5 quick tips.
perhaps a bit ironic that i’m speeding through this topic seeing as the essence is slowing down.
new to meditation? still think it’s too hippy-dippy for you? well, it’s not. in fact, before learning the benefits of meditation, I too was a non-believer. however, due to the amount of resources (guided youtube videos, apps such as headspace) and the growing popularity among celebrities and athletes, meditation is becoming more mainstream.
those monks were on to something…
but what if you are willing, ready and curious about meditation but can’t seem to figure out where to start? or you’re just beginning your meditation practice and feel you could use some hints to improve, here are mine.
it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by sitting still for an extended period of time and focusing on, well nothing.
but the amount of inner peace, increased productivity, and decrease of negative emotions will be well worth the initially awkward concept.
- pick a space. not just any space though, choose an area of the house that feels most peaceful to you. while it is true that you can meditate literally ANYWHERE. ask my therapist- she recently interrupted a man in the sauna at the gym- it’s nothing to be ashamed of if you need to clear your mind and come to your breath in public. as a beginner, you’re probably trying it in the comfort of your home. is meditating in a cluttered space going to work? nope. what about close to that desk piled with assignments and tasks? again, no. go where there is, energy, and is fairly tidy. you’ll feel more relaxed and will be able to meditate longer.
- start small, but don’t get comfortable. speaking of time, it’s important to set realistic goals for meditation that are not rigid. maybe starting with 5 to 10 minutes, and building your way from there. i say don’t get comfortable because i found i got in a meditation rut. i knew i could meditate for a few minutes and didn’t try to push for longer, didn’t go out of my comfort zone. but when you’re comfortable go for it. imagine what a 30 to 40 minute meditation could do for you if only 5 is able to make you feel that good! and don’t give me the “i have no time for a long meditation” excuse,
- appeal to the senses. remember your senses to make your meditation more enjoyable. a noise machine, soft music, a small item to hold such as mala beads (find the meaning of these beads here.) and a scented candle are great examples. some find it more comfortable to sit on a soft blanket or pillow. i’ve been in a yoga class that provided eye pillows for the final rest- which helped me from looking around the room or being distracted. i love using soothing lavender or peppermint essential oils to help with meditation.
- visualize the breath, or use a mantra. the emphasis is the breath in mindful meditation. a simple way to keep track of the in and out of each inhale and exhale is to count them. sometimes counting frustrated me, and I found that visualizing a calming color leaving me on the exhale worked well. if you’re focusing on a mantra, pick a word that resonates at that present time. don’t over think it, allow the word or phrase that is meant to become abundant come to you. you can also find common mantras and their meanings here.
- test your theories. literally try trial and error. you may find you’re more mindful when you hold something, like a stone or mala beads. for a while i only meditated on my back- in savasana pose- or the yoga pose with legs up on the wall. it took some time until i could sit without becoming distracted. maybe you like music. maybe you like the lights dim, or the windows wide open and bright. you may enjoy meditating in the evening much more than the morning. the key is trying and discovering. if you practice yoga, you’ve probably learned the style of class you prefer. even if not a yogi, you know the way your body likes to move and feels best when exercising, same applies for when you’re still. treat meditation like any practice and evolve, allowing it to become more beneficial and more powerful with each mindful breath.
i hope you’re feeling less anxious about the idea of meditation. comment below with questions, suggestions, or how you’ve benefitted from mindfulness and meditation! a healthy clear mind allows space for a healthy abundant life!