Create your meditation practice: 8 tips for beginners
Meditation used to seem impossible to me. Actually, I never even thought to make it a daily habit until 2012, when I enrolled in Baptiste Yoga’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution at my local yoga studio.
The program brings awareness to asana, meditation and inquiry. Before the first week was up, though, I felt defeated. I couldn’t sit still and the thoughts in my head would not stop. So, I ditched meditation.
I did the program a second time, and that’s when I made a personal commitment to meditate. Now, I meditate at least five minutes everyday, and some days it lasts 15 minutes or more. The habit increases my ability to focus, adds overall balance to my life, and helps me see life for what is really versus what I’ve been creating in my head. Here are eight tips to try as you begin to create your own meditation practice:
Find Your Seat: There’s a perception that you must sit with your legs crossed in a certain way to be meditating correctly. “I can’t sit like that,” is a common theme I hear from people beginning a meditation practice. Actually, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. You can even sit on a pillow or on the edge of a chair. The idea is to create a comfortable, powerful seat, with your hips above your knees. Explore what works for you.
Be Flexible: Try meditation throughout your day. Most people will meditate in the morning or in the evening, but don’t get stuck in the mindset that you have to meditate at the same time or in the same place every single day. Even when you find a time that works for you, life will throw a wrench in that plan, so have some flexibility with your new habit to help you stay on track.
Give Up Judgment: There are days when I settle into my meditation and the next thing I know 15 minutes have passed. I open my eyes with a clear mind, and a clearer understanding of what I need to focus my attention on and what I need to take my attention off of. Then there are days where every second seems difficult and I just want to give up. It is important that you do not judge your meditation practice on those tough days.
Make It A Priority: Just like sending an email to a client, stopping at the grocery store, or picking up your dry cleaning, make your meditation a priority. When you make meditation a priority, your list of excuses why you cannot find the time to set aside to mediate will get shorter.
Get A Buddy: Grab a friend and take them along for the meditative journey. You can use each other to stay on track. You do not have to meditate in the same place, or even at the same time to hold each other accountable. Just a simple text, phone call, or email is enough to give and receive support as you begin creating a steady meditation practice.
Celebrate Your Victories: Just like a yoga class or a 10-mile run, meditation can seem daunting at times. It’s on the days that it seems impossible that you must celebrate your victories. Even when you only get a few minutes of meditation, celebrate the fact that you even had to courage to sit down and be with yourself at all.
Tune In, Not Out: Use meditation to access the connection to your physical body. Tune into the way your hands feel on your legs, the way your sitting bones are connected to the floor or to the seat. This is your chance to tune into the present moment; don’t check out until your meditation timer goes off.
Be In Observation: Meditation is an opportunity for you to be in observation of your life. As you sit, do not try and silence the thoughts in your head; do not make them right or wrong. Allow the thoughts to enter, acknowledge them, and then allow them pass. I like to imagine my thoughts entering my vision on a train. I see the train and then the thought continues to move out of my vision.
Brittany Everett is the owner of Grace & Glory Yoga in Fishtown. Grace & Glory Yoga Fishtown offers a vigorous physical practice that is adaptable for every body type. This Baptiste-inspired power yoga creates a heat that heals from the inside out. The entire community at GGY Fishtown believes in the power of human connection and puts emphasis on living a bold and courageous life.