How to Start A Meditation Practice
Posted on 24 July 2017
Meditation has been proven to give us so many benefits. It decreases stress, improves happiness, increases self awareness and even improves concentration and attention. It has been shown to be an effective tool in managing depression and anxiety and even more surprisingly to preserve our brains!
If you've been wanting to start meditating and experiencing these benefits for yourself, here are some helpful tips to get you started.
Like training for a marathon, a runner doesn't start out running 20km. Similarly, when you start meditating, you should begin with small intervals. Even 2 minutes of meditation will do wonders and start you on your path. Set a specific time period for your meditation and an alarm.
Mala bracelets are a wonderful tool for this as they allow you to set a fixed, short time without the need for an alarm.
It's called a 'practice' for a reason, after all. Training for your marathon, if you only go once every now and then it will take longer to condition your body than if you trained daily. If you set that 2 minutes every day, it will become easier and easier. The more you flex that muscle, the stronger it becomes.
Being consistent with the time of day can be a good approach to embed the routine, setting the same time each morning or evening as suits you. Create a ritual for your meditation. First thing in the morning to set your focus and energy for the day can be rewarding, but whatever time suits you - meditation is wonderful any time!
There are different methods of meditation and it helps to know what you are looking to achieve from your meditation practice. Then you can choose a method that suits you. Whether it's repeating a positive affirmation or simply focusing on your breath in and out. While that meditating image might be to "clear your mind", meditation isn't really about thinking of nothing. Meditation is more about being truly present. You can use the time to sit and simply acknowledge your senses, what do you smell, feel, hear?
If while you are meditating your mind wanders, that's okay. Don't focus on the thoughts, just let them drift and float past. Having a mantra or affirmation to work through with a mala can be an excellent tool to keep your focus in meditation.
Create a Space
As a way to encourage your meditation practice, having a special meditation space or set up can help set the mood and give cues that this is your meditation time. My favourite meditation spaces to create include something for each of the senses. Include incense or essential oil for scent, mala beads to hold for touch, gentle music for relaxing sound, a picture of something beautiful or meaningful for sight and a cup of your favourite herbal tea for taste. The emphasis on the senses can facilitate a mindful meditation.
Make sure you are comfortable wherever you meditate. You can do your meditation sitting cross legged or on a chair with your feet on the ground (keep your posture straight and tall) or you can even do it laying down (if that won't send you to sleep!).
Find a Guide
Starting out it can be really useful to find a meditation track to listen to (remember that sense of sound). There are so many beautiful guided meditations available on websites, cds or even apps for your phone! It can make it easier to try different types of meditation and to find a method that suits you.
Be Kind to Yourself
Remember that meditation is about self love after all. It's about getting the benefits of relaxation and de-stressing and mindfulness. Your meditation practice might be inconsistent and done in pajamas on the bed for 2 minutes and that's totally cool. Surrender to your meditation and don't worry about it being "perfect".