Meditation. Some call it “woo-woo” or “crazy”. But mediation can be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Carving a little time out to be alone with yourself and give your thinking mind a break has benefits far beyond what the eye can see.
It can be difficult getting started in your own mediation practice though, so I’ve come up with 5 tips I think all beginners should keep in mind when starting their practice.
1. Take it easy on yourself
Expecting to achieve a deep meditative state every time you sit down to meditate is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make. And it’s probably the reason they give up on it. The truth is, a deep meditative state is extremely hard to achieve for most people and that shouldn’t be your main goal with meditation. Thoughts and worries are constantly running through our minds and its difficult to turn them off. Just give it a try and you’ll see what I mean. Even if you do start to really relax your mind, chances are, a thought is going to pop up at some point during your meditation session. And I’m here to tell you that’s OK! And completely normal. Even those who have had a meditation practice for years have thoughts come up and sweep them away while they are trying to give their minds a break. The point here is, don’t give up because you think you’re not “doing it right” and don’t compare yourselves to the Buddhist monks. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Your mediation practice is YOURS and yours only. So take a deep breath and take it easy on yourself!
2. Practice non-reactivity
What’s with the big words? Non-reactivity is just the practice of accepting your surroundings rather than reacting to them. This is especially important in meditation practice. Let’s be honest. Not everyone can meditate in complete solitude with zero distractions around them (although that would be nice!). I know there have been plenty of times when a kid has crawled in my lap or started screaming for me just when I’m getting settled into my practice. For you, it might be a fire truck rolling past your window, or your phone ringing. Whatever the distraction might be, rather than allowing it to make you upset and ruin your practice, try to ACCEPT it. Distractions happen to all of us. Be non-reactive.
3. Make sure you’re comfortable
When you picture someone meditating I’m sure the first image that comes to your mind is someone in a cross-legged position, with their eyes closed, and looking deeply relaxed. Kind of like this…
But guess what! You can meditate in any position you’d like. The goal is the be aligned, and be able to relax the mind and body, but that can look different for each of us. You may enjoy the traditional Lotus or Burmese position (pictured above), but it’s also perfectly fine to meditate sitting on a chair, resting on your knees, or lying on your back. If I’m cold I bundle up in some blankets. I may also diffuse some essential oils or burn a candle to create an extra relaxing environment. Your meditation practice will become frustrating if you’re not comfortable doing it, so make sure you find what feels good!
4. Use guided meditation practices
You may be wondering “Ok how do I actually do this?”. My recommendation is to use guided meditation. This is where a narrator guides you in your practice. There are many resources where you can find guided meditations, but the one I’ve used consistently over the last two years and absolutely love is the Calm App. This is an app that you can get on your phone which makes it super convenient and there are free and paid versions. One if my favorite features on the Calm App is the Daily Calm. This is about a ten minute guided meditation that changes on a daily basis, and it’s what I use most often. The app also includes tons of other meditations in every category you can imagine. Whether you need a quick mediation to calm anxiety, one to help you fall asleep, or some guidance on how to love yourself, the Calm App has it all and everything in between. It’s definitely worth checking out!
Once you’ve started feeling more comfortable, you might begin to lead yourself. But guided meditation in the beginning will help keep you focused and give you the tools you need to grow in your practice.
5. Be consistent
So many people give up on meditation because they don’t feel like they are doing it right or can’t feel a difference. In order for mediation to start making an impact in your life, you must be consistent with it. Most days, I only meditate for about 10 minutes. But I do it EVERY DAY. Your practice doesn’t have to be long (although it can be if you want) as long as you’re making time for it on a daily basis. You deserve this time with yourself and I promise, no matter how busy you think you are, you can find five or ten minutes of the day to focus on yourself. Once you become consistent, you will feel the benefits.
If you like to read, this book really helped me in the beginning of my meditation practice!
I hope this helps you in the beginning of your mediation journey. Leave any questions or comments below! Until next time, thanks for stopping by and happy meditating!