Between work, home life, and our experiences as womxn of colour (just to scratch the surface and name a few), we have multiple things at any given moment occupying our minds. Add in our mental health and our capacity to weather these storms, and our minds and hearts are overwhelmed.
Meditation is a useful tool to be at peace with our thoughts, and in turn, find peace within ourselves. From having an immediate effect on our physiological responses to stressful situations (anxiety, anger, or sadness, for example), to training our minds for long-term calm, taking a few minutes for conscious breath and quiet introspection is a powerful addition to our self-care.
We spoke with Dora Kamau, a meditation teacher and wellness artist based in British Columbia, who started her mindfulness journey to help with depression and anxiety. She now helps other women from marginalized communities find the same strength and calm through meditation.
These are Dora’s guiding principles to aid in beginning your mindfulness journey.
Meditation is intimidating, especially when we haven’t taken the time to sit beside our thoughts and be with them, perhaps ever. Start with practices of 3-5 minutes and work your way up. Jumping right into 30 minutes can be off-putting and challenging; we have to be gentle with ourselves and ease our minds into it.
“Jumping right into 30 minutes can be off-putting and challenging; we have to be gentle with ourselves and ease our minds into it.”
Schedule this moment for you.
Just like going to the gym, meditation is like training a muscle: we have to be consistent to build strength and endurance. So put deliberate time aside; ensure the time and space for 3-5 minutes of meditation every day. Whether right upon waking or just before sleep, those few minutes are wholly for ourselves.
Do what feels good for you.
Meditation conjures up images of sitting still and silent, and while this is one method, it’s not the only way. Customize the experience and make meditation a practice to look forward to according to your personal taste and preference. When Dora does this for herself, she views her practice with welcoming optimism, telling herself, “I get to see what’s going on in my mind today. I get to better my mental well-being.”
Incorporate tools that support your focus.
Remember, meditation doesn’t look like just one thing. Not sure where to start? Forego sitting in silence and try guided meditation. Or perhaps keep your eyes open and focus on the flame of a candle. Try finding a calming image and use that as an anchor. All of these different ways to meditate are available to us, and are only limited by our imagination.
Here are some resources to start you on your meditation practice:
Some meditation apps recommended by our community:
Liberate: specifically created for BIPOC, with voices and teachers from many backgrounds and disciplines
Black Girl In Om: Creating space for holistic wellness and inner beauty for womxn of colour
A list of 20 tips for when you’re just starting out with meditating.