21-Day Meditation Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 13

Day 1: Lets Begin

20 min - Practice


Find a comfortable seat and join me for our opening meditation. Today we will begin by doing a body scan and bringing awareness to the physical body to begin to drop in. We will continue moving toward the subtle by noticing the emotions, the mind, and the energy before using the breath as our tool to focus. Remember: simple doesn't always mean easy. Keep showing up!
What You'll Need: No props needed


Read Full Transcript

Hey, everyone, welcome to day one of your meditation. I am so excited to start this series with you. So we're going to begin seated in a comfortable position. I like a kind of a lightly crossed leg shape, and this height bolster works for me, but you will have chosen your appropriate support. Eyes releasing down comfortably so there's no undue pressure in your lower body.

And then now I want you to sit really tall. So most of us have a habit of sinking and slouching. So sit up nice and tall and place your hands comfortably. Could be on your thighs, palms down, could be palms up, maybe cupped at your center, whatever is most comfortable. Now I want you to close your eyes and begin to relax.

And simply with your awareness, with your mind and your attention, follow the guidance of my voice. Bring your awareness down into the base of your body, feeling your feet, and whatever portions of your feet are touching the floor or a prop or whatever it is you're sitting on. Feel your feet relax and ground down. And then just slowly move your attention up your legs so you start to sense and feel your shins and your calves and the bones of the lower legs. And also a feeling of grounding and descending.

And then allow your attention to just gently move up the legs and across the knees and into your thighs. Feeling your thigh bones descending and your thigh muscles softening. Those legs that work hard to carry you around all day now get to take rest and descend. And if there's anything uncomfortable happening in your legs, your shins, your thighs, just make a gentle rearrangement and begin to relax again. Keep your attention up the thighs and into the hip sockets and into the pelvis.

And feel your sitting bones, those bones at the base of the pelvis, grounding, descending into whatever support you're seated on. Pelvis actually translates from Latin as bowl. So your pelvis, like a bowl, we want to align. So lift your attention from your sitting bones up a little higher and move the top of your sacrum in. And your sacrum is just above your tailbone, it's below your lower back, several vertebra fused together, kind of a wedge shape.

Move the top of your sacrum slightly forward towards your navel center. This just brings a little bit of curve into your lower back. So having a moment to sense and fine tune that positioning as you align your pelvic bowl. Notice your belly and if there's any tension or holding or gripping through the abdominal muscles, the navel center, even the digestive organs. Instead relax.

There's no need to hold or grip, simply relax. So both the lower back and the belly are two common places of tension. So creating a little bit of ease through the navel area, low back, releasing tension, letting it go. We're going to slowly journey up the spine. So from the sacrum through the lower back, the lower back is naturally concave, moves inwards, lordotic, again to lift your attention, almost like you're climbing up each vertebra.

Lift your attention up your spine. And as you do that, a soft lift as you move upwards mentally and physically. So continue to climb up, up, up out of the lower back into the upper back. Climb up between the scapula, the shoulder blades. And as your mind is going up those vertebra, notice and allow for the shoulders to release down.

Keep going up, up, up, up your vertebra until you reach the lower portion of your neck. So you're moving from your upper back and in towards your neck. Take a moment to feel this whole region of your body. Gently align the shoulders, drawing them back. You could imagine they sync up with your ears.

Shoulder blades are drawing down gently as you soften. And you're observing the very base of your neck. Begin to go up the back of the neck. And this is where the neck moves inward again, that concave or lordotic curvature. Just go up until you feel the base of your skull.

And then continue to lift your attention, moving along the back of the skull, traversing up until you reach the crown of your head. And then pause when you get to the very top of your head, feeling a sense of lift that goes even beyond the physical, beyond the crown. So you've just moved from the grounded, comfortable base, lower body, your feet, your legs, your sitting bones, all the way up the vertebra, creating awareness and alignment and lift. Now simply begin the journey back down the front of the body, relaxing your forehead free of tension. Relaxing your eyes soft behind the lids.

Relaxing your mind, any kind of internal mental gripping soften. And continue to move down, letting go of any kind of hardness or expression across your face. Relax the inside of the mouth, teeth can come together but without tension and the tongue can rest at the top of the mouth. Keep moving down, softening your throat, serving the chest, a gentle widening through the collarbones, sense of space and ease across the chest. Just keep going down, down across the ribs, front of the body, the front of the torso, all the way back once again to the navel center.

If there's any build up of tension there, relax your belly again and return again to your foundation. Feel that the sitting bones are grounded and heavy. Feel the thighs soft and moving downward through the shins and calves and feet and toes. Now we are probably much more embodied and present, aware of the physical but also relaxed. Now I want you to pay attention to what's happening inside of the shape.

