Soooo I’ll admit, I was a skeptic at first – a HUGE skeptic. I just didn’t really understand the phenomenon of meditation and to be honest, I don’t think I was ready to try to understand it…
+ Isn’t that just some hippy-dippy thing that people pretend to do and pretend that they’re invested in just to sound cool?
+ How on earth does someone actually just STOP and do nothing except sit and be with themselves for an extended period of time?
+ How do you just quit social media, stop checking in, disconnect and be with you & only you?
+ How do you get your brain to turn off, shut down, be quiet?
+ What do you even do?
Those were my thoughts on meditation before I started trying it for myself. And I’m sure many of you thought/think(?) that way, too… don’t lie! I was so totally, incredibly overwhelmed at the thought of meditating and being alone with myself, but now it’s one of my most favourite parts of the day, seriously.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you would know that I suffer from anxiety & sometimes it’s hard to keep it in check. I’ve found that through meditating ( and other things that we’ll get to in future posts! ) I’ve become more in control overall and in sticky situations, I can rely on some sort of meditation to get me through.
I have been curious about meditation practices since I started doing yoga, but I never really thought that I could be the person that meditates on the regular and loves it… But now I’m the girl who cannot wake up and start my day without meditation. I also practice it before I sleep at night because I LOVE it that much.
Clearly I am not a meditation expert, but I am pretty passionate about it and I wanted to share some of my tips and tricks with you in case you are curious about meditation but don’t really know where to begin.
/ pick a place:
While it is possible to meditate anywhere ( and yes, I mean ANYWHERE! ), it is definitely most successful and peaceful in a comfortable, quiet space. When you’re starting out, you should try to practice in a place where you don’t feel overwhelmed, awkward, embarrassed, uncomfortable, and unsafe. I love to practice in my bedroom or living room. These are the two rooms in my home in which I feel the most comfortable… plus these two rooms have the comfiest places to sit / lay. Usually my bedroom is the easiest space for me to meditate in and it just makes the most sense, since I wake up and meditate, then meditate and fall asleep. By meditating on my bed or on the floor beside my bed, I don’t have far to go / any excuse to not practice!
/ start out small & work your way up:
Sometimes reading other people’s stories online can be intimidating. How the heck does someone sit and meditate for 20, 30, 60 minutes? I was totally overwhelmed at the thought of sitting down and meditating for 10 minutes, let alone the amount of time that dedicated and experienced meditators were practicing for. I realized that while their stories were inspiring, I wasn’t going to sit down and meditate for 60 minutes right away. I started out with 3 to 5 minute meditation practices and I’ve slowly worked my way up to 10 to 30 minute practices. Some days I know that 30 minutes isn’t ideal, so I opt for a 10 minute practice and this has been working for me. It can be intimidating, but just start out small and work your way up & it won’t be as overwhelming as you thought it was at first.
/ find your thing:
Some people like to have beads to play with / hold, while others like to have incense burning, a candle lit or quiet music playing. Some people like to sit cross-legged, others like to lay down. Some people may like to have essential oils ( lavender or peppermint oils are apparently great for meditation practices ) or use a guided meditation practices. You need to explore all of the ins and outs of the practice of meditation and find what works for you. For me, I know I prefer to lay down flat on my back with my eyes closed and my arms and legs out straight ( savasana for all you yoga junkies out there ) & I like to have some sort of white noise in the background. Sometimes I like the white noise to be a guided meditation, while other times, I want to do my own thing so I just play quiet zen music in the room. I prefer a dark space, with lots of pillows and a candle burning. I haven’t experimented with anything else yet, but I’m just getting started in my meditation practices.
+ find my favourite guided meditation here and my favourite zen music here.
/ don’t allow yourself to get too comfortable:
As with everything in life, we should constantly be pushing ourselves and breaking boundaries. If you find that your meditation practice is becoming something that you don’t really have to focus on any longer, you may be too comfortable and it might not be benefitting you as much as it could be if you pushed yourself a bit more. I really like guided body scans as a way of waking my body up in the morning, but sometimes I find that they aren’t really doing much for me. The app that I use has body scans from 3 minutes to 30 minutes and I found that I got stuck between the 10 to 20 minute mark for a while. I felt like I was kind of plateauing… so I switched it up. I didn’t do a body scan for a few days and now I alternate between the lengths. Some days I opt for a 3 minute guided body scan and a longer solo-meditation practice, while other days I do a 30 minute guided body scan and that’s all. Routines are key in almost all aspects of my life – except with meditation. I am constantly switching it up and I love it.
/ most importantly… don’t give up:
You’re not going to sit down one day and become the most successful meditator. Meditation takes time, patience, practice and a LOT of work. It is really hard to completely shut your brain off and focus on nothing, but you can’t give up. There are going to be times that you find it harder to sit and focus on your breath and being with yourself, pushing away the distractions and that’s okay. It’s important to keep pushing through the not-so-great meditation sessions in order to become successful at it. It will definitely pay off in the end & you just might end up falling completely in love with it.
I am seriously so into meditation right now. Like I said, it’s really helping with my anxiety and I also find that it has helped to make my sleep schedule more regular. I feel more awake in the morning after I meditate and I am not such a grump when I wake up early.
If you haven’t started meditating yet, I totally encourage you to try! It is so rewarding and I promise it’s not as intimidating as it seems.
Anybody out there big into meditation? If you are, leave me some of your tips to enhance my practice!