Enjoying the benefits of a regular meditation practice can be as simple as finding a quiet moment in your day to be present to the rise and fall of your breath - uncomplicated, quick and totally free.
With so many meditation guides and methods out there, it's easy to see how a lot of people feel confused on how and where to begin. Meditation is often associated with the visual of a weather-worn monk in a loincloth, sitting cross-legged atop a snow-capped mountain. Although the practice of meditation has long been associated with religion and spirituality, it need not to be associated with any particular ideology, unless it happens to be your jam.
The following tips are a straightforward guide to help you foster a regular meditation practice, wherever you may be.
Finding a place of calm
Especially when you are just embarking on your meditation journey, having a place of calm at your home, outdoors or in your workspace that you can use as a base for your meditation practice can serve two key purposes. First of all, if it is a location already woven into your daily schedule, it will serve as a regular reminder of your new routine. Once you get into the pattern of returning to that particular place or posture, the practice of meditation starts to feel more and more comforting, like home. Second, seeking out a place of calm will help you to tune in more readily to the rhythms of your mind and body, allowing your mind to switch off from external distractions and bringing your attention entirely into the present moment. Although you can always expect the occasional interruption to your practice, it's much easier as you're starting out to minimise the distractions where possible so that you learn to be comfortable with stillness.
Setting an intention
It's useful to set an intention before beginning your regular practice, as this will serve as a reminder of what you'd like to achieve from your meditation experience, should your mind begin to wander. Intentions serve as a gentle way of steering the conversations in your head, especially as you begin a new meditation practice. It's important to remember that despite popular belief, meditation isn't about switching off memories and daydreams, and wiping the mind clear of thoughts. Rather, memories and thoughts will come and go, and in that sense intentions too will continue to pass by your minds' eye during your meditation, serving as signposts on your journey. An intention can be as simple as a word, for instance, 'peace', 'presence', or 'happiness', or it can be a statement of how you feel or want to feel, such as 'I feel vibrant, healthy and aware of my surroundings'. By having an intention to return to, you won't get lost or feel a sense of failure if you happen to stray from the path you initially intended to tred.
Deciding on the narrative
Building on your intention for your practice, you can choose your own adventure when it comes to the length, style, method and story of your meditation. If you're not sure what resonates for you, a good place to start is by downloading a free app to guide you through your meditation, such as Insight Timer. It has 1,000s of free meditations that will help you to uncover your favourite way to meditate. For me personally, I love to meditate just before going to bed. I like being in a reclined position, so I can signal to my body that it's time to rest, and I'll find a guided meditation that runs for anything between 5 to 30 minutes, depending on how tired I'm feeling. I like following yoga Nidra, or chakra meditations, and will often incorporate my Reiki hand postures to help ground me in my practice. Ultimately, there is a beautiful freedom that comes with designing your own meditation experience, and it's so important to find a style that works for you. When you find it, it will feel like coming home. #meditation #intentionsetting