We’ve gathered 10 mindfulness practices created by women to help you live a generous, compassionate, healthy life.
1) Loving-Kindness with Sharon Salzberg
Loving-kindness meditations point us back to a place within, where we can cultivate love and help it flourish. Developing care toward ourselves is the first objective, the foundation for later being able to include others in the sphere of kindness. Here’s a simple explanation of the loving-kindness practice, which involves silently repeating phrases that offer good qualities to oneself and to others:
2) Mindful Conversations with Lili Powell
Practicing mindfulness in social interactions isn’t a solo pursuit, or still, or quiet. By definition, you have to be with others, you have to act, and you have to communicate. So what’s a well-meaning practitioner to do? You can get started with these simple practices for cultivating poise in crucial conversations. Start by practicing the following exercises solo one at a time, then graduate to putting them together in conversations with others:
3) Loving Connection with Tara Brach
Tara Brach and her husband, meditation teacher Jonathan Foust, have developed a regular practice for keeping the lines of communication open and maintaining a deep, loving connection. They engage in the practice two mornings a week. Here’s how Tara suggests going about it.
4) Meditation on Your Self-Critical Voice with Diana Winston
There seems to be this epidemic of self-judgment in the world, where people are often self-critical and have a lot of self-hating voices in their heads. Self-compassion is not the build-up of self-esteem, because the build-up of self-esteem tends to lead people to need a lot of external validation to feel ok. Instead, self-compassion is the idea that even with all of our flaws, we can still care about ourselves, that we can make mistakes, that we can screw up, that we can have problems, but we’re still fundamentally a good human being.
5) Radical Listening with Mirabai Bush
We give very little attention to learning to listen, learning to really hear another person or situation. Yet think back to the moments with other people when our hearts were engaged and we felt fed by being together. In those moments, weren’t we hearing one another? Here’s how mindful listening leads to real change:
6) Loving-Kindness for Mothers with Sona Dimidjian
The loving-kindness practice that taught in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy with moms who have a history of depression has been a touchstone for many during hard times. We share a portion of the guided meditation here with you with our wish that you and your children are well and live with ease:
7) Breathing Compassion In and Out with Kristin Neff
The good intentions cultivated by loving-kindness meditation lead to more supportive self-talk and better moods. You can hold your own suffering fully, and also hold the suffering of this other person. Ride it like the waves on the ocean—in and out.
8) Taming Shame with Patricia Rockman
Becoming familiar with a difficult emotion means getting interested and curious about it like you might do when visiting a new city. Take it slow, uncovering new “territory” a bit at a time instead of trying to get to know it all at once. As you do, you learn that you can sit with uncomfortable feelings and that they will eventually pass. Over time, you develop resilience, self-knowledge, and trust in yourself—the best antidotes to the self-judgment that shame inspires.
9) A Meditation for Moving on from Holly Rogers
Sometimes there are things in our life that we’re not crazy about, that are quite unpleasant, very distressing even—and yet there’s nothing we can do about it. And in those moments acceptance, acknowledging what is true without adding on layers of “I don’t want this to be true,” “It’s not fair,” “I don’t like this,” “Why did this happen to me,” can help us get through these difficult times with more ease.
10) A Body Scan with Elaine Smookler
When we can notice what we feel without having to hold on to it, we can let it go and return to the present moment over and over. And that feels damn good.