I have noticed that more and more people are looking to develop a regular (dare I say, daily?) meditation practice! It makes me happy to see that many of my friends and family are catching on to something that has been around for many years. Meditation! When I started meditating, I struggled with creating consistency in my practice. I notice that others are experiencing the same struggle early on in their practice so I thought I would share what has helped me in my journey.
Here are 3 ways to start practicing and creating a routine that will open you up to a daily meditation practice that works for you!
1) I place my body in the position that is most comfortable for me. Sitting in a chair, lying down or sitting on a cushion on the floor are all great options and one is not better than the other. It’s less challenging if you start out feeling supported and comfortable. I took a meditation class once and the teacher said to us “If you are suffering during your meditation (feeling pain in your body) then that is on you. Make any adjustments necessary to feel comfortable. There is no need to cause yourself pain.” Give yourself permission to be in a state of relaxation before you even begin.
2) I pick the same spot each time to meditate. There is something about returning to the same place that really helps to establish the routine. If you think about it, we do this already. We routinely brush our teeth and take a shower at the same place every day in order to take care of our hygiene. The same can work for cleaning the mind. I have a favorite meditation spot in my home, a favorite bench at my local park and I even sit in my car (when not driving) to meditate. Personally, I love nature, so I select places that expose me to the sounds of birds chirping, the warm sun on my skin, the coolness of the wind, earthy smells and a nice view. All of these sensory satisfactions play into my experience of turning inward.
3) I use a timer and listen to guided meditations. At first, I had more success using guided meditations for daily practice. This is because it offers you something to “do” while meditating. There are so many different types of guided meditations and I am positive you will discover one that interests you! Eventually, I transitioned to the timer. I started with 1 minute of meditation and worked my way up. I like to use a timer because it tracks my progression. I am the type of person who feels accomplished when I see progress. I really like the Insight Timer because it has a feature called “milestones.” Every time you complete a milestone, you get a star. To me, these stars are a treat for the job well done. This has worked really well for me because it serves as motivation to keep up the momentum.
I felt the biggest shift in my meditation practice when I stopped attaching myself to what it was supposed to look like and started opening up my mind to how it works. Meditation, to put simply, is mindfulness. To me, it is slowing down all the rapid thoughts and observing them without judgment. It is a state of awareness where I can be self-reflective and calm. Anything can be a meditation if you look at it from this perspective. You can make gardening a meditation, walking on the beach a meditation, brushing your teeth a meditation, swimming a meditation, yoga a meditation or sitting still a meditation. It’s really entirely up to you!
If you are someone who is looking to create a regular meditation practice, I’d like to encourage you by saying you can do it! I started in February of 2017 and now have a daily meditation practice. It has helped me tremendously in my life. I feel less stressed and genuinely happier! I get better sleep, have wonderful dreams and have been more creative with my time during the day. I look forward to my sessions because I like the feeling of being mentally relaxed and I feel empowered knowing that I can do it all on my own through the simple act of meditation.
I hope these tips help you to design the practice that best suits your style! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! I would love to hear from you.
If you are interested in reading more, please read this short summary I have written on sutras 1.17- 1.23. Patanjali discusses the practice of meditation in these sutras. You can read it here.