Simple Steps to Start a Meditation Practice
Meditation, mindfulness, quiet time…whatever you want to call it, has changed my life! My yoga teacher told me a year ago that there was no more wasting time, meditation was fundamental for me and to keep my sanity…I needed to start that day! You see, I have always been one to take on a million things at once; three children, working, studying, volunteering at school and anything else I can get my hands on. I started that day. I started small, kept consistent and continue to keep an open mind.
Meditation, the practice of calming the mind, is a simple habit that can and should be incorporated into everyone’s life. We have become a society that thrives so much on “being busy” and overbooking ourselves that we have neglected taking any time to ourselves; time to contemplate things in our lives, reflect on all things good and bad and to just “BE.” We spend so much time, money and effort on our physical health (or outer appearance) that we often disregard our mental health (or inner appearance). Slowing down and allowing for time to be mindful and ceasing the constant fluctuations in our mind will create a ripple effect in life. It will create a sense of tranquility within thus creating a sense of tranquility on the outside. There is an old saying “beauty is skin deep.” Think of mindfulness the same way. The healthier we make our mind, the healthier we will be as a whole.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of calming the mind. Sitting with yourself and by yourself and learning to be in the present moment; detached from the past and free of worry for the future. It allows us to let go of stress or pain, improves our mental clarity and allows us to live with a greater sense of inner and outer peace in the present moment as we move through our busy lives.
Benefits to Meditation:
Meditation increases focus and concentration, reduces stress and anxiety, improves relationships and connections to others, increases immunity, improves digestion, decreases inflammation, lowers blood pressure, reduces cortisol (belly fat hormone), increases love, compassion and generosity, provides us with an inner peace, and creates self love and confidence.
How to Begin a Meditation Practice:
To make meditation successful, we have to make it as simple as possible. There are a few things that can help increase the success of our practice.
· Select a specific place to meditate daily
· Pick a time of day to meditate
· Set a realistic amount of time to meditate (even if it is just 1 minute, 3 minutes or 20 minutes)
· Close your eyes, sit tall, relax your shoulders
· Breathe in and out through the nose with steady even breath
· Choose an area of focus (the breath, the heart space or chest, the mind or forehead)
With all of this in mind, when it comes to meditation it is quantity over quality that will benefit you most. So if you can’t seem to get to your “meditation spot” during the day, then by all means stop, drop and meditate wherever you are. Even if it is closing your eyes for 1 minute in the shower, at your desk at work, waiting in line at the grocery store or as you are rocking your baby to sleep, it is better to get in a brief meditation practice than none. The benefits of meditation will occur with shorter, more consistent meditations rather than with longer meditations that are less frequent.
Remember to start small. Keep it simple. Make your meditation a practice that you do daily just like brushing your teeth. The practice of a consistent meditation will slowly change and strengthen your whole being.