For a practice that helps you cultivate a calm and balanced state, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere, meditation is gold.
We’ve discussed the many benefits of meditation now let’s look at how you can incorporate this practice into your everyday life.
Our emphasis will be on setting up a simple, effective and sustainable seated meditation routine, here are the tips for achieving this:
1) Commit to your Plan A
First up, decide on your daily quota of practice time.
The good news is that 10 minutes a day, which also includes some initial stretching time, when practiced routinely, is a perfect starting point for developing a meditation habit.
If you have time for a caffeine pick me up, or a restorative cup of tea, then you have time to meditate.
Now, consider your options for when you can practice.
If you’re a morning person, then practicing while the family is still in bed can make a great start to the day.
If you can still count on nap time during the day, then this is an ideal time. Personally, I prefer to practice at the very end of the day, and find it a great wind down in preparation for sleep.
Once you’ve made your decision, set up some reminders such as post it notes around the house or an alert on your phone. The chaos of parenting can derail even the best laid plans, so take steps to help you remember to practice, and be flexible about fitting your 10 minutes in.
2) And… of course have a Plan B!
Setting up an achievable goal sets you up for long term success.
One of the most important things with exercise and meditation is that they simply become part of your life.
This can be hard at first so set goals that assist you on the days where motivation is a problem. Setting yourself to do just 10 minutes a day can help you lock in a routine.
It’s also helpful to simply get yourself started. This means that you can set aside 10 minutes a day, but give yourself permission to stop at 5 minutes if things are not working for you.
If you’ve had one of those days where meditation practice just didn’t eventuate, then take 5 conscious breaths deep into your belly, and try again tomorrow. Just adding this little punctuation to the end of your day will be helpful.
Being flexible about your meditation practice, while staying committed to it, is insightful in itself.
Be gentle, this is about giving you some breathing space, and not an opportunity to beat yourself up!
3) Choose your location
It’s really nice to have a special place where you can meditate, especially when you’re starting out.
You don’t need much space; a corner of a room works wonderfully. Make it a space you want to practice meditation in, a haven of sorts. Turning on a lamp, or lighting a candle or some incense can be a ritual that helps you cultivate a sense of calm before you’ve even begun.
Your meditation space also acts as a reminder to you throughout the day, that greater peace is really only ever a breath or two away.
4) Prepare your body and mind
Before you begin your meditation, take a few minutes to stretch your body. This will help you change your state, so that you can go from an external focus to an internal one.
It will also help you release body tension, prior to your seated meditation. Any of your favourite stretches will be great, but focus on stretching slowly and mindfully. Consider this a moving meditation, prior to your still meditation.
You can try very slowly rolling your shoulders five times in each direction; inhale deeply as you contract your shoulder muscles and the shoulders lift up, and exhale fully as you release your muscles and the shoulders sink down.
Imagine all tension leaving your body with each out breath.
Enjoy setting up your meditation space, and in my next post we will take a look at what a typical meditation session might consist of.
Do you currently practice meditation? What’s your favourite time of day and space to meditate in?