So you are interested in meditation but don’t know where to start or are struggling to understand if you are doing it right. Well, firstly I want to congratulate you on being open to a meditation practice! I first began mediating in my early 20’s (in 30 now) so it has been a long road of continuous practice. I will say that in the beginning I found myself trying everything! That is totally okay for you to do the same thing — it is so important for you to find the method that works for you. Here are my 5 tips to get you started and hopefully root you in a practice that makes you want to continue expanding.
Keep it Simple: At first you will be bombarded with practice types and it is totally okay to experience those but one thing I always came back to, was simplicity. When you first begin a practice you are trying to build a foundation so that you can build upon that. If you try to build a roof before you have the 2×4’s up the roof will have no purpose. Build that foundation and then allow yourself to expand on it.
Get comfortable: Do whatever you have to do to get as comfortable as you can without falling asleep. If you want to sit then do that! If you prefer to lay down thats okay too! It can be outside, inside, in the bath tub, or in an infrared sauna. Whatever works for you! One tip I can share here is remove your shoes so you can be as grounded as possible. Energy needs to be able to flow through your entire body including those feet!
Focus on your breath: This goes back too keeping it simple – there are MANY breathing techniques but deep meditative breathing is key here. In and out through your nose. Deep breathing would be in nose, out mouth, but for meditation I have found that nose for both works best. Focusing on your breath is especially important for those thoughts rolling around in your mind. The goal is not to remove all thoughts from your mind and sit there in complete silence. This is especially true when you are starting your practice. Focus on WHAT thoughts are coming into the forefront. Allow all thoughts to come and thank them for making their presence known and let them go. Don’t ignore them and get frustrated with yourself because they will keep coming back until you recognize them. When you hear those thoughts whirling around recognize them and then focus back on your breathing. In the beginning I found counting to be very helping to get myself back to center. When I found my brain going wild I would focus on breath and count 1,2,3,4,5.
Be patient and compassionate with yourself: You are doing better today than you were yesterday – even if you can’t see it right now. You will! Good things take time and give yourself time to see that. Please don’t compare yourself to others and their meditative practice either. It is important to not let comparison rob you of recognizing how amazing you are actually doing!
Write down your experiences: This is great for anyone who struggles with seeing their growth! I would write down how I felt after each meditation and how long I meditated. It is a great tool to look back on and see how far you have come in your practice.
Meditation is a great way to combat anxiety, want to improve mental clarity, increase your self awareness, sleep better, and decrease over all stress. I hope you find this helpful and consider starting your meditation practice. Even just 2 min a day is progress!