My first memories of meditation are of my sister and I sitting next to our dad and pretending we were meditating while making fun of his strange Om chants. We were only toddlers at the time and I give props to my dad for keeping with his meditation while we wreaked havoc all around him! Little did I know that he has had the right idea the whole time, as an adult I am now aware of all of the benefits that come with a regular meditation practice.
Before we get into the 8 steps to start a meditation practice I first want to explain what I understand meditation to mean. Meditation is a practice that is used to reduce stress through the development of awareness, concentration, emotional balance and clarity. It is a way we can, overtime, attain inner peace, especially in the chaotic and demanding world we live in today.
Over the past few years I have meditated more often than ever before. But I have still struggled with sticking with meditation once and for all. One of the reasons I had not stuck to a regular meditation schedule is because I was under the belief that it required a lot more time than it actually does. While I was under the impression that I needed to meditate for an hour each time I recently learned that this is not the case. While meditating for an hour can also be a great goal to achieve, all you really need is 10 minutes of your day. And, if you can do 10 minutes twice a day (once in the morning and once at night) that’s even better! But remember, the key to see results with meditation practice is to be consistent. Studies have also shown that meditating every day for 10 minutes a day (that can be once a day for ten minutes or two times a day for 5 minutes) will enhance a person’s level of focus and attention. While this may not sound like a ton of change but these are fundamental elements of our lives that can make many positive changes in other areas of our lives.
Starting a meditation practice is actually harder than it seems. It sounds easy to sit still for ten minutes right? WRONG! At the beginning I would get anxious – thoughts like “what time is it?”, “is someone calling me?”, “I need to reply to that email” and so on. Your mind will wander and the trick is to bring it back to center, but that’s the hard part.
1 – set your timer
Decide how long you want to meditate for and set a timer on your phone.
2 – sit in a comfortable position
The best way to meditate is to sit on the floor with your legs crossed (think Buddha). Most of the time I sit in that cross legged position right on my bed (since meditate either when I wake up or before I fall asleep).
3 – elongate your back
While you are sitting in your cross legged position pretend that there is a magnetic pull that is pulling your head towards the ceiling. Keep that posture the entire time.
4 –relax your body
Allow every part of your body to sink into its self. Let go of any tension you may feel, pretend you are floating.
5 – take deep and steady breaths
Now that you have found your comfortable sitting position, you sitting up straight and your body is relaxed you can begin to focus on your breathing. Take deep and controlled breaths and feel the air move inside your nose and chest.
6 – begin your mantra
Mantras help you stay focused during your meditation so that your mind does not start racing at a thousand miles an hour thinking about all of the things you could be doing in that very moment.
7 – smile
Once you have completed your meditation you are going to feel a sense of peace, embrace it and look forward to the next time.
Do you meditate? How did you begin your meditation practice and how long did it take you to get the hang of it? Do share below!