So, how do you start a meditation practice?
- Find a comfortable, distraction free place in your home where you won’t be distracted with noises like dogs, children or T.V. This area can include things like blankets, pillows candles or light music to help focus your mind and get comfortable.
- Find a comfortable posture. I would recommend doing a few stretches before sitting down because you won’t be moving for a few minutes. Your posture for meditation is not as strict as it seems in media. Often you see meditators sitting in a cross leg position with their back straight, but this is not the only way. I often lay flat on the floor with a small blanket under my back, in savasana. Just beware that this position is easy for beginners to fall asleep. But you can also sit in a chair, sit on a couch, sit cross legged or even sit up against a wall. As long as your spine is in correct alignment, you’re good. You can also place your sits bones upon a pillow or blanket to make it more comfortable.
- Breathe deeply, focusing on your breathing, much like yoga. You can also close your eyes or you can focus your gaze on something like a candle flame or a statue you have.
- Now here is the more difficult part for most people- don’t try to not think at all. It is impossible and will frustrate you. Instead, let your thoughts flow to and from your mind and notice what comes to you. Thoughts seem to float by. Don’t judge your thoughts or get frustrated by them, just let them come and go. When you notice your attention is slipping away, focus yourself back on the breath.
- There are also different forms of meditation where instead of noticing your thoughts you can repeat a mantra over and over, something like peace, relax, calm, sh or even counting. This kind of meditation can give your mind something to focus on. When you notice your attention slipping, gently go back to your mantra.
- You can also do body scans. This involves focusing on each individual body part and relaxing it, releasing tension. You can start at the feet and work your way up to the head, or start at the head and work your way down to the feet. Doing this can help you notice where you are storing tension and stress. Most commonly, the upper back, jaw, eyes, and chest are tense.
- When ending your meditation session, I have found it is nice to slowly wake the body back up. You can do this by slowly wiggling the toes and fingers, and gently rising, lifting the head last, especially if you were lying down.
- Most importantly- incorporate meditation into your everyday life! In a moment of stress take a few seconds to breathe deeply and focus on the breath to push out negative thoughts and emotions. When you’re eating, become more aware of what you are eating, focus on the food and really enjoy it. When things around you are out of control, take a few breaths and speak some positive thoughts to yourself. This will help you become calmer and make good decisions. You can’t control everything around you but you can control yourself, and that is what meditation is about! Happy meditating.
For questions about meditation go here and to see the benefits of meditation, go here.
Do you have any tools or tips that help you meditate? Do you have a favorite place to meditate? Have you tried to meditate outside? Share below in the comments!