11 tips to start a meditation practice (and keep at it)
You want to try meditation but don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Meditation offers many benefits for body, mind and spirit. For example, it boosts immunity, reduces stress and offers a pathway to self-knowledge. The overall sense of well-being may be very attractive, yet attempts at starting the practice can come with many challenges and confusion.
Which meditation practice should I do? When and where should I meditate? My back/knees hurt; how do I sit for meditation?
The mind will create all kinds of excuses but there is no need to delay. There is effectively nothing standing between you and the possibility of reaching deeper states of awareness and wholeness. These tips will get you started on your meditation journey and ensure you keep going.
1. Create a space
Your meditation space will collect the subtle energy and, eventually, sitting there will naturally trigger your mind into meditation. The space can be a simple mat with a candle, picture or meaningful object.
2. Same time, same place
Routine shifts the mind out of the left brain (logical mind) and into the right brain (intuitive mind). While this is not essential, it is a good way to coax the resisting mind into submission as the ritual becomes habitual. Practice at the same time daily and begin in the same way each time.
3. Prepare yourself
There is ritual also in preparing yourself to meditate. Cleanse yourself and wear clean clothes, allowing the water to cleanse body and mind. Again, this is not essential but helpful to put you in the right frame of mind.
4. Honour your practice
Enter the meditation space with respect. Hold hands to heart while honouring to what lies beyond identity, fears and distraction. Place an intention to connect to the higher self.
5. Get comfortable
Start by taking a comfortable seat. If you’re flexible, sit on the floor, if not, sit in a chair. A good meditation posture is crucial to a good practice and your ability to maintain it; try these steps to a perfect meditation posture.
6. Start small
Start with what you can easily manage. If even ten minutes feel overwhelming, start with five. After a week, begin to add a minute or two to your practice each week until you build up to 30 minutes or more.
7. Just breathe
If you are not sure how to start meditating, just focus on your breath. The mind will want to wander to the past and future but you will become aware of that and return to the only thing that’s always present, right here, right now: the breath. In time, the distractions get smaller and the mind anchors in the present.
8. Be kind to yourself
If at first you don’t succeed, don’t get frustrated. Surrender to what Is, Here, Now. That includes who and where you are right now. Smile and accept the struggles of your mind with compassion and conditional love.
9. Be aware
It’s not just about developing awareness during meditation. Be aware also of the excuses you tell yourself in order not to meditate. “I’m too tired.” “I don’t have time.” Without judgement, observe and understand how your mind rationalises breaking your commitment and then, recommit.
10. Practice makes perfect
It took practice even to learn how to walk or talk, something that now is so natural to you that you don’t have to think about it to do it. You are training your brain to submit to your command. Just keep at it, no matter how much you struggle … knowing it must get easier.
11. Keep a meditation journal
It is useful to note down your experience and feelings immediately after the meditation. Keeping a meditation journal will help you integrate them and also serves as a reminder of the benefits and the kind of life transforming subtle realisations you can tap into by meditating.
Meditation sessions are held at the Lotus Room every Friday at 7pm. Discover also the benefits of yoga, what Lotus Room Yoga is all about and what it means to live the yoga life. Contact Jenny for more information.
Writing: Melanie Drury