Last week we discussed a few meditation basics. Are you ready for more? Let's go!
While meditation can be very simple and obviously incredibly beneficial, there are several common mistakes and many misconceptions about meditation that you will want to avoid if you’re new to the practice and hoping to grow your knowledge. Meditation can bring you both mental and physical benefits. Use these tips when beginning to meditate and you’ll quickly become skillful at a practice you can enjoy for the rest of your life.
1. Sit comfortably. It’s not necessary to sit with your legs folded up like a pretzel. I'm almost certain that this was the first image that popped into your mind. Let me be the first to tell you, it isn't necessary. Any position that can be held comfortably for the planned time is good enough.
2. Use a timer. Without a timer, you’ll find yourself worrying about the time and continue to peek at the clock. Set a reliable timer and you won’t be as preoccupied with the time. Your focus should be on the present and your breathing. That's it!
3. Increase your meditation time by 5 minutes each week. Avoid the temptation to progress too quickly. You'll find yourself incredibly overwhelmed and feeling pressure that is unnecessary. This pressure isn't conducive to a mindful lifestyle. Ideally, you’ll look forward to your meditation sessions. Progressing too quickly causes restlessness and agitation.
4. Consider getting expert assistance. There are many free opportunities to meditate with others. Look for local meetups or contact your local Buddhist temple. With so many people meditating, you’re bound to find an expert willing to help. I personally love the Shine app's guided meditations. You can find apps that aid in meditation in the article linked here.
5. Take every opportunity to meditate. Meditating at home under perfect conditions is great practice, but the ultimate goal is to have the ability to meditate anywhere. A skilled meditator can meditate on a 99-degree packed, loud, smelly, New York subway. Also, meditation isn't always silent and isolated. I currently teach meditative dance classes that allow individuals to gain clarity while experiencing movement and music. It's beautiful!
6. Be persistent. If you’re meditating each day with the full intention of improving, you’ll eventually become a skilled meditator. Remain consistent. Even when you feel as if you're not meeting your internal expectations. You can do this!
7. Stretch first. Your meditation position should be comfortable and easy. If your position feels like a stretch, you won’t be comfortable. Stretch first. It may be helpful to consider doing a light yoga session before moving forward. Your practice will likely get you in tune with your breathing, so that you are fully prepared to take a deep dive into your meditative efforts.
8. There’s no reason to be concerned about your hands. Just place your hands comfortably on your lap. Allowing your hands to be lower can eventually pull down on the shoulders and become uncomfortable. Don't overthink this. Relax and allow yourself to be in this moment.
Have you tried meditating yet? How'd it go? Let me know below!