Meditation can be a scary topic for many as we live in a society that promotes non-stop productivity as the ultimate goal. If we’re not consistently “hustling” than we might feel like we’re failing. But meditation should actually be seen to help benefit our productivity. The practice isn’t only good for our overall health but could actually make us more productive in our daily lives. Taking a moment to slow down helps us to reset & clear our mind, become more present, and appreciate the here & now. This practice will flow into every element of our lives, allowing us to show up more fully in every moment.
When beginning the journey to meditate, you might feel there are multiple aspects to “get right” but just stepping away to a quiet space to close your eyes and turn inward is really all you need to start.
If you are still stressing to “get meditation right”, here are a few tips to help guide you:
- If you are a beginner, don’t fret over “calming the mind” but actually focus on the sensations of your breath. Appreciate the smells around you and the feeling of your lungs expanding and clearing.
- Focusing on your breath is the easiest way to clear your mind of thoughts. It gives your mind a focal point. When your mind starts to wander (which it will) just recognize you’re thinking and then come back to your breath.
- Long-term meditation shows the increased size in brain regions associated with emotional regulation. This can result in the habit of cultivating positive emotions, retain emotional stability, and mindfulness.
- Arms & Hands
- Relax your arms & shoulders, letting your hands rest on your thighs or in your lap.
- If working to turn inward, close your eyes. If on days this makes you feel dizzy or emotional, you can anchor yourself to your space by making your eyelids heavy and focusing on the space about a foot out in front of you.
- Legs & Feet
- If you’re sitting in a chair, keep your feet flat on the floor. Draw your spine straight. If you’re sitting cross-legged or on a cushion, make sure your knees are lower than your hips.
- The length isn’t as important as the frequency so don’t beat yourself up if you’re not sitting for an hour each day. Start in increments aiming to build up over time (i.e. 3 minutes to 5 minutes to 10 minutes).
- A timer is very helpful so that you’re not focusing on a clock. There are a lot of app options for a pleasant timer instead of relying on your phone alarm (i.e. Insight Timer, Headspace, Clam). A few of these options will also have a payment option that can then access guided meditation – another great option for beginners.
Below are a few Breathing Techniques to also try out before or after meditation to calm or energize the body:
- Warrior Breath
- Inhale/exhale with no pause 21 times – this super oxygenates the system
- At the end of the 21 breaths implement the Box Breath for 4 to 5 rounds
- Box Breath
- Inhale big for 5 counts
- Hold for a count of 5
- Exhale slowly for a count of 5
- 4-5 rounds
- 2-7-8 Breathing
- Inhale for 2
- Hold for 7
- Exhale for 8
- Skull Shining Breath (Kapalabhati)
- Take a long, slow inhale
- Exhale rapidly through the nose by “snapping” in your lower belly for 10
- Inhale will occur naturally
- Inhale fully
Meditation might be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be because all you need is time to give to yourself. Beginning today can help radically change your life for the better. I’d love to hear where your meditation practice is at and what it has helped you learn about your life!