You've heard everyone talking about it. You've seen the books on it (maybe even read them, too!), and perhaps you even have a few apps for it on your phone. Meditation; that sacred practice of inner silence. You've heard about its host of benefits; how life changing this process can be for us mentally, physically, and spiritually.
All that praise and still haven't found yourself entering into the practice? Not enough time in the day? Is your house too chaotic to find a moment of quiet or stillness? Not sure how to do it?
We've all been there, myself included. Admittedly so, meditation has been one of the hardest parts of the practice to incorporate into my own routine. I'm not just saying this to amp up the integrity of this post, but though the most challenging-- it has been unmistakably the most potent part of my practice thus far.
I wasn't always in this head space though. For years my practice was all about the physicality. How long can I hold the pose? Are we doing any core work? Is it a power flow? And though I definitely still enjoy a challenging flow, I've been able to develop a practice that is much more slow, steady, and nurturing.
And with this, I've been able to begin my journey of finding that balance of what we call in sanskrit 'sthira and sukha,' the effort and ease.
So, how do we get here? How do we begin to step into that journey of finding a meditation practice? I will tell you, and I promise it will be accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
1. Be open. Open to possibilities. Open to change. Open for discovery. It's the same concept for anything in life; be it a job, a relationship, a new food or travel adventure. No matter how much you've heard of the benefits or how enticing people have made it out to be, if your heart isn't in it or at least open and stemming from a place of non-judgement, you'll always find some excuse to do avoid the situation.
2. Find a time where you are alone with your own thoughts. Many people mistake the fact that we need to have a quiet corner in a room set with a big comfy meditation cushion complete with incense aflame in order to meditate. This couldn't be further from the truth! Find a time during your day where you tend to have a few moments to yourself and you aren't doing anything too mind-blowing, such as driving or taking public transportation on your commute to work, waiting at school to pick up your kids, when you are in the shower, first thing in bed when you wake up, etc.
3. Turn off/silence all technology and other outside distractions. Let yourself to dive into the practice without any form of distractions luring you away.
4. Set a realistic time goal. Diving into a 45 minute daily meditation practice when we are already juggling a ton on our plates is a bit unrealistic for most people. Instead of setting a rather daring goal, start slow and gradually increase your time if your schedule allows. I recommend starting with a 3 minute meditation, and gradually work up to 5-10 minutes. A little every day is better than none at all!
5. Just breathe. Truly. Listen to your breath. In our world today there are so many distractions that keep us from tuning into ourselves and acknowledging what it is our bodies are calling for. As you sit in your quiet time, begin to tune into your breath. Feel the body inhaling and exhaling; notice how your body feels as you become more aware of your physical body. Allow the mind to enter into stillness. And every time you notice your thoughts trailing to something else, always return to your breath. Let that awareness to infiltrate your mind, getting you clear on your intentions for your day.
Happy meditating, and Namaste!