Cindy is a meditation expert who had tons of new members over the covid course. Via Zoom she gives workshops, tips, tricks and lessons on how to meditate. And today, she’s here to share her wisdom for beginners!
- Have no expectations
Meditation isn’t a quick fix to solve all of life’s problems. As with any other form of exercise, meditation takes effort, and it takes time to reap the benefits. Don’t try to enter each meditation with expectations of how you’ll feel afterwards, or that you’ll become a much better person. Instead, approach each time to meditate as an opportunity to get to know your own mind better.
2. Pick a time
Scheduling a time of day to meditate will make it easier to establish the habit and you’ll likely do it every day. For example, you can try combining meditation with a daily habit you already have, such as a bedtime diary or having a cup of coffee in the morning.
3. Create space
By choosing a room or space to meditate, the body and mind can be trained to feel more comfortable and you can more easily transition to meditation. Think of it the same way if you only go to your home office to focus on work – it’s important to set up a dedicated space to help you stay focused on meditation. Creating a meditation space and keeping it clean and uncluttered can make meditation feel special and important. It’s also an opportunity to create a space that nurtures a more relaxed state of mind; For example, you can add plants, find a cool spot near a window, and keep it a phone-free zone in your home.
4. Take time to wind down
Jumping straight into meditation after an intense work meeting may not be the best choice. After these stressful moments, it may be more difficult to sit still and calm your mind. So try to take a few minutes to unwind, then start meditation. This can help keep the mind from reverting to something said during the meeting and allow you to focus more clearly.
5. Take deep breaths
Taking a few deep breaths before starting your meditation can trigger a relaxation response, which is essentially the opposite of your nervous system fight or flight response. When the fight or flight response is triggered, the body prepares for danger, but when the relaxation response is stimulated, the body begins to feel safe and at ease. Then, when you begin the meditation, your breathing should return to a normal pace. Paying attention to your breathing will be important during meditation, and this type of conscious breathing can lower stress levels in the body.
6. Don’t move too much
It’s normal to feel restless and want to change positions during your meditation. If it’s too distracting or if you’re in pain, feel free to adjust. But don’t try to let your position become a distraction in itself. There are many different types of meditation you can try, and some allow for postures other than sitting, such as lying down or walking.
7. Just breathe
Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. The essence of mindfulness meditation is simply to bring your awareness back to your breathing over and over again. For example, if you notice a thought coming up, you can acknowledge that thought by saying “thought” and then come back to the feeling of breathing yourself. You can even label the inhalation as you inhale and “out” as you exhale to help you stay focused.
8. Be kind to yourself
At its core, meditation is about learning how to treat yourself kindly, regardless of what you’re experiencing at any given time. Just like exercising, some days will feel easier than others. This could be due to the amount of sleep you had the night before, or the amount of stress you didn’t have that week. Remember, it’s a meditation practice – it won’t always be perfect.
9. Reintroduce movement once done
Once you get to the end of your meditation, you can start moving your fingers and toes, then move your hands and feet and straighten your arms or legs. Meditation is about creating a break in your day, so try to allow yourself a few minutes before embarking on a stressful task. By starting your next activity calmly, it’ll be easier to bring the skills you learn through meditation into your daily life.
10. Acknowledge emotions
It’s normal to feel happy after meditating, but it’s also normal to feel a little depressed. Meditation brings out both good and bad emotions so that we can better recognise what our emotions really are – fleeting thoughts and feelings that come and go. Perhaps take a moment to thank yourself for practicing self-care, and be proud of the effort you have put in meditating.
11. Do it again the next day
The power of meditation is in creating a routine and making it a daily practice. Meditating for 15 minutes every day promotes a positive well-being and reduces stress levels. Daily meditation has a similar effect on the body as a vacation. So, even though meditation may not feel like a vacation when you have to do it every day, remember that keeping a routine is key to feeling these effects.
12. Try apps or classes
If it’s difficult for you to stick to a daily meditation practice on your own, you may want to try an app or class for further accountability and guidance. For example Headspace.
Love, Deem/Skye Lewis ❤
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