I wrote last week about WHY I do my best to maintain a personal meditation practice and offered all sorts of reasons why you should too!
If you didn’t get a chance to read it or want a little refresher check it out HERE!
Today I’d like to get into the HOW.
Of course, just like your asana practice and just like our daily lives, there are a million ways to approach and practice this ancient art.
But these are some of the things I do to enhance my meditation situation.
(Side note, #MeditationSituation is going to be the name of my new Punk Band.)
- Warm Up – I’ve found that if I take a moment to move my body and loosen my muscles and joints before settling in, I am much more successful at maintaining stillness and not giving in to every impulse to wriggle or scratch. So take some cat / cows, a few Surya Namaskars, or an Easy Seated Sequence before settling in.
- Forgive yourself if you need to wriggle or Scratch – If you need to move, move. There are styles of meditation that ask for complete stillness, but when you are just getting started I say let yourself be comfortable. Scratch your nose, blink your eyes, adjust your legs. Do what you need to do to find ease in your body and mind.
- Choose your posture – You can meditate anywhere and any way. Traditionally we think of Easy Seated Pose as our Meditation Posture. But honestly as long as you can find a restful posture with a nice long torso (so you’ve got room to breathe) you are good to go. I typically like to find a seated posture on top of a blanket or bolster or a reclined posture like Savasana. Though sometimes I really love to find a supported asana like Supported Bridge, Bound Angle Pose, and Supported Bridge. Then I feel like I’m getting double bang for my buck between my body and mind.
- Remove Distractions – I know, I know, easier said than done. But I promise it is worth the effort. Silence your phone, dim the lights, turn off the Netflix, and give your pet a nice snuggle-y spot next to you. The less you have going on outside of your mind, the easier it is to control what is happening inside of your mind.
- Set a Timer – This can be tied into removing distractions because sometimes your biggest distraction is yourself. I know I have no direct concept of time and 3 minutes can easily feel like 30. I am also the queen of convincing myself that a million more important things are happening outside my door – that I’m missing very important calls or emails, that I’ll be late to where ever I have to be next, or that my time would be much better spent scrolling Instagram. Setting a timer really helps me overcome those obstacles. I know that absolutely nothing else is a more important use of my time until that sweet little alarm starts to sound. I also know that there is no way I’ve been sitting there for 2 hours if I set a timer for 20 minutes.
- Start Small – Speaking of timers, don’t think that you’ll be enjoying a nice hour long meditation your first time out of the gate. Start small. Try giving yourself 5 minutes to begin. Believe me, if you are used to going 1 million miles a minute, this will feel like an eternity. As you start to feel more comfortable, you can increase your time gradually. And then of course if you are having a particularly busy day you know that a 10 minute meditation can still be incredibly beneficial. And when your schedule allows for longer, you can go longer.
- Create a Ritual – Rituals help our brains and bodies feel safe and secure in whatever we are doing. And a brain that feels safe and secure is going to be so much more successful at relaxing and easing our nervous system to find a deeper meditation. Your ritual can be anything. Maybe you practice at the same time each day, maybe you light the same candle or apply the same oils, maybe you always meditate in the same space, or take the same physical practice before.
Whatever it is, allow it to be sacred and special and treat it with reverence.
- Try a Guided Meditation – I Love Love Love guided meditations. I can theme them to my exact needs for that moment. Whether I want something calming, cleansing, energizing, or inspired by a particular chakra or element I know I can find that through a guided meditation. There are a million to choose from on YouTube and I’ve also got several posted in my Facebook Community, MBYoga Tribe and if you are a member of MBYoga ToGo you have access to weekly meditation prompts and monthly guided meditations.
- There’s an App for That – Headspace and Stop, Breathe, & Think are 2 apps that I really love for meditation techniques, tips, tricks, and videos. Both have free and paid versions and are totally worth checking out.
- Be Kind to Yourself – As with everything, exercising your mind takes time and resilience. If you can’t make it 2 minutes without checking your phone, if you spend the whole time creating your grocery list in your mind, if your feet fall asleep in sukhasana, IT’S OK! Take a deep breath, forgive yourself, and try again tomorrow. It will get easier. It will feel better. And it will begin to come more naturally.
I hope, hope, hope you feel confident moving into a personal mediation practice.
I’d love to hear if you have any tips and tricks of your own or what your meditation journey has been like.
Send me a message and let’s chat!