Celebrating International Women’s Day: 10 Meditations by Powerful Women

We gathered 10 of the most popular women-led mindfulness practices led by the powerful women of the mindfulness movement.

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, in this article, we shine a light on a small fraction of the women who are making the world a better place by sharing their deep wisdom and their mindfulness practice. Here are 10 of the most popular episodes of our podcast, 12 Minute Meditation, that are led by women.

10 Guided Meditations Led By Powerful Women

A 12-Minute Meditation to Remind Yourself That You Are Enough—A Black man with a beard and a dark blue shirt on gives himself a hug.

A 12-Minute Meditation to Remind Yourself That You Are Enough

In this guided meditation, Jenée Johnson offers affirmations to help you remember your inherent worth and reconnect with compassion …

In this practice, we will hold our attention on five affirmations that can help us be more compassionate toward ourselves. Try doing this in moments when you feel overwhelmed—breathing in, “I do my best,” breathing out, “I let go of the rest.” You can do it right before you go to sleep at night. You did your best, you let go of the rest. Tomorrow is a new day.

Guided Meditation

  1. Sit and find your breath. Sitting in an upright relaxed position, please drop your gaze or close your eyes. Find the breath, the faithful friend that it is, and notice that you are breathing. Take a deep breath in, and out.
  2. Take three deep breaths. Breathing in, breathing out. Breathing in positivity, breathing out and letting go of old stale air and stale stories. Breathing in, breathing out. Sitting with our attention on the breath. Relax the body, drop your shoulders, and be still. 
  3. Repeat these affirmations to yourself, taking a deep breath at the end of each sentence. I am a human being full of life and possibility. No one else is like me. I have a right to make mistakes and recover. I love myself unconditionally. I do not need anyone else’s approval to love and be kind to myself. Sometimes I do not know. It is OK not to know. What is not known is an invitation to be curious and to discover. I do my best. I let go of the rest.
  4. Return your attention to the breath. If your mind wanders off, come back to the home base of the breath. 
  5. Gently and easily, on the next breath, open your eyes and return your attention to the space.

A 12-minute 4-7-8 breathing practice - Human lungs. Respiratory system. Healthy lungs. Light in the form of a tree. Line art. Drawing by hand.

A 12-Minute 4-7-8 Breathing Meditation

This easy breathing practice helps to release stagnant air in the lungs and find calm …

The 4-7-8 breath was introduced originally by Dr. Andrew Weil who was really considered the grandfather of integrative medicine and as a pulmonologist who’s also a current University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellowship fellow. The 4-7-8 breath can be used for situations when you’re feeling particularly anxious, stressed, and even if you have some difficulty falling asleep.

The 4-7-8 breath stands for the following: You inhale for a count of four, then you hold your breath for a count of seven, and then you exhale through your mouth through pursed lips for a count of eight. The durations of these breaths aren’t as important as the ratio of the inhalation breath, breath-hold, and particularly the exhalation breath. The exhalation breath, you’ll notice, is twice as long as the inhalation breath. This allows for the lungs to completely empty of stagnant air, and oftentimes people who have chronic lung disease, particularly those with obstructive lung disease, have a tendency to air trap. This 4-7-8 breathing meditation offers the opportunity to completely exhale.

The 4-7-8 breath can be used for situations when you’re feeling particularly anxious, stressed, and even if you have some difficulty falling asleep.

Ni-Cheng Liang

It’s also a much more intentional practice. If, for instance, awareness of breath might be anxiety-provoking, then perhaps a 4-7-8 breath would be more helpful. Pursing your lips when you exhale has been shown to basically stent open the airways. This type of breathing also activates your vagus nerve, which is your “rest and digest” nerve. 

Guided Meditation:

  1. Sit or stand in a position of comfort. You can close your eyes if that feels safe for you to do so or lower your gaze a few inches in front of you. Perhaps sit more upright, envisioning this string that’s pulling the crown of the head upwards toward the sky, running down through the spine. Checking in and making sure that the head is atop shoulders that are atop the hips. This allows your lungs to be in better anatomic alignment to maximize their ability to exchange air. 
  2. We’ll exhale out through the mouth and then to start, you’ll inhale through your nose for a count of four. One, two, three, four. Hold the breath, two, three, four, five, six, seven. And then out through your mouth, through pursed lips, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. 
  3. We’ll do that three more times. 
  4. Exhale once again, and then inhale thro