Viviane Khounlavong: Finding spring renewal through meditation

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 31, 2024

Spring has sprung. Once again, a new season of life and abundance is upon us. 

This time of year, when trees start to spread their branches, plants start to take root and birds fly back home represents new life, beauty and abundance in all forms. 

Much like nature, humans are always seeking growth, positive change and happiness. 

Email newsletter signup

Each spring, my morning meditations get a little more profound and consciousness reaches a different and more soulful level. Perhaps it’s because we take refuge in winter to seek warmth, comfort and reflection in our hibernation from the outside world. 

To me, when the flowers start to bloom, my heart and mind opens up to accept more love and light, too. Through the years, mindful meditation has shown me the path to patience and wisdom. Although meditation has been a focal point of my entire life because of my southeast Asian culture, it wasn’t until my late thirties that I truly found the real benefits in the practice of stillness. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, on a physical level, meditation promotes brain health, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and can even reduce the symptoms of chronic illness. 

On an emotional level, meditation teaches us compassion for ourselves and others, calm through difficult situations, better emotional awareness and attention and so much more. 

So how does one start their own meditation practice? 

There are a variety of apps such as Calm and Headspace that can get you started with guided meditations and soundscapes. However, I normally tell my clients that guided meditations should only be a textbook outline to creating your own visual/mental practice. After all, meditation is ultimately about inner reflection of finding one’s true self and value. 

The late Buddhist monk and author, Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” Only you know what you need to free yourself from to reach full contentment in life. 

Here are a few thoughts and suggestions I’ve learned that has helped me to embrace my own journey to enlightenment. 

Find a comfortable seat. You shouldn’t feel physical pain when starting your practice. 

Lay down if you need to. Feel your physical body. Scan the body from head to toe. Feel where you are holding onto stress and tension and then breathe it away. 

Recognize your breath. Feel each inhale and exhale. Inhale through the nose for four seconds and exhale through the mouth for four seconds. Increase those seconds as needed. Repeat until you begin to feel a bit more relaxed and your heart rate begins to slow down. 

Keep it simple. Go into your practice with a focus. For instance, you may say, “today may I find healing,” or “show me the ways to control my anger,” or “may I allow my heart to find love.” Your focus can change each day or throughout the day.

Give yourself grace. As humans, we all have a “monkey mind” or busy mind to a certain degree. It is not uncommon to find it difficult to turn off your thoughts. If you find yourself thinking about your to-do list, what time to pick up the kids, what your friends are up to; take a deep breath, recognize the thought and then breathe it away. If it’s something that you cannot address right now, let it go. 

Close your practice with gratitude. Whenever you are ready, take one more deep breath in and as you exhale bring attention to your heart. Then gently begin to open your eyes and smile. Regardless of your experience, give thanks to yourself and your higher power for whatever messages or visions you may have received. 

Create a weekly practice first. Do not set time goals or limits. A five-minute meditation is better than none. Allow it to flow however you may need each day.

Take note of what kind of thoughts and emotions show up. Meditation can help us all reach a level of consciousness that creates a more valuable life for ourselves and the people we care about. We learn to let go of what doesn’t truly matter and what we can’t control. Once we’ve made space in our hearts and minds, you can then choose to fill that space with positive love and energy. 

It is spring cleaning for the soul. 

Viviane Khounlavong is an Experienced 800 Level Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT800) and Yoga Therapist, Meditation Instructor, Level 4 Reiki Master, Holistic Wellness Coach and Certified Personal Trainer.

Viviane Khounlavong is an Experienced 800 Level Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT800) and Yoga Therapist, Meditation Instructor, Level 4 Reiki Master, Holistic Wellness Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer.