There seems to be a growing trend in meditation. Nearly every health blogger, yogi, and wellness coach out there has been preaching about the importance of keeping a daily meditation practice. And with good reason. Health benefits of regular meditation include:

    • Increased immunity
    • Emotional balance
    • Increased fertility
    • Reduced stressed
    • Relief from IBS
    • Relief from inflammation

Like most things that are worth our while, meditation requires discipline, patience, and persistence, and is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Take it from me. Just about every time I try, I find it difficult to stay focused on my breath, and call it quits within 10 minutes. (All the more reason for me to keep trying.)

While I haven’t exactly given up, I realized after a recent trip to Maui and Kauai, that everyone is different, and perhaps sitting in the lotus pose listening to chant music isn’t the only way to meditate. At least not for me, anyhow…

While in Hawaii, my husband and I became particularly fond of the local music, and were quick to download a few the islands’ most played onto our iPhones.

But what excited me most about the music was the unique, sweet, and soothing sound of the ukulele. Inspired to learn how to play myself, I purchased an adorable “uke” from an eccentric musician from Lahaina who referred to himself in the third person as “Mikey boy”.

Having dabbled with the guitar in my teens, I’ve been finding it fairly easy to learn the ukulele, and for the past several days have been working towards perfecting “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

I realized, that while I’m playing (even if it is different combinations of the same six chords over and over), I’m completely relaxed, without giving the outside world a second thought.

My mind is clear, focusing only on getting the strumming pattern right or transitioning from chord to chord. And in these moments, I feel calm, light, and completely oblivious to the clock, or my to do list. Once my fingers have had their fill, I feel centered, happy, and ready to tackle the rest of my day.

For me, playing the ukulele is just as good as any meditation practice out there, and also a great way to bring the laidback vibe of Hawaii to our New York City apartment.

For others, taking deep breaths throughout the day, reciting affirmations, practicing yoga, keeping a gratitude journal, gardening, or painting can all be effective forms of meditation. (And for those who have already mastered an entire hour of stillness in the lotus pose, please teach me how!)

Do you have your own meditation practice? If not, in what ways can you take time to turn inward, clear your head, and bring more peace and calm into your daily life?


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