If you've been curious about trying meditation, I have just the resource for you! It is an app called Insight Timer, and it is free (with paid options if you really want, though the free features are plentiful and extensive, and there are no annoying pop ups or irritating tricks/catches usually found in free apps). This post is not sponsored, by the way, I just really, really love Insight Timer and want you to feel the benefits!
My art practice has always been a very mindful one, between setting intentions and listening to the spirit of the land around me or the message my subjects want to say through my act of painting them. I have even occasionally sat down with a short meditation or journaling session right before starting to paint to get my mind in a deeply meaningful, focused place. (And I may be offering a class on this soon, too! More at the bottom on that.)
But in my non-art day-to-day, I had only occasionally tinkered with mediation. I first learned about guided meditation in graduate school, when a professor used it to begin our class sessions. I loved it so much for the way it calmed me and helped me feel grounded and centered, like a tree with deep, strong roots.
And that's the thing about meditation-- it eases stress, anxiety, and scatter-brained feelings. It can take as little as 2 minutes, and you don't have to do anything but have a bit of quiet.
In the past six months, several of the books I read talked about the benefits of the practice of meditation, and I felt pulled to try making it more of a habit. It was then that I noticed the icon for the Insight Timer app on my Apple Watch. I must have installed it back when I was timing sessions for when I was trying out Wim Hoff's cold showers or breathing practices.
What I didn't know, though, is that the app on the phone has a whole lot more than just the timer. The app is actually a full library of meditation tracks, music, breath work, yoga, and courses from hundreds of teachers around the world.
You can dive into it yourself, which I encourage you to do, but first I want to highly recommend the "Learn How To Meditate In Seven Days" challenge lead by Sarah Blondin. She makes it extremely easy to meditate through these 10-minute tracks. Her voice is the most calming I have ever heard, and she speaks so easily
such clear guidance. I have listened to some of her other tracks, as well, and I find her very soothing and, well, insightful. There are a few other teachers I've "followed" on the app, too.
I think this is such an easy tool that we can all use to help reduce our stress and slow down the pace of our days as the busy holiday season approaches, and I am thinking about tying it into a workshop or class for people who want to gather with me to practice a stress-reducing combination of meditation, art making, and journaling.
Leave a comment below if you use this app already or decide to give it a try or if you'd be interested in joining me for my stress-reducing art group!