Building a Meditation Practice

Curious about starting your own meditation practice? Here are some tips to help you on your way!

DEFINE YOUR INTENTION

The clearer you are about why you want to meditate, the easier it will be to commit to your practice and integrate it into your life. Get clear on what your intention is and remind yourself of it often.

POSTURE

If you’re new to meditation, I always suggest starting in an upright seated position on a chair or on the floor.

  • Take the time to ensure your spine and neck are aligned, straight and long

  • Gently draw your shoulders down and away from your ears

  • Place your hands wherever feels comfortable on your lap

  • Let your body be supported and relaxed.

You can meditate with your eyes open or shut, depending on what you feel most comfortable with. Eyes open? Keep a soft, gentle gaze on one spot, e.g. your knees or the floor in front of you. Avoid the temptation to move your eyes around.

DURATION

I’m a big advocate of starting small with a one-minute meditation everyday, then progressively working your way up to longer meditations.

This approach makes it easy to overcome the “I don’t have time to meditate” obstacle that many new meditators face.

WHEN TO MEDITATE

This varies for everyone; the key is dedicating uninterrupted time to yourself and your practice, wherever that makes sense in your schedule.

My favourite time to meditate is in the morning as it sets a good tone for the day and I am more alert than the evening.

WHERE TO MEDITATE

You can really meditate anywhere, but when you’re getting started, finding a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted is helpful. Places I’ve meditated: at home, in toilet stalls, on the street, at work, on my yoga mat, in parks, on buses, trains, planes and boats, at events, on mountains and in the dentist’s chair!

MEDITATION MYTH-BUSTING AND TROUBLESHOOTING

“I don’t know how to meditate/I can’t meditate”

Meditation is simple; it’s about bringing attention to how you’re feeling, physically and mentally. It’s the practice itself that can be difficult (see point below) as it requires discipline and perseverance. All good things require work, right?

“Meditation should be relaxing”

Meditation is often marketed as a great way to relax, and whilst some meditation sessions can help us feel that way, the reality is that each meditation experience is different. Some sessions might feel easier or more pleasant than others, some more difficult and uncomfortable; what an apt metaphor for life, really.

The goal of meditation is to sit with, observe and accept whatever you’re experiencing in each moment without trying to change it - whether that be pleasant or unpleasant thoughts or sensations.

“My mind is too busy to meditate”

We all have busy minds. As humans, we’re wired to constantly evaluate our experience based on data we take in from each of our senses. We constantly narrate our life: “What was that noise? Am I safe? I really don’t feel good about how I handled that conversation earlier”, etc.

Thoughts are completely normal in meditation, we all experience them, but the trick is to let them come and go - without judging them - just as your breath comes and goes, or as sensations come and go in your body. Our brains aren’t really designed to be quiet.

Each time a thought pops up, it presents an opportunity to bring your awareness back to the focus of your meditation - that’s the true exercise. Meditation is not about quieting the mind, it’s about connecting and paying attention and being curious about your experience.

“I fall asleep whenever I meditate”

Experiment with different postures (sitting up right instead of lying down), meditating in a different environment or at a different time of day, when your energy levels are higher. If that doesn’t change things, maybe you just need more sleep! If it helps: I’ve fallen asleep in many a meditation class and at least one person falls asleep in every class I teach.

WAYS TO MEDITATE

  • When you’re just getting started, it’s often easier to listen to instructions rather than relying on our own internal dialogue. Using an app or a recorded meditation is a great way to start.

  • Attend a meditation class.

  • DIY it with this simple meditation: bring your awareness to the flow of breath entering and leaving your nostrils. Each time a thought or distractions arises, bring your attention back to your breath.

HAVE A QUESTION?

Feel free to drop me a note.

WANT TO MEDITATE WITH ME?

I offer a limited number of one-on-one and workplace meditation sessions. Feel free to reach out for more information.