There are numerous reasons why meditation is a good skill to develop. Meditation is a practice of quieting our mind and getting in touch with our deeper Self. It’s a way of listening to ourselves and observing what happens within us when we’re fully present in the here and now. As we practice, we develop deeper self-awareness, we become more present in our lives, more compassionate and positive.
From the outside, meditation looks easy: you sit still with your eyes closed and breathe. However, if you ever tried meditating, you already know that it can be challenging to be fully present in the moment.
What’s more, there are numerous traditions in meditation and plenty of different techniques. It is said that Buddha himself taught 84,000 different meditation methods. How can you know which one to choose?
How to start meditating
We put together this simple guide to help you get started with your own meditation practice. If you’ve never meditated before, you may want to try using an app such as Headspace or InsightTimer, take a couple of meditation classes or maybe even an online meditation course. Practicing with a guide, teacher or in a group can help you establish your own routine, however, it’s not necessary. You will know when it’s the right time for you to ask for help with your practice, so trust your instinct on that.
Create the right space
Set up a little area dedicated to your meditation practice. You can use candles, crystals, incense or even create your own, little altar. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, but having a separate space just for this purpose is important for the practice.
We would advise sitting rather than lying down during your meditation. Sitting on a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed allows the energy to flow more freely throughout your body, it allows you to take deeper breaths and it reduces a chance that you’ll fall asleep.
Keep your eyes closed and spine nice and long. You can place pillows, blankets or even yoga blocks underneath your seat bones for extra support.
You can put relaxing music on if you find silence too uncomfortable at the beginning. Set up the alarm as well so that it rings when your meditation comes to an end.
TIP: the app we mentioned earlier InsightTimer, has a “timer” functionality that acts just like an alarm with a few additional perks. It allows you to select background sounds for the entire meditation and incorporate bells that ring every few minutes. It helps to bring you back to the present moment if your mind tends to wander.
Observe your breath
Watching your breath is the most popular meditation technique in our culture. It requires us to anchor our attention on the breath. We become observers of our breath noticing how it enters and exits our body while paying attention to the pause between the breaths. If your mind has a tendency to wander, give it something to do: have your mind count your breaths from 1 to 10. Then repeat it over and over again.
Let go of expectations
There isn’t anything specific that should happen when you’re in this space. Allow the thoughts about your past to fade away – these are not relevant in the present moment. Put all the thoughts about the future on pause – you will get to it later. Allow yourself to sit in the awareness of being. Know that your thoughts will float away in all directions and when they do, gently bring your attention back to your breath. The practice of returning to your breath is what retrains our minds. Allow yourself to observe what happens within you without a judgment. There is no right or wrong, it just is. Give yourself permission to just be.
Final Piece of Advice
If you’re at the beginning of your meditation journey, be gentle with yourself. Start from meditating 3 minutes a day and then gradually build your practice. What matters is that you show up for yourself daily. The rest will fall into its own place when the right time comes.
Namaste ♥ Joanna & Dee ♥ Corporate Hippies ♥