Mental health assumed enormous proportions in the year of the pandemic as we all struggled to maintain ‘normalcy’ despite the unrecognizably altered lifestyles. In light of this, the practice of meditation became a source of solace for many in an unprecedented year (even simply judging by the surge in downloads of meditation apps). Not surprising really, considering that the benefits of meditation are numerous – calmness, creativity, and centeredness, to name just a few. 

However, if you are a beginner or have not had much success in continued practice of this mental wellness tool, a meditation challenge can really help you get started. About 1 million people (yes, you read that right!) have done this 21 day Meditation Challenge

What is a meditation challenge?

It’s a commitment to meditate every day for a certain interval of time every day for a fixed number of days. It gives you a practical experience of what meditation is like and how it can benefit you. It helps make meditation a part of your daily routine till it becomes an indispensable part of your life. You can take these challenges on your own at home. Simply find a quiet corner, and play the videos to start off on your journey towards relaxation!

Why a meditation challenge? 

The number of apps and programs for meditation might leave you with too much choice without a clear sense of discernment. What a meditation challenge does is it gives a short yet complete experience of meditation. And the nice thing is that you are not alone. You have the guidance you need when entering new territory. All you have to do is sit and follow simple instructions.

Challenges help you stay energetic and interested in life. They also sharpen your thinking skills, says this Harvard blog.

Creating a life-changing habit

If you are not a regular meditator or are just not able to settle into a meditation pattern, it might help for a coach to handhold you by drawing your attention to the subtle positive changes you are experiencing. The gentle steering becomes a motivating factor to continue this holistic practice.

Repeated actions encourage habit formation

The day-by-day, step-by-step process of the meditation challenge will help you get into a pattern that you are likely to continue even after the challenge is over. Online meditation challenges also inject a sense of friendly competition that motivate people to join it. 

The length of time it takes for a new habit to become a part of your life can be as short as 18 days according to a 2010 study in the European Journal of Social Psychology. The good news is that missing a day doesn’t affect progress. A 21 day challenge can be just the impetus you need to make meditation a lifetime practice.

Doing nothing is an art 

Meditation is the art of doing nothing,” says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. However, sitting in one spot for a length of time is not as simple as it sounds. When you actually try it, you will get in touch with your fidgety self. You may feel restless. Guided meditations in the online meditation challenge help settle both your physical activity as well as emotional turbulence.

Choosing your own hours

Many of us like to start spiritual practices like meditation on our own, so we have the freedom to choose the time and length of the meditation sessions. This is one of the benefits of a meditation challenge. 

Gurudev has designed just such an effortless meditation session each day for 21 days. As you sit and follow the simplest of instructions, observe and delight in your seamless transition from Day 1 to Day 21! Meditation becomes a part of your daily life, as much as brushing your teeth.

Here are Gurudev’s insights on meditation:

“Meditation is de-concentration. It is the art of deep relaxation with wakefulness. It is what happens when you are relaxed. The physical being is relaxed while the mind is alert.” 

How to prepare for the 21 day Meditation Challenge

1. Before you meditate, just tell yourself these three golden rules:

For these few minutes,

  • I want nothing 
  • I am nothing 
  • I do nothing

2. Close your eyes and follow the instructions.

3. Keep the head and spine erect but body relaxed.

4. Smile! Have a pleasant expression on your face as you meditate.

5. You can loosen your body with a few simple bends, stretches and shakes before you move into stillness. Can be as short as two minutes.

6. Now, you are ready to repose in silence, rest in the infinity. 

What to expect with the 21 day meditation challenge

Starting with a short 10-minute meditation for those who are new to meditation, Gurudev takes you through 21 days of complete relaxation that rests every cell of your body – destressing you in and out. You take your attention from the outside world to the world within, becoming aware of your innate positivity and joy. In this space, you feel gratitude, abundance, and expansion of consciousness, as you peel the layers of stress within you, and blossom with a smile!

Do 21 days sound like a lot? 

When you think about 21 days, it feels like a long time and yet, 1 million people have already taken up this challenge! Think of it as a gift of 20 minutes to yourself. And every day you complete, you are that much closer to achieving your goals. Those who start the challenge wait eagerly for the next day’s challenge. Because it is such a feel-good practice that moves you from effort to effortlessness! And, more importantly, one that contributes to good health.

Are you still worried you won’t keep the commitment to yourself?

Here are some ideas from experts that will help you stick to this challenge: 

  • Make it a family affair – 20 minutes of quality family time. 
  • Post photos of yourself in the meditation challenge on social media – the comments you receive will egg you on. 
  • Congratulate yourself on every successful day of meditation – express gratitude to yourself.
  • Come back to the challenge even if you have missed a day or more. The point is to not give up. 

Listen to this voice of someone who attempted the challenge:

2 days before the start of the challenge, I was in the Middle East in a war-affected zone, and I had a breakdown. Meditation helped me a lot and came as a blessing through these tough times connecting me to positivity. I have now become extremely responsible about my body and my life. I hope meditation continues beyond the challenge and forever in my life.

-Nikita, Mumbai

Wherever you go during the day, whatever work you take up, all creatures – animals, birds, and human beings come back home. This is where Gurudev’s 21 day meditation challenge will take you – HOME!

So, what do you say? Are you up for the 21-day meditation challenge? You can try each day of the meditation challenge independently but we would suggest that you take every step of the whole journey. So you can feel holistic wellness. 

Based on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s talks during the 21 day Meditation Challenge