Beginning a Meditation Practice

I've been wanting to begin a meditation practice for a while now. We talk about how important it is to keep our bodies healthy, but we tend to forget that we need to keep our minds healthy. We can exercise our muscles daily, but we forget that our minds are just as important to exercise.

I am very new to meditation. My first question when I wanted to begin practicing was, 'How do I do it?' Do I think about something? Do I clear my mind? Do I chant? I looked into a couple guided meditation apps and found two that I've begun using to start me out.

The first one is called Take A Break. Its created by Meditation Oasis and is FREE on iTunes. There are two guided meditations - work break (7 minutes) and stress relief (13 minutes). You can add nature sounds to each practice, ocean, rain or stream or you can add their ambient music. Its great. I listen to the stress relieve practice a lot. I like how it guides you to freeing your mind - when thoughts enter, it helps you to acknowledge those thoughts and then let them go. Quieting a racing mind has always been a challenge of mind and this app has been a great help with that.

The second app is more interactive. Transform Your Life is an app that has an exercise for each day of the year. Its based on the book by Cheri Huber and it includes inspirational quotes and daily assignments to reflect on each of those quotes. For example, today, April 30th's inspiration is:

"Don't change the world, change the worlds." - Francis of Assisi

And the daily assignment is to consider what worlds you would like to change.

Its easy and simple and makes you take a minute to reflect inward and outward.

I have a few other apps I'm trying out and will update with my findings after I've given them a go. Stay tuned!