5 Tips to Start Meditating
Happy World Meditation Day! On the day we celebrate all things meditation, why not take it as a starting point to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. If you already meditate regularly, maybe try meditating twice a day and see how quickly your life changes. To help you get started we asked Restoration Yard's new Meditation & Qi Gong teacher - Suzi Burns - for her top 5 tips to start meditating.
Meet Suzi Burns
We have around 70,000 thoughts every day. Meditation allows us to quieten those thoughts in our ever-busy minds. By focusing on our breath or a phrase or an object we can turn the dimmer switch on our thoughts to low. The more often we tap into that quietening the better equipped we are to face the rigours and challenges of everyday life. Time and again meditation has been scientifically proven to make our lives better. A regular meditation practice can improve our mental and physical health, while promoting our emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Meditation is not a religion, or a philosophy or a cult. Meditation is also not about sitting in a cave or in a weird position. The joy of meditating is not about becoming a good meditator, but in helping to make the rest of our day, when our eyes are open, so much better…
Here are my five top tips to start meditating or maintain your current meditation practice:
1. Be comfortable
Comfort is queen. If you are not comfortable your mind will wander to how uncomfortable you feel during your meditation AND you are unlikely to want to do it again. Find a place where you can sit or lie down and not be disturbed. You can sit on a meditation cushion on the floor, but you can also simply sit on a chair. Try and keep your spine upright, to the extent it is comfortable for your body, and if you are on a chair aim to keep your feet flat on the ground.
2. Develop a routine
It is called your meditation practice for a reason. Your brain is a muscle just like every other in your body and if you want your meditation practice to stick, it is worth the effort to get into a routine which works for you and your life and your commitments.
The best time to meditate is first thing in the morning. It sets you up for your day ahead and it can be difficult to stop and carve out a little quiet time once the dog is looking for his breakfast, the kids can’t find their homework and the radio is on. If first thing in the morning does not work for you find a time which does – this is your practice. If you miss a day don’t beat yourself up. Just acknowledge you missed meditation today and you will try again tomorrow.
3. Start small
If you have never meditated before don’t set yourself up for failure by jumping in with a long meditation and then tell yourself you can’t meditate. If you can breathe, you can meditate. Start with five minutes in the morning and five minutes late afternoon/ early evening. (If you don’t think you have ten minutes spare in each day, pause and think back to how much time you spent scrolling on social media today.) Short, regular, consistent meditations are the best way to build your practice.
4. Keep things simple
You might think, am I doing it right? Your breath is the bridge between your mind and your body. Slow your breathing down and you will slow your thoughts down. Focus on your breath, try and inhale and exhale for the count of five. Visualise cool, refreshing, invigorating blue air coming into your nose, down into your throat and deep into your lungs. Now feel the exhale rise from the depths of your tummy all the way up to your nose and this time the air is pink and warm. Set the timer on your phone and simply repeat this for five minutes. You are now meditating…
5. Learn with a qualified teacher
Meditation apps are great, but it is important to learn the foundations of a solid meditation practice with a certified teacher. Look for a teacher registered with an accredited meditation school; do not be afraid to ask a teacher about their training. Meditation classes provide the perfect opportunity to try different types of meditation. A meditation teacher can lead different styles of classes, such as mantra, mindfulness, visualisation or contemplation. (And for those who feel they cannot sit still during meditation there is a practice called Qi Gong (chi gong) which is meditation in motion.) Guided classes are also a great way to meet people who can encourage us on our meditation journey.
Come and join me on Thursdays from 11.15am-11.45am in The Studio at Restoration. I would love to help you get started on your meditation journey. You can find out more about my background and my meditation class in The Studio at Restoration Yard here.
There is no downside to meditating. Give yourself permission to look after your mind and body each and every day. You won’t regret it!
Here’s to your meditation practice, your health and happiness!
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