We know: Meditation is intimidating. Like, really intimidating. One study found that people would literally choose to shock themselves with jolts of electricity rather than sit alone with their thoughts.
But that knee-jerk reluctance may be due to the fact that a lot of people have misconceptions about meditation, says Black Girl In Om founder Lauren Ash. For instance, you can practice mindfulness without doing the whole sit-down-and-om thing most people think of as meditation. (That has benefits too, but it’s not your only option.) “When developing your wellness practice, give yourself permission to ask yourself what you need,” Ash explains. “A lot of us are not used to getting quiet and paying attention to our intuition. Give yourself time to listen.”
Here, Ash has created a 30-day mindful meditation challenge, with the goal of helping you to ease into a routine and to reap all of the benefits of this habit. You don’t need to follow these exercises to the letter. Think of them as suggestions, not rules. “Allow yourself to step into a practice that feels accessible and encouraging, rather than impossible,” Ash says. If going from never meditating to meditating every day feels overwhelming, try meditating once or twice a week. If five minutes feels too long, start with two. It’s not about checking off a task on this list every day, but rather developing a practice that works for you.