On Nov. 1st I woke up & thought to myself "Wow, the year is almost over! What in the world were my intentions for 2018?" and then I remembered, more meditation & more journaling. Right then and there I made a pledge to myself to meditate every day for the rest of the year and decided to share it with my online world. By stating my intention so publicly, I've been able to hold myself accountable, and now I have many new friends joining in on the challenge, sharing their own reminders to close the eyes and take a 5 minute time out every day.
If you are brand new to meditation, I promise it is much more simple than your mind makes it out to be. Below are 5 tips for starting and maintaining a meditation practice. They say it takes 40 days to create a habit; and one of my favorite reminders is that the time will pass whether you are growing or not, so you may as well start today.
1. Make time & space for your practice. Just like with any habit, creating ritual around the experience is key to engraining it into your daily life. Generally it's advised to meditate in the wee hours of the morning or before starting your day, but if you know you always need an uplifting midday break or a way to separate your day into night, consider those transitions in your day for your practice too. Really, it comes down to what will work best for you personally so you can stick with it! Set up a meditation station in your home, I suggest having a cushion, blanket or pillow to sit on, and a few non-distracting items that bring you peace. It doesn't have to be much; having a designated time and space will make you look forward to this savory moment in your day.
2. Start with breath work. Just like we warm the body for exercise, the brain needs proper toning to slow down for meditation. As you find your position and close your eyes; start by observing your breath. There's no need to try to figure out your breath or change anything, just observe its path in and out of the body. Automatically by focusing on the breath, the nervous system comes to a tranquil state. You can always start and stop here with the breath; this practice alone when done daily is potent.
3. Try a guided meditation. Meditation most simply defined means to focus attention on one object for an extended period of time, calming the fluctuations of mental activity. If meditation is foreign to you or you feel stagnant in your practice, guided meditations can be an extremely effective way to get the mind into those slower brain waves. Insight Timer has guided meditations for any intention you can imagine. My favorites are of course Jana Roemer's Yoga Nidras (yoga nidra = yogic sleep). Use the app to find a teacher you like, it makes it as easy as pressing play! This app also has a simple timer, ambient sounds, recorded discussions & a meditation tracker to help you stay committed.
4. Incorporate new techniques. Meditation doesn't have to mean complete stillness, we just want to find focus. Crystal gazing, or incorporating them by placing them on my body is obviously one of my favorites, but there's so many simple yet potent methods to shortcut the brain to that calm alpha state. Check out these simple meditation techniques working with the five senses by one of my favorite yoga instructors, Alice Zarka!
5. Attend a meditation class. In yoga, we learn about the obstacles and facilitators on the path of spiritual ascension, and that having likeminded friends in our lives can be one of the best ways to solidify lifestyle shifts. More and more meditation classes are popping up in yoga studios all over; check one out and feel the power of meditation magnifying and multiplying with a whole group on the same heart-felt wave length.
I hope these tips help you start or continue your meditation practice! Thank you for helping me stay committed to this practice. If you do download Insight Timer feel free to friend me by searching Kaitee Tyner.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if you'd like any more information on meditation by leaving a comment.
Image art work by Tayla