How-to Guide: Meditation
Meditation… the idea of meditation to most can be pretty daunting but I’m here to tell you that it is the opposite thing from scary. The key to meditation is to make it your own. Everyone’s meditation practice is different and that’s what makes it a quite unique practice. Meditation triggers a relaxation cycle in the body – oxygen in, tension out – that not only feels great but also changes the way you react with stress. When you meditate regularly, you’ll find that small irritations and big challenges don’t hit you as hard as they use to; you’re a little calmer, and a little nicer. Meditation gives you a great place to put your overactive mind when you’re replaying events or feeling anxious about what’s to come. Once you get into it, meditation is like a tool you have in your back pocket. You can use it anytime, anywhere, to rest, relax, and restart.
Before you Start.
1. Set a clear intention. What is your motivation?
Are you meditating to manage stress or sleep better? Or is your primary goal to develop qualities such as patience, empathy and generosity? Keep it positive and light. Here are a few examples of intentions that you can use. (and don’t overthink the word ‘intention’ – it’s just a goal, what you want to achieve).
Tip: Use ‘I am’ statements. Using ‘I am’ is like giving your subconscious a command.
I am focusing on what matters.
I am nourishing my body.
I am opening my heart and mind to learning something new today.
I am loving and respecting my body.
I am being mindful.
2. Pick a convenient time and comfortable seated position.
Pick a time that’s convenient for you. I know how hard it is to find even a few minutes to yourself but try and find peaceful time such as once the kids are in bed, during the day maybe on your lunch break or in your car just before work. You’ll also need to find a comfortable position and do your best to find a position where your spine is straight with your neck and shoulders relaxed, and your eyes can be half open or shut during the meditation session.
INHALE, roll the shoulders up to your ears. EXHALE, roll them back and down.
3. Maintain a simple breath.
Breathing is a lot harder than you think so try not to overthink it! Start by placing your hands on your belly and feel every breath. Then gradually start to acknowledge the depth and length of each breath.
Breathing tip: Take a deep inhale and as you exhale count to 6, repeat 4 – 6 times. This will help calm your nervous system down and is a great technique to add throughout your day when you can feel your stress levels rising!
4. Don’t go to your thoughts. Let them come to you.
Our minds are constantly on the go so it can be hard to quieten the thoughts. Start by not reacting when thoughts come rushing in, just calmly refocus back on awareness of breath.
5. Give it time.
Start with small, manageable sessions. Start with 1 – 3 minutes of deep breathing. Yes it sounds super short, but if you are new to meditation these few minutes can feel like forever. The quality of your meditation is more important than the length.When you finish try not to rush off to the next activity. Slowly unwind yourself. Take some deep breaths and chill.