How To Start Your Meditation Practice
In a world where we are constantly expected to be "on", turning to mindfulness and meditation can be an effective way to retrieve peace, a sense of self and calmness.
Meditation is a practice of quieting the mind. It has been practiced in Buddhism and yoga for thousands of years and nowadays the practice of meditation is way more available to us thanks to knowledge expansion and readily available meditation apps that allow you to tune in and reset for as long as you wish at any time of the day.
Starting a meditation practice can be daunting, especially if your mind is always running a marathon and you start getting itchy after a few seconds.
But if you've landed here, it's because you want to know more, and maybe, you are ready to give it another go :)
So here are a few tips to start a meditation practice:
Find a quiet peaceful place
A space that you enjoy and where you won't be disturbed. Think about a bench in a park that you like going to, your bed, a cushion... The world is your oyster!
Sitting on the floor provides you with stability and facilitates the opening of the body but it is not comfortable for everyone (and everyday). Try raising your hips by sitting on a comfortable chair or cushion. this way your spine will be in a more sustainable and safe alignment (this is also better to maximise deep breathing).
You will probably be put off by starting with a 45 minutes session. Start with 2-5 minutes and increase the time as you want. Even a couple of minutes of calmness can give you huge benefits.
Focus on your breath and only your breath
Close your eyes. Start by taking long inhales and exhales. You can count 1-2-3-4 for each inhale and exhale and then increase that count. Notice as your mind starts to settle and quieten down. If your thoughts start to wonder, try not to judge yourself for it and instead gently bring your focus back to your breath.
Don't expect enlightenment on day 1! It takes an incredible amount of practice to get to a meditative state but if you manage to come out of your practice feeling calm and positive, this is a big win!
As you keep practicing you will start noticing how your breath is different sometimes, how your shoulders feel relaxed, how your mind feels light... Every meditation session will be different.
Meditation doesn't require hours of commitment. Start small and you will be surprised by how taking a moment to just breathe will change your outlook on life.
Try guided meditations
Guided meditations are a great way to start - there are plenty of Youtube videos with amazing teachers using a wide variety of meditation topics, from positivity to anxiety, stress, affirmations, breathing, healing...
I like to vary between Youtube and meditation apps, you can try the following apps:
- Meditation (from Downdog)
- Feel Better (previously Deliciously Ella, they have plenty of yoga and meditation content, on top of their yummy recipes).