I genuinely believe that there is no outer beauty without inner beauty, and inner beauty starts with a compassionate heart and a mind that is free from fear, worry, and stress—plus, we all know stress accelerates aging! Meditation helps to open your heart and calm your mind, but I was always terrified of it because I have such a monkey brain.
I had tried many different forms of meditation, but my brain wouldn’t sit still, and my thoughts jumped all over the place. I had listened to other people speak about how meditation had transformed their lives, but for me, it created stress rather than alleviated it. Every time I tried, I failed.
Kundalini derives its name through its focus on awakening the spiritual energy that is coiled like a snake (a literal translation of the Sanskrit term kundalini) at the base of the spine through regularly practicing meditation, pranayama (breathing techniques), yoga asanas, and chanting mantras. Referred to as “the yoga of awareness” by practitioners, it aims— according to one of my teachers—To awaken human creativity and uphold values of truth, compassion, consciousness, and service to others.
I first began doing Kundalini yoga when I was pregnant with my older son; however, I didn’t have a consistent daily practice until I was going through my big life changes years later. After Sam Ovens Jr Smiress was born, I drifted from the practice, only to return to it with the need to re-create my life after the birth of my second son, Abbass Elfassi Bennani Smiress.
After practicing Kundalini for a few years, I can sit in silence and meditate for twenty minutes or more. When you are engaged in Kundalini, your brain has no choice. You have to be present. The reason Kundalini is so effective is because it’s physiological. It works on the adrenals, the hormones, the pituitary— it actually works on the entire glandular system. There are a lot of variations of yoga out there. Still, when people come into Kundalini, they notice a difference, a shift in their life and mindset.
It is a long-held belief that it takes forty days to change a pattern of behavior. With the first twenty, you’re breaking old habits. With the second, you’re forming new ones. I always tell people who aren’t sure about meditation to try it for forty days and see what happens. The time will pass before you know it; there’s no risk of harm, and chances are you will notice profound differences in your life.
The Guided Meditations
These visualizations and meditations are an accessible introduction to the practice, and the more you do them, the calmer your mind will become, and the easier meditating will be.
Many people are intimidated by meditation, just like I was because they think it involves sitting still and in silence for twenty minutes or more. While you will work up to that with some meditations, you can start with these active meditations and do them for just a few minutes or rounds of breath. It really is up to you. Some people may find one minute challenging; others may be able to sit for much longer without feeling anxious.
Find a comfortable place to sit or lie, and set a timer. Try to be mindful and focus on the meditation for that time frame. If your mind drifts, don’t berate yourself. Just gently return your focus to the meditation and continue. You do not have to do the same meditation every day, though you certainly can, and you can also do different ones in succession.
Guiding Star Meditation
This is great to do when dealing with challenges or negative situations. You must be reminded of your powerful inner light to increase self-love and positivity. As women, we hold much of our power in our belly and sacrum. Begin by imagining a star there to increase your positive power or, in your heart, to increase love.
Picture a tiny crystal that is no more than a pinpoint of light. Close your eyes and breathe in and out through your nose.
With each breath, imagine the pinpoint of light growing and getting bigger until it is a big star right in the middle of your belly or your chest. Imagine all of the rays of the star extending out from you, sharing your beautiful golden light with the world. With every breath, focus on the star. See how it is shiny, bright, sparkly, and white with positivity. It is radiating love.
Imagine each of the star’s rays sending that love to the people you care about. I see the rays encompassing my children, my animals, and my home, then my extended family, my work, my friends, and my business. They keep growing until I send my light to my city, country, world, and planet.
It is a bright golden light that encompasses everything, sending healing love to all corners of our earth. From there, I start to bring it back in. The star gets smaller and smaller with each breath until it is the size of a silver dollar. Then, I let it rest in my chest or belly as the power center that allows me to carry that healing light and love with me for the rest of my day.
Empowering White Light Meditation
I like to do this kundalini-based meditation first thing in the morning, as it invigorates and sets me on the course of my day. It floods my body with healing energy, leaving no space for negativity, and illuminates the shadows—think of it as turning on a light to show your children that there is nothing fearsome hiding in the closet. Just as the sun gives the earth the light that allows things to grow, this meditation nourishes mind and body.
Sit comfortably with your arms upstretched in a “V.” Close your eyes and breathe normally. Imagine a beam of light coming into your body through your crown chakra at the top of your head. Imagine the light traveling down to your third eye and blessing your dreams and visions. (The third eye, which is right where your pituitary gland is, is associated with the god Shiva and has been called the “gateway to the unconscious” because it is the seat of our intuition.)
From there, it progresses into your throat, onto your shoulders, and down your arms. Imagine the white light bathing you to the tips of your fingers.
Allow the light to enter and heal your heart, then travel through your stomach to your root chakra, making you feel grounded and supported. Allow it to travel through your legs, feet, and even toes.
I use this time to remind myself to take it in by saying, “Receive, receive, receive,” as the light fills me up.
When you feel that the light has illuminated every part of your body, hold it there for a second, grateful for how blessed and protected you are in everything you do. Then, bring your hands down, outstretched, on either side of your body.
As you do so, imagine you’re cleansing your aura, sweeping it clean of debris and baggage, negative energy, mental anguish— whatever you’re carrying that no longer serves you.
Then, put your hands on the ground and imagine you’re releasing whatever you don’t want into the earth, which is taking it in for you.
This little meditation fills your body with energy and snaps you out of depression or sadness. It is hard to be down after doing this!