You’ve probably heard a lot of positive things about meditation and would like to give it a try. But with so much conflicting advice you don’t know how to get started.
Sounds like you?
I’ve put together a list of my top ten tricks to help make your journey into meditation smooth, achievable and enjoyable.
Put them into practice and see the results!
Put meditation time in your diary
It’s ‘me’ time so schedule it in! Just like exercise or playing a musical instrument, you need to practice your ‘practice’. You deserve to have some time to yourself, so put aside 5-10 minutes every day to dedicate to your meditation.
If you know you’re busy, don’t try to achieve the impossible. That’s setting yourself up for a disaster before you have even started! If you can spare 5 minutes twice a day that’s better than one long session and then nothing for a week. You know yourself better than anyone else. Making lasting changes to your routine takes time. Be gentle and kind to yourself.
Do what you enjoy
Choose a style of meditation that you are drawn to. There is plenty to choose from. If you struggle with one, change to a different style. Meditation is a joyful experience. Choose to do things that make you happy, that enhance your state of wellbeing and that you feel the benefits of. We are all different.
You could start with a mantra meditation practice like Transcendental Meditation (TM) or Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM). Mantra means ‘vehicle of the mind’. It is designed as a focus to meditation. You can also try visualisations, guided meditations, walking meditations and chakra visualisations.
You may also like the idea of practicing ‘gazing’, creating a mandala or a labyrinth as a walking or writing meditation. Don’t be shy. Be creative. Remember if your mind is focused on the present moment you are meditating. There’s no judgement!
Simplicity – start with your breath
Following your breath can be the simplest way to begin and you can do it anywhere. If you are busy you can practice a walking meditation using inhalation and exhalation to ground you. Just breathe in focusing on the breath, and breathe. You can practice this anywhere you are walking, step-by-step. You may find the inhalation is shorter than the exhalation. Counting in for three and out for five can have wonderful benefits without any disruption to your busy schedule. Play and notice your breath. Body awareness is your doorway to practicing meditation.
It’s a myth that you have to sit crossed legged with your fingers touching. If you’re not comfortable, all you will be able to think about is discomfort and your meditation practice will get off to a shaky start. Find a comfy seat. I meditate sitting on a chair with my feet touching the floor and my palms facing upwards. Some people like to create a space for their meditation. It’s not necessary, but it can help you to settle and be consistent. You may also like to burn some oil and create a beautiful atmosphere.
A daily practice will reap the greatest rewards. Imagine each time you meditate you are dipping a dirty cloth into crystal clear water and cleansing and removing stress and toxins. In time you will create a healthy habit, feel amazing with greater energy and an increase in creativity.
Yes, we all want quick results, but you wouldn’t go to the gym for a couple of sessions and expect changes. Meditation is no different. Regular and consistent practice will reward you with all the wonderful benefits. Some of the benefits include lower blood pressure, feeling calmer and more centered. Being less reactive. Life will flow and you will have more energy and a sense of wellbeing.
There are lots of great meditation apps. A couple I would recommend are Insight and Headspace. Find one that’s free to start you off and take it from there. Look for a teacher, and ask around. Follow your intuition. The right people always come at the right time.
Have no expectation of the outcome!
Whatever happens in your meditation practice, that is the perfect outcome for you in that moment. Remember, we meditate for the benefits we see outside of the meditation. With regular practice you will see wonderful changes to your life and to your health.
You are more likely to make it a good habit if you enjoy it. Find a practice you love and be consistent. Remember, it’s the experience of doing meditation that will be your greatest gift. Reading a book may be interesting but it’s the doing that will change your life.