Deep cleansing breaths, clearing the mind, centering and grounding yourself sounds like bliss, doesn’t it? Or, perhaps, it sounds like a far-fetched dream, something entirely out of reach.
That’s the reality for many of us when someone utters the word meditation.
But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can meditate sitting up, lying down, for 10 seconds, or 10 hours, outside or indoors, with an app. Because what it comes down to is: meditation is your practice. And this is why finding which meditation routine is right for you is so important.
So, as you read along, find the meditation tips that serve you, and dive in at your own pace!
Ease Into It
Sometimes, you just want to hit the ground running and give your new habit all you’ve got. I get it. I’m a high-energy individual, which is how I usually operate. However, I must dissuade you from doing this when it comes to meditation.
It’s not a competition, after all. It’s a practice meant to serve and help you over the long run. Thus, it’s more important to set yourself up for long-term success. This isn’t something you want to frustrate you. Instead, you want it to nourish you.
So, start small. Maybe just meditate once a week, for one minute, then add another day and a minute as you begin to feel more comfortable with practicing mindfulness.
Find Your Time
You may have heard the advice that meditation in the morning is best. While there is some truth to that morning meditation routine, it’s not always the best time for you. I try my best to avoid the phone for the first hour after I wake up, but I am a slow mover in the morning, and I’m just not ready to dive into a meditation session or even a journaling practice first thing in the morning. I like to sit with my coffee, listen to music or a podcast, and then journal, meditate, or practice yoga afterward.
I also really love mid-afternoon meditation. By the afternoon, my energy levels are slipping, and my focus is slightly off. So, a quick 5-10 minute meditation is so refreshing.
Then, there’s the before-bed meditation session. Calming your central nervous system with a soothing bedtime meditation is another great daily routine with the added benefit of improving your sleep quality. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, mid-afternoon, or before bed, you know what works best for you is best when trying to figure out your routine.
Create Your Space
After you have found your perfect meditation time, next up is creating your meditation space. Find that cozy corner of your room where the sunlight beams through and warms your face, or maybe head to the basement where you know nobody will disturb you.
Take your time setting up the space. Find a meditation cushion that speaks to you and supports a healthy spine. And if sitting upright isn’t for you, find a yoga mat to lay on and a warm blanket to cover you.
It’s your meditation session, so it’s important to find a way to help you reach that peak relaxation. You can also alternate between using a meditation cushion or mat. Creating a space designated just for you helps make your daily meditation sessions enjoyable and easier to turn into a sustainable habit.
Meditation & Nature
On those days when you crave a new space, you can create your own meditation space in nature. It could be as simple as sitting under a tree, closing your eyes, and just focusing on the wind gently blowing across your face, or you could even add a little movement and go on a meditation walk.
When I go on a meditation walk, I like to do so without listening to music, simply paying attention to my surroundings, or focusing on my breathing as I walk. It can be as simple as focusing on the birds chirping or the sound of pebbles moving beneath your feet. Others may enjoy adding their headphones to the walk and noticing the sights of leaves blowing, or if you’re lucky to be near the ocean, sit on the beach and watch the waves move into shore.
Whatever you choose, a meditation walk is a beautiful mindfulness practice that helps reduce stress by combining exercise and meditation and is a great way to calm the mind.
Remember the Benefits!
Building a daily meditation practice can sometimes feel overwhelming and a bit like work which is why it’s worth reminding yourself why you’re doing it. While it should eventually feel nourishing and not so much like a chore, during the beginning stages, when you’re asking yourself, “why am I doing this again?” there are plenty of reasons why you should meditate.
Ultimately, one of the most significant benefits of meditation is the sense of inner peace one begins to feel. It’s funny to think that quieting your mind and focusing on your breath can make your life feel so much better, especially when you are more on the type A end of the spectrum. You may be thinking, “but I need to come up with solutions to all of my problems,” but when you silence your mind, you’ll find that later, what really matters is revealed, and those problems that were causing you so much stress, don’t seem so important anymore.
Countless studies have shown how meditation reduces stress and anxiety, and there’s still much to discover regarding its incredible healing powers.
Be Kind, But Don’t Give Up!
It’s OK to have an off day. It happens to the best of us. The important thing to remember when building a meditation routine is that when you forget to meditate one day, try your best to meditate the following day.
It’s also important to remember that not every meditation session will be perfect. You’ll have days when your mind is racing, and you can’t block out your thoughts. You may only be able to get into that meditative state for 10 seconds. That’s OK. You still gave your mind and body 10 seconds of rest.
Celebrate that. The more you focus on those positive moments of meditation, the easier it will be to get into deeper meditative states. It’s not a competition, and every day and everybody is different.
There are so many different ways to meditate, so it makes sense to try a few different types of meditation and figure out what works for you. Whether following an online session, a guided meditation, practicing savasana at the end of your yoga practice, using a meditation app like Retreat Sounds, listening to binaural beats, or simply watching a leaf blow in the wind, there are multiple ways to meditate. If one doesn’t feel right for you, simply try a different meditation technique.
I would also encourage you to go back to any type that didn’t work for you on a particular day and see if changing the time, setting, or using a different teacher or music changes anything. Meditation is for you to explore and find what works best for you.