Meditation is a practice that’s applied for calming the mind and achieving a state of consciousness that’s completely different from the normal waking state. It involves focusing and concentrating the mind on a specific thought, object or activity to achieve a mentally calm and emotionally stable state.
According to Dr. Judson Brewer, Director of Research and Innovation at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center, “Meditation is not about emptying our minds or stopping our thoughts, which is impossible. It’s about changing our relationships to our thoughts.”
Besides making the mind and heart feel calmer and more balanced, meditation also helps appease stress, stress-related health conditions, mental health issues, anxiety and depression.
It’s because of these benefits that more and more people are turning to meditation to boost or maintain various aspects of their well-being.
If you’re new to meditation and finding it challenging to maintain it as a regular practice, the following meditation tips will help you overcome common impediments that many beginners come across:
Find Your Space:
The first thing to do is to set up a meditation space. You can set it up anywhere you want – a room in the house, a corner in the garden or a spot on the terrace.
Space should be calm, quiet, and not too cluttered. The right space will create a comfortable atmosphere and help set the right mood for meditation.
Choose a time when the mind is calm. Try to meditate first thing in the morning. This would give an ideal start to your mornings and refresh and energize you to tackle the day ahead.
Whatever time you pick for meditation, set aside the same time every day so that a habit will start to form. Once you consistently keep the same practice routine for 30 days, you’re less likely to skip it.
If you have time, exercise a little before you start meditating. Doing a few yoga poses can relax the body & mind and prepare you for meditation. The Energization Exercises of Paramhansa Yogananda are also highly recommended.
Forget the stereotypical belief that people should sit cross-legged to meditate. Just pick a position that’s comfortable for you.
Keep your back erect, head straight, chest raised, arms & legs uncrossed, feet flat on the floor and your eyes closed. Place a cushion or rolled-up towel underneath the backside, so that you’re comfortable.
Set realistic goals:
Instead of trying to meditate for one hour every once in a while, meditate for 5-15 minutes every day. Meditating for a short duration every day will ensure that you’re less likely to skip the practice.
You can gradually increase the time. One longer sitting (2 to 3 times a week) will slowly develop a habit of longer daily meditation. Another way to increasing meditation time is to practice meditation with a group. This will help you meditate longer than you normally do alone.
Breathe deeply and naturally during meditation. While meditation does involve focusing on the breath and using it as an anchor for the mind, don’t alter it in any way.
Naturally, regulate your breathing to relax the body and mind. Practice breathing exercises to relax: inhale, tense the whole body, exhale and relax. Do this exercise 2 or 3 times.
Then, do some measured breathing: inhale, hold, and exhale. Do this 6 to 12 times as per your comfort. You should also use Indoor Air Purifying Plants if you are doing the meditation inside your home.
Get comfortable with negative emotions:
People who are just beginning the practice and even those who have been doing it for years, every so often experience negative emotions like restlessness, anxiety and irritation while practising.
Instead of trying to battle these emotions, give in to them and allow them to come and go. Over time the mind learns to recognize these emotions but gets accustomed to not getting caught up in them.
Keep a relatively empty stomach:
Whether you’re meditating at home or in office, it is recommended to practice on a relatively empty stomach.
The logic behind this is that, if you meditate just after having a meal, you might dose off while meditation. Similarly, don’t meditate when you’re hungry.
Hunger pangs will make your mind wander and keep you from meditating. The best time to meditate is two hours after a meal.
Open your eyes slowly and gently:
Once you’re through with your practice, don’t be in a rush to move your body or open your eyes.
Gradually open your eyes and take time to become aware of yourself and your surroundings.
Then slowly move your body and start getting ready for the day.
Besides meditation, there are many other healthy habits you can add to your morning routine.
Take a look at 8 Healthy Habits that can be accomplished in as little as five minutes.