TOP TEN MEDITATION TIPS
TOP TEN MEDITATION TIPS
Meditation can take place anywhere. Experienced meditators are able to practice in busy places or during daily routines. For beginners, meditation should take place in a calm, peaceful place, where you are unlikely to be disturbed.
Top Ten Meditation Tips
I have listed below my top ten tips for building up a successful meditation practice:
Try to find a place where you can sit undisturbed
You don’t need to have a special place to meditate. Your place can be anywhere in your house or wherever you choose. You just need to make sure that you can sit undisturbed for your meditation practice so that you can completely concentrate and not have to think about anything else.
I prefer to sit for my meditation practice unless I am doing a guided meditation practice in which case I prefer to lay down. Make sure the place you choose is warm and comfortable. Once you get used to meditating you will start to spend longer in the practice so you need to be warm and comfortable. I like to sit on a chair as this helps me keep my spine nice and long and straight. You may be comfortable sat on the floor with your legs crossed or sat on a cushion. Try a few different options and see what suits you best.
Make sure your phone is turned off and anything else than may distract you
Turn your mobile phone off and anything else that might distract you. The only exception to this is if you are using your phone for a timer. I like to set a timer when I meditate but you may be happy to meditate without one. It is your practice so do what works best for you. Sometimes when I meditate the time goes very quickly. Other times the time passes by slowly. If I have the timer going, I don’t need to check how long I have been meditating for. As I say though, it is your practice so see what works for you.
Try to meditate at the same time each day
For me, it is really important to meditate at the same time each day. I know this is not always possible but it is a good practice to get into. Meditation will become part of your daily routine – like getting breakfast or brushing your teeth so it is good to keep your practice consistent. If you are consistent with your practice the more you will benefit from meditating.
It is said that the best times to meditate are before sunrise and sunset as it is quieter then and generally a more peaceful time of day. You have to find the right time of day for you. This is so important otherwise you are not building a practice that will suit your individual needs.
For me, I meditate every morning and evening. I set my alarm clock a bit earlier in the day and get up to meditate before breakfast. This works for me as the rest of the house is still asleep so it is quiet and I will not be disturbed. If I do it later in the morning, then there is more risk of interruptions. Then I meditate as the last thing I do before I go to bed. Again, the rest of the house is asleep so there is no risk of distractions and interruptions and it helps me go to sleep. See what works best for you.
Try not to eat before meditating
If you eat before meditating, you could get disturbed as your body will be digesting food. This is quiet time for you just to focus on your breath.
Find a length of practice that suits you best
I aim to meditate twice a day for twenty minutes each time. This is not always possible and sometimes I may just meditate once a day or perhaps for two shorter sessions. Meditation is your practice, so find the best length for you. To start with maybe try a 5-10-minute session and see how you get on. Once you feel comfortable with this, you may be able to build up to 15-20 minutes or longer and you might be able to practice more than once a day. My optimum meditation practice is twice a day for 20 minutes each session. Try a few different options and see what works best for you.
Don’t worry if you are thinking and try not to judge yourself
People often say to me; I won’t be able to meditate as I think too much. Well we all think too much that I just a trait of being human. The aim of meditation is to help us to stop thinking (or at least reduce some of those thoughts or slow them down). Sometimes when you meditate you will have lots of thoughts arising other times you will have much fewer thoughts. Let the thoughts come and go. If you realise that you have disappeared off into your thoughts just come back to the breath again and let them go. Don’t worry about it and don’t judge yourself on this.
Don’t worry about whether you are doing it right
I used to worry a lot about whether I was meditating right. I used to worry a lot about what was meant to happen when you meditate. As a yoga practitioner, when you practice yoga you know what the posture is meant to look like, what parts of the body you are working on and you have a teacher there who will adjust you and give you guidance. When you start a home meditation practice on your own you are just sat there breathing, concentrating, trying not to think too much, trying to focus on the breath or a mantra or whatever else you are practising when you meditate. I used to get a bit disheartened sometimes about whether I was doing it right or not. Each meditation practice is different just like each day is different. We all feel different on different days and have different experiences. So try not to overthink your meditation practice. Try to relax beforehand. Maybe do some breathing or pranayama practices if you are feeling particularly stressed or anxious. Maybe do a few gentle yoga stretches to help you relax a bit more before you meditate. Then just focus on the breath and see where your meditation practice takes you that day.
Don’t be tempted to snooze or go straight to bed
To start with you might feel like you don’t want to wake up earlier than normal to meditate. You might think that you are so tired in the evening that you should be going to sleep rather than meditating. Those extra few minutes in bed are a false economy. Once you get into your meditation practice those minutes you spend meditating can equate to up to four hours’ sleep – that is deep relaxed sleep. This is much more beneficial to you than snoozing for another ten minutes or getting into bed tired, exhausted and wired and not able to sleep.
Try a few different types of meditation techniques to see which suits you best
There are so many different types of meditation techniques to choose from these days. When I first started to meditate it was less ‘mainstream’ and mindfulness hadn’t really taken off in the way it has today. You can find clips on YouTube, on Facebook, through google searches, you can buy CD’s or download guided meditations. You can simply breath and focus on the breath. I like to use mantra meditations. This helps me focus as I focus on repeating a word and I focus on my breath. This means that I have less thoughts. Try out a few different types and see what works for you.
If you find you are struggling or are not quite sure what to do, then find someone to help you with your meditation practice
There are so many options now for learning to meditate. Have a look around your local area, see if you can find a teacher or a course. Ask a yoga teacher if you can’t find a local person to teach you to meditate. Many yoga teachers have regular meditation practices and may be able to offer you some training. I learnt to meditate using Transcendental Meditation (TM) which is a mantra meditation technique brought to the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from India, in the mid-1950s. There are also Buddhist meditation practices that you can learn. Look Within Yoga is now running 6-week meditation courses. For more information, please contact Annelie Carver, www.lookwithinyoga.com.