How to break old habits and create new ones with meditation
Trying to lose weight, exercise more or start on a difficult project? As Lao Tzu says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Sometimes that first step doesn’t even require standing up.
Studies show that even 11 minutes a day of Kundalini meditation can boost mental health, promote mindfulness and increase gratitude.
MRI imaging has demonstrated that meditation changes your brain; specifically, the regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing and perspective taking.
This simple daily practice, when repeated for 40 days, may be exactly what you need to reach all your goals.
Why 40 days? Because it takes 20 days to break old habits, and 20 days to start new ones. There’s a reason Christians fast for 40 days during Lent, and Judaism teaches that those seeking answers to prayers should pray for 40 days in a row. Did you know that your skin cells renew, on average, every 40 days?
Meditation is easy. It’s quick. It works. And guess what? You can do it with your eyes closed.
Where to start? 3HO, an organization dedicated to sharing Kundalini Yoga around the world, offers dozens of meditations. Give this one a try.
1) Posture: Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position, with a straight spine and your hands gently resting on your knees. Allow your shoulders to relax and picture a string lifting your sternum. Close your eyes and let your breath slow and deepen. Tuck your chin slightly into your chest so the back of your neck stays long and does not round. You’ll feel a slight pressure in your throat.
2) Hands: Make a fist with your hands and extend your thumbs. Then place your thumbs on your temples and find the niche where the thumbs just fit. Now lock your back molars together so that your lips close. Keep your teeth gently pressed together throughout this exercise.
3) Eyes: Keep your eyes closed and focus them on the center of your forehead between your eyebrows (sometimes called the “third eye”). This takes a little practice, and you will feel a tension in the ocular nerve.
4) Mantra: Silently repeat the following mantra — Sa Ta Na Ma — while focusing on your third eye.
5) Time: Continue for anywhere from 3-31 minutes. It’s a powerful practice, and even three minutes is enough to see results.
If you can, practice this meditation every day for 40 days.
You’ve got this.
For more information on Kundalini Yoga and meditation and how it can benefit your health and wellness, visit 3HO.org.