woman practicing guided meditation at home
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Me Time

Get Into a Healing Headspace With Free Meditations

Do you need to find self-love or forgiveness? Want to sleep better or ease pain? Here are simple ways to begin your practice.

After just 15 minutes, I feel refreshed and empowered. I’d been listening to the sounds of birdsong and flowing water, while a Black woman instructor guided me in a centering and relaxing body scan. Next, she offered a meditation created to foster self-love and appreciation of the ancestors. I’m moved, inspired — and in good company. In recent years, the number of Americans who report practicing meditation has tripled, from 4.1 percent in 2012 to 14.2 percent in 2017. Want to boost your confidence? Help heal your heartbreak? Inspire creativity? There is a session tailored for you. Some research suggests practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety and depression and insomnia, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

If a class setting isn’t for you, but you’d still appreciate some help, guided meditations can teach you how to meditate at your convenience.

During a guided meditation, you are taken step-by-step through the practice by a guide or instructor. Such meditations often have a specific purpose such as healing, improving relationships, achieving goals or relaxation. They use a variety of methods, including body scans, imagery and breathwork. You can find them via meditation websites, YouTube, podcasts and apps.

Meditation is a practice, so you should be patient with yourself. Tiffani Moore, a certified yin yoga instructor and meditation teacher based in New York City, explains, “It’s important to try a method that’s simple to start, that is, breath-based or mindfulness-based meditations. It’s easy to get frustrated and think ‘This isn’t working,’ however, the key to is to stick with it, ‘build the muscle’ and meet yourself with compassion in the process.”

Getting started couldn’t be easier, since even just one minute of daily meditation can help create a calmer state of mind, improve how we react to stress-inducing events and improve focus and memory. So dim the room, light a candle and find a comfortable seat. Here are some options to get you in the “om” zone.

One-Minute Meditation
You can do this meditation from Headspace anywhere to help you let go of stress and get centered. Find it at Headspace.com.

Body Scan Meditation
(3 minutes)
UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC) offers this meditation to relax tension in the body. Others on the site include a three-minute body scan to help you relax before bed. Find them at uclahealth.org/marc/mindful-meditations.

Guided Morning Meditation
(9:46 minutes)
If you’re looking for a more spiritual or religious meditation, try this one by life coach Angel Richardson. Incorporating gratitude, imagery and breath work, it is a calming, blessed way to start the day. It can be found on YouTube.

Meditation for Black Women/Self-Love & Healing
(12:47 minutes)
Young filmmaker Alyssa Gabrielle Mullings inspires self-appreciation and strength using affirmations spoken in a soft, calming voice. Soft music from Zion Trinity and Nicolas Dri accompanies her. Find it on YouTube.

A Meditation for Black Women
(14:00 minutes)
This is the birdsong and body scan meditation I mentioned earlier. It features inspirational words written by Monet Marshall and read by Nia Wilson, community activist and executive director of Spirit House art collective in Durham, North Carolina. Find it on YouTube.

Black Lives Matter Meditation for Healing Racial Trauma (17:00)
Psychologist/healer Candice Nicole uses guided meditations and loving kindness in her practice to reduce stress. This accessible meditation incorporates mindfulness, affirmations and compassion. You can find it on DrCandiceNicole.com.

Guided Meditations/The Chopra Center
(various durations)
Fifteen guided meditations range in focus from healing to gratitude to letting go of pain. Since I was experiencing some self-doubt and disappointment in the area of my career, I chose Awaken Your Creativity (13:28 minutes). It starts with a body scan to help bring energy and ease into the body, then offers guidance on opening the heart to limitless power and opening the mind to whatever the practitioner wants to manifest. Available at chopra.com/articles/guided-meditations.

Goddess: Guided Deep Forgiveness Meditation (Metta)
(17:33 minutes)
This is a serene, metta (compassion-based) intermediate/advanced meditation by Vivinne “Kala” Williams to help you let go of the past and inspire self-love and forgiveness. You can find it under Yoga Bliss Dance on YouTube and at YogaBlissDance.com, along with other meditations for mindfulness and unblocking chakras (energy centers). Williams also has a mini-course. Find out more at BlackGurlZen.com.

Black Girl Magic Meditation
(21:00 minutes)
This 21-minute meditation on empowerment is done with the appealing cadence reminiscent of spoken-word poetry by Mahogany Mercer. You can find other guided meditations to do in the morning, as well as meditations for forgiveness, energy, sleep and more on the Healing Sanctuary 444 YouTube channel.

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