Beginning a meditation practice can feel intimidating if you’ve never done it before. How to sit, how long, what am I supposed to be thinking about it. Wait…am I supposed to be thinking? How come my mind won’t stop? AGHHHHH….
It can almost feel like we’re doing it all “wrong” before we’ve even begun, causing even MORE stress. Exactly the opposite of what we’re looking for.
But the truth of the matter is, there is no “doing it wrong” when it comes to meditation. In fact, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” meditation practice or doing it “right”.
It’s called a PRACTICE for a reason, it’s just a practice. An exercise. There is no right or wrong. So let’s get rid of the self-critique or judgment before we even begin.
If you’re thinking about starting a meditation practice, chances are you’re hoping to slow down your mind. Gain some clarity. Some grounding. And maybe find a little space to just breathe. But there are even more benefits. Recent studies have linked meditation to…
What’s the goal? So often people assume the goal of meditation is to clear your mind of thoughts. But friends, that’s never going to happen. Our brain can think up to 50 thoughts per minute. That’s roughly 50 70 thousand thoughts a day. Our brains are hardwired to THINK. So rather than trying to STOP ourselves from thinking. The goal of meditation, or at least the way I look at it, is to create SPACE between our thoughts. The goal isn’t to be “thought-free”, but rather to notice our thoughts, recognize we’re having one, and then mindfully chose not to react, and return our breath. Always returning. Important things to keep in mind
When you think about meditation practice or any mindfulness practice for that matter, consistency is key. Showing up, daily. It doesn’t work if you do it every once in a while or when it feels convenient. You really have to put in the effort, every day, in order to feel the benefits.
The length of time isn’t as important as the repetition and consistency. So choose an amount of time that works for you. Maybe in the beginning it’s 3 minutes. Great. 3 minutes daily is better than 10 minutes every once a week. Pick a length of time that challenges you, but is also realistic.
This is one of my favorite quotes by Jay Shetty (who if you aren’t already familiar with, his latest book, “Think Like a Monk” and podcast are both excellent) and it’s so true.
“Space has energy”, so mindfully chose where you’re going to sit. Choose a spot you love. A spot you can return to. It doesn’t have to be big or beautiful, but it should be a place that you can relax in. Take some time to decide where in your home can be dedicated to your practice. Maybe it’s just simply next to your bed, or below your favorite window that gets great morning sun. But choose a place where you can be happy and relaxed, and a place you can return to.
Equally as important is the time you meditate. It does NOT have to be at 5am. It can be whenever time works for you. And it should be a time of day that you can feel relaxed, turn off your phone, and truly tune it. I personally like to meditate early in the morning because it’s the only time of the day that’s actually in my control. But find when and where works for you, and then try to stick with that routine with some consistency.
There are so many different ways to meditate out there, and books or apps that will guide you through certain medications. And those are all well and good. Some people believe you should have a mantra, while others think you should keep your eyes open. Truth be told, I don’t think any of it matters. What matters is that you find something that works for YOU, and stick with it. If you’re just starting out – for now – don’t worry about anything other than YOU and YOUR BREATHE. It’s really as simple as that.
Once you’ve determined when and where you’re going to meditate, you’re ready to go. So let’s get started.
I keep things around my space that make me feel calm and peaceful. Things I love.
Before I begin I like to take a moment to place my hands on my belly to make sure my abs are engaged and holding me nice and tall, and then just feel my belly rise and fall as I begin to slow my breath.
You do NOT need to incorporate any mudras, but an easy one, and probably the most basic and common is called the “Chin Mudra” which translates to conscious seal. Gently join your thumb and index finger together, creating a seal, and keep your other three fingers gently upright.
Finish your practice by bringing your hand together by your heart, bowing your head towards your heart, and feeling a moment of gratitude before you move on with your day.