I look forward to the day when I can speak to years and years of meditation practice and how it has truly transformed my life, but we at this point it has been nearly a year (if not actually a year) since I made yoga a regular activity in my life. I still work every day to keep this practice regular, despite feeling it’s benefits, and I’m still trying to figure out my “sweet spot” in terms of time, duration, space, and content of my practice. But I recognize this is something that like the practice itself, is always something to work on.
With that said, I thought I would share how to get started meditating and how to make that transition period a bit easier for yourself:
Set the space
Admittedly, it may take a bit of time to figure out what works best for you. I usually prefer to sit up straight, back against the wall, and with my butt lifted on a bolster or block, but others prefer to do it in a chair or while laying down. Play around and see what works best for you.
This also includes setting around you. It can be really nice to light a candle or diffuse some essential oils while practicing. I also tend to get cold while meditating, so I always make sure to grab a blanket to wrap around my shoulders.
Pick a consistent time
Making meditating a part of your routine will be a lot easier if you add it to your routine. Personally, I love to do this first thing in the morning when I wake up. Like working out, if I don’t do it first thing in the morning, it’s a lot easier to convince myself later that it’s OK to skip it today. (Trust me, I notice those days when I skip.)
Obviously things happen and maybe there’s a morning when you wake up late and don’t even have time for a shower before you need to run out the door to work, let alone take a few minutes for your practice. For this, I’m working on creating my “back-up plan.” Maybe that means taking a few minutes as soon as I get to the office while the space is still quiet or shutting my office door and taking a few minutes before lunch to squeeze it in. Then, prioritize that back-up plan.
It’s a misconception that you need to meditate for a long time to see any kind of benefit. I found my sweet spot to be 10 minutes, preferably 2x a day, but after a chat with a friend the other day, I was reminded that it’s okay to go with “10 minutes most days.” If 10 minutes sounds intimidating, start with 5, 2 or even just 1. Work up from there.
Pick a space
Just as important as setting the space, first and foremost, you have to actually pick the space you want to practice. Ideally, you want somewhere quiet where you won’t be distracted or bothered by spouses, kids, or pets, but see if you can find the space that best suits you and then set it up so it’s ready for you every day.
Find an app
This isn’t a “must” by any means, but it is very helpful when you’re getting started. I was recommended the “Stop Think Breathe” app when I was first getting started and I’ve stuck with it ever since. The app is free (though there are upgrade options within the app), but I love that they have guided meditations as well as a meditation timer, so when I just want to set my own mantra or breath work practice, I can just set the timer and get to it.
Another thing that’s nice about this app is that you can select how you’re currently feeling (physically and emotionally) and they will make suggestions of some guided meditations to complete.
Note: this is not sponsored in any way. I just use this app and have found it to be very supportive to my meditation practice. There are many other meditation apps out there, so feel free to look around and find one that you like.
Have you tried meditation?
What helped you get started? Anything else you would add to this list?