To celebrate and support world meditation day we asked three of our teachers and regular meditators for their tips on how to build a regular meditation practice.
Number 1. Comfort is the name of the game! Sit on as much height (block, cushion etc) as required so pelvis doesn't tip back and knees are not higher than the hips and get feet and legs comfortably arranged... even have a wall behind you to lean against or sit on a chair if the floor is not comfortable!
Number 2. - you don't need to stop the mind thinking! Let that go as its the nature of the mind to want to think... just don't identify so much with thinking, let it be more in the background as you focus on the object of your meditation, which might be the breath or a mantra for example. Let any thoughts be like clouds that instead of you getting upset about and involved with and reacting to - you just let them drift by... and eventually you might find that the busyness of the mind starts to quieten as you turn your attention elsewhere...
Always take time to make sure you can sit comfortably. This may mean getting a couple of extra cushions to help support the knees, or even a blanket to put under the ankles.
Sitting upright in a chair is fine if sitting cross legged is not accessible.
Meditation doesn't have to be too long. It's more important to establish a routine to be still, whether it be for 5 or 10 minutes a day.
Create a space to sit either looking out of a window or a corner in a room where you could put a photo, candle or vase of flowers.
Once you are settled commit yourself to staying still, even if a cool breeze comes through the window or you hear sounds outside the room, and start to tune into your senses. Think of your meditation practice as having 3 phases.
- The first is becoming still and going within.
- The second is about listening inwardly, as though you were waiting to hear a message.
- Part three is your transition back into the world after your meditation, continuing to feel the energy you are made of and continuing to listen inwardly as you get up and move into your daily routine.
Those are just a few ideas to start a meditation practice.
Posture - Be comfortable, sit on something - anything to allow the knees to drop below the hips - this encourages growth of the spine. Lift subtly through the back of the heart space and soften the shoulders.
Breathe - spaciously with no forced effort, cultivate steadiness and ease through even inhales and exhales.
Allow - The mind thinks, that's it's job. Remember this when it wanders - it's only doing it's job, try not to be critical, treat the mind like a small child, with kind discipline and bring it back to the breath.
Begin - Just start sitting and breathing, don't over think it. 5 minutes twice a day, then build up to 10, 15 and so on. I suggest 20 minutes twice a day as ideal and practical given our modern lifestyles.
Enjoy - savour the benefits - improved focus and memory, increased ability to respond to challenges rather than react - less drama.