Sometimes meditation is challenging because it takes us towards ourselves. So I want you to be aware of any emotional content that's present today as you're quiet and still and here. Whatever might be there, it's all part of your process. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's joyful, sometimes it's scary, sometimes it's sad. Just without clinging on, notice the truth right now.

Having any present emotional content. Now I want you to be aware of your mind. What is your mind state like right now? Is it clear, is it sharp, is it foggy or scattered? Without needing to make it anything other than it is, just notice your current mental condition.

What is the quality of your attention right now? And even more subtle perhaps, now I want you to pay attention to the quality of your energy. So as you're here relaxed and yet centered and you feel that pulse of prana it's called in Sanskrit, what does your energy feel like today as you get still and quiet? Is it soft? Is it low?

Is it high? Does it feel stagnant or stuck or radiant or expansive? Come aware of the truth of your energy right now. Now I want you to pay attention to your breathing and sometimes the moment we become aware of the breath it suddenly feels awkward. Resist the urge to change your breath in any way, to try to breathe deeper, to try to slow the breathing down, actually stay uninvolved in making your breath happen.

Just observe until you literally feel your breath go back to its kind of uninhibited rhythm. And every time a thought enters or you catch yourself mentally somewhere else, gently come back to observing your natural breathing and observing what the breath feels like today. Just like our emotional content is changing and our mental state is changing and our energy is changing, so too is the breath. Some days it's really easy, some days it's soft, some days it feels kind of stuck or challenging. Simply observe your current state of breath.

We're going to stay in this observation process, we're going to use our breath now for the remaining portion of our meditation, we're going to use our breath as our tool. Any time you catch yourself distracted, remember the breath, return to the breath. Seeing if you can stay with the experience of natural inhalation and natural exhalation. Sometimes after sitting a while, we begin to sink or collapse. We're going to collapse physically towards the mat or the floor.

So without a lot of rearranging, I just want you to be sure that you're lifting up tall, not settling down into your lower back. Finally find that internal lift all the way through the crown, stay relaxed, face, eyes, jaw, shoulders, belly, keep returning to that observation of inhalation and exhalation. It's simple but it doesn't mean it's easy. We'll be here just a little bit longer. Keep using your tool, keep noticing the flow of natural breathing, nothing else to do other than watch your breath.

Now we're coming towards the end of our meditation before we close our time together. Once again I want you to observe current emotional content, anything you're feeling, the level of emotions now, overall feeling, tone, mood, state. And then observe quality of mind, what is your attention like, what's happening mentally now, and energy state, what does your energy feel like at this time, what is the quality of prana pulsing through you. And last but not least this time spiritual awareness, whatever you call it, however you experience it, deepest part of yourself on the inside, taking a moment to recognize. Let's bring our palms together at the heart, Namaste.

Thank you so much for practicing with me, good job day one. I'll see you on the meditation cushion tomorrow.


Christina B
Good morning Nikki,
happy to be on board.
Question: I think I sit much straighter now than I normally would, knees on the floor etc. However, today my right buttock and entire leg went to sleep (got very tingly). What could I try to do differently?
Less motivated and more challenged than I thought after the 1st day. Committed to continue. Lights and Love
Ben R
1 person likes this.
Miigwech(thank you in Ojibwe). I thoroughly enjoyed your meditation session. I am 67 years old and I am trying to establish a regular meditation practice. I look forward to continuing. Thank you.
Nikki Estrada
Christina somehow I am just seeing your comment. Try sitting on a little more height (add another blanket or boster) or put something under your knees to reduce the pressure. let me know if that helps
1 person likes this.
lovely - many thanks thanks - good to start with the posture - great to move into the breath via the body scan - liked the pace and duration - also like the idea of bookending elements with checking the quality of emotional, energetic and thoughts. also worked for me to link with a brief bit of physical yoga first. great stuff.
1 person likes this.
i still like it!
Glenford N
2 people like this.
Lovely practice. It felt so easy and relaxing. I've just completed the 10 day meditation challenge and Im combining this with the 30 day yoga challenges. Bliss. Thank you so much. Namaste
Jackson H
1 person likes this.
Looking forward to seeing what this does to calm the restlessness of my thought processes, and helping me to increase my focus. Thanks a lot
Kate M
2 people like this.
I've started a regular morning sitting practice and am using this show to try and establish a little sit in the evening. Excellent start! Thank you.
Lara W
1 person likes this.
I’m starting this meditation challenge to establish a daily practice. I love Nikki’s calm voice and the way she explains each part of the process. Very calming and relaxing.
Nikki Estrada
Lara thank you! i am so glad i can support your daily meditation practice ❤️
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