The super ingredients you need in your routine right now
Do you meditate? If you think you have to sit cross-legged chanting a mantra for hours on end or practise silence for days, then the chances are you don’t. But what if we told you meditation could be lying in the bath for 20 minutes free of digital screens, simply counting your breath on the train in the morning or finding a quiet moment in the office to just sit and do nothing? Do you meditate now? We’re always competing with one another to be the best, but the beauty of meditation is that it’s personal – there’s no right or wrong way to do it and that’s the first lesson for building your practice. Whether it’s your new-year goal or you want to delve deeper into yourself, here’s how to start.
LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS
The new year is a time for lofty goals and broken resolutions, and the reason these goals often go unmet is because they aren’t realistic. Just like yoga, meditation is a lifelong journey. Think of it as an exploration rather than an activity with a marker of success – because there just isn’t one. As soon as meditation becomes competitive or a goal you’re actively trying to meet, you’re no longer meditating. Trite as it may sound, the only way to move forward is to just be.
FIND YOUR BREATH
When you’re first starting out, it really helps to have something to focus on. Sitting in silence is kind of boring after, say, 30 seconds, which then opens the door to distraction and procrastination. Your breath is the easiest place to start. Find a comfortable seated or lying position (just don’t fall asleep) and count your breath. For beginners, inhale for four, exhale for four. Do this for as long as it takes to settle into your body and start to feel grounded. It doesn’t matter if you sit for two minutes or two hours: you’re still meditating.
JUST DO YOU
Self-care of any nature is personal, so one person’s meditation practice isn’t necessarily the same as the next person’s. For some, it’s about the ritual and indulgence of it; for others it’s about establishing routine and pushing through. If you’re of the former mindset, be flexible, but choose a time of day where meditating is realistic – in bed in the morning or at night is a good place to start. Light some palo santo or sage candles, dim the lights and get comfortable. Attach this action to something else, such as making a bedtime hot chocolate or turning off the light, and it’s easier to establish your routine. If you want to quickly tick ‘meditate’ off your to-do list, invest in an app that times your practice and block those ten minutes off in your calendar.
Experiment with sitting in a chair, standing, lying down or sitting against a wall for support. Use blankets, bolsters or blocks to prop yourself up and take the pressure off your joints. If you feel uncomfortable, it will be all you think about for the duration of your practice. Some people find closing their eyes claustrophobic and anxiety-inducing – if that’s you, simply soften your gaze by focusing on the tip of your nose, or gaze gently at a flickering candle.
Tags: meditation meditation techniques how to meditate beginners meditation wellness new year's resolution mindfulness relaxation tips