, reach for a colored pencil!

Have you jumped on the meditative coloring train? What are your favorite materials to use?

5 Essential Meditation Tips for Beginners

“The whole of meditation practice can be essentialized into these 3 crucial points: Bring your mind home. Release. And relax!”  
Sogyal Rinpoche

When my brain starts getting a little frazzled, I can usually trace it back to not meditating enough (aka I've been a lazy bum that day and pressed snooze instead). Therefore, whenever my friends and loved ones are stressed, my suggestions usually involve a little meditation to recenter themselves.

However, sometimes they express a little hesitation at the idea for a variety of reasons, like they are intimidated, unsure how, or believe that it is solely religious based. To which I say: Don't be silly! Meditation is for everyone, regardless of experience or religion. Studies have shown the positive effect meditation can have on your life, so there is no time like the present to begin!

If you don't know where to start, take a peek at these suggestions:

1 - Carve out a little time. Set aside a specific time everyday to sit and meditate. Whether it is 5 minutes in the morning before work, or 20 minutes after dinner every night, honor it as a time for meditation and nothing else.

2 - Establish a ritual. Light a candle. Create a meditation corner that you can retreat to. Acknowledge the positive change you are bringing to your life, and make it a special moment.

3 - Start out easy. In the same way that you wouldn't run a marathon without any training, you shouldn't begin meditating and sit for two hours. Meditation is mental training, and nobody gets monk-like meditation power overnight. Start off with 5 minutes (or even lower if needed) and work your way up over time.

4 - Focus on your breath. Allow it to come naturally and feel your body relax further with each inhale and exhale.

5 - Experiment. There is no wrong way to meditate, and what works for one person might not for another. There are numerous techniques you can try. Adopt a mantra and use a mala to keep track. (Learn how to use a mala here.) Use an app to take you through a guided meditation (I like Headspace). Go into nature and find a quiet place to listen to the calm rustle of the trees and the hum of the life around you. Listen to a singing bowl CD. Attend a local meditation group. Anything works!

Do you have any meditation techniques or routines that you follow?