If you meditate regularly, you likely know how invaluable it is to your well-being. If you don’t, you probably know you “should” but either cannot seem to start or stick to a regular practice. You are not alone! There is so much research that shows the positive impacts mediation has on our health, productivity, sleep, and even weight. Most of us know it is a great way to calm anxiety and tap into our intuition but when it comes to actually doing it, we often face resistance.
Getting quiet can be more challenging when you have to listen to the voice of our inner critic. The quieter you get, the louder the voice of the inner critic. Throughout the day, practice redirecting your thoughts toward affirming, positive thoughts instead of being so hard on yourself. The nicer you are to yourself, the greater your experience with meditation will be. You can even make these affirmations part of a meditation practice. Sit still for a minimum of 5 minutes and listen to your breath. Every time a negative, critical, or fearful thought comes up say to yourself: “I love and accept myself exactly as I am. All is well.”
Most importantly, remember that a meditation practice takes just that… practice. Do not set the expectations high for yourself as it can take time to achieve a meditation practice that truly works for you. However, even taking the time to dedicate 5, 10 or 30 minutes to yourself daily will at the very least allow you to disconnect from the daily chaos and hopefully reconnect to yourself.
HOW TO BEGIN A DAILY MEDITATION PRACTICE
Start by taking a comfortable seat. If you're flexible sit cross-legged on the floor, on a meditation cushion, bolster or blanket — with your knees resting slightly below your hips. If you're not, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor. Whatever works for you!
Get Into a Routine
Set a clearly designated space for meditation. This can be as simple as a thoughtfully placed candle, picture or stone. You'll also want to practice at the same time every day. Start with the same protocol for each meditation. Routine triggers the mind out of the logical thinking and brings it into the intuitive part of our brains.
Sit up nice and tall by straightening your spine. You can sit in a chair or against a wall if you need to. Lengthen the spine to help increase your circulation and keep you alert. (Can’t count the number of times meditiation turned into an afternoon nap!)
Start where you are. If 10 minutes seems overwhelming, begin with five. After a week, begin to add one minute to your practice each week until you build up to 30 minutes (or more) at a time.
Be Nice To Yourself
As renowned meditation teacher Sally Kempton says, "Meditation is Relationship.” Ultimately, it is all about your relationship to yourself. The way you do anything is the way you do everything. Meditation teaches us acceptance, compassion and unconditional love. Surrender to exactly who you are and what is happening — right here, right now.
Most Importantly… Just Breathe
People often ask ‘Where do I start?”, ‘How do I not think about anything?”. Breathing is the gateway to our higher consciousness. When we develop a breathing pattern, it shuts off the chatter in our mind. It connects us to the here and now so that we can be in the present moment. If you have thoughts float in and out, acknowledge it, then put it away and refocus on your breathing.