Ahhh meditation, that thing we all want to do but is the quickest thing to be thrown in the “too hard basket”. We know its good for us, we have read the benefits, do you need a reminder?
– Big problems are rationalised into smaller problems –
– Improved focus and concentration –
– Less stress, anxiety and depression –
– Improved immunity (yes, really) –
– Helps us to appreciate life more –
– Lowers high blood pressure –
– Emotional stability improves –
– Expansion of consciousness –
– Improves sleep quality –
– Happiness increases –
– Peace of mind –
The list is endless. We know its damn good for us.
So how exactly does one carry out the impossible task? I was fortunate enough to start my meditation journey with guided meditation, six days per week for two months during my Yoga Teacher Training in India. I know this is not the case for everyone, however during this time I learned a thing or two about maintaining a personal practice that I can share.
In the past I have been guilty of trying to meditate after I catch myself procrastinating for a while, telling myself I should be doing something more productive…such as meditation. So, I would sit for a bit, I focus on my breath for about 30 seconds then the chaotic monkey mind kicks in throwing me from one thought to the next, then things just become dizzying. I become restless and I cant get into that meditative space (no wonder why) so roughly 4 minutes later my eyes open and I give up.
This is a good example of how NOT how to meditate.. Obviously.. but raise your hand if you’re guilty.
This can be avoided by dedicating time to the practice. Ill be honest, rarely do I sit down and meditate for an hour straight everyday like I did when I was studying, but I do dedicate time daily. Usually 30 minutes is enough for me un-shuffle my mind and feel a little lighter when I am done.
Other times I need a full hour or even more, when you get into the swing of things, the journey of meditation is a super blissful experience.
SO. Make time, schedule it in and honour it, this will stop your mind from wandering to things you should be doing at that time. The only thing you should be doing is meditating.
Choose a quiet place
Choose a place where you are not at risk of being interrupted by anything or anyone, a broken meditation is often a finished meditation. This means turning your phone to silent or even better off (I prefer to turn it off). I prefer to find a quiet place in nature or if the weather doesn’t allow I will set up a cosy little meditation corner with blankets, pillows and good smells. This is an event to prepare for.
Start with a warm up
I suggest doing a gentle 10-15 minute self practice. If yoga is not your style go for a stroll. Do something to get your heart and lungs working. This will help to release endorphins and get oxygen to your brain which will make a world of difference once you sit down to meditate.
Not too hungry, not too full
Meditation should be done on a relatively empty stomach, but not so empty where you are hungry. Meditation after eating is not a good idea either. Its a fine balance, but if you schedule in time (from point one) this should be easy to manage.
Sit in a comfortable posture
Traditionally the posture for meditation is full lotus, but lets be real, this takes a super dedicated practice in preparation to sit like this comfortably, if at all. I suggest simply sitting with your legs crossed. I find it is more comfortable sitting on a pillow. If you need, take support of a wall, this will help you observe your posture. There is no competition for who can sit the prettiest. If you need four pillows, take four pillows.
So now you’re ready to meditate, you’re comfortable, the conditions are right. Start my focusing on your breath, observe your inhale, observe your exhale and remember meditation is not about controlling your mind or stopping your thoughts. Allow them to happen, watch the story that unfolds, eventually your mind will run out of places to jump to and the quiet will happen. However, if you feel yourself thinking unpleasant things or experiencing anxiety its time to bring it back to your breath. Always remember, you have an escape with your inhalation and your exhalation.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate, sure there are traditional techniques and disciplines but if you’re like me, I’m just a girl making my way through this world trying to treat myself right. The fact that you’re even meditating is gold star worthy. Find what works for you, experiment a little.
You could even experiment with guided meditation audio tracks which can be found online. In the early days I had great success with this, especially the guided meditations for anxiety and depression.
What techniques help you to meditate?
Leave me a comment below ????
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