By Guest Blogger Jessie Kavanagh
Meditation holds so many great benefits to help us decrease our stress levels and improve all aspects of our health and wellbeing. It can, however be a bit intimidating or even off putting if it’s something you haven’t done before.
When someone mentions meditation, visions of monks sitting in silent euphoria atop a mountain or pretzel-shaped yogi’s chanting endless Om’s might pop into your head. But 99% of the time, that’s not the way it rolls.
I’m here to share 5 simple tips to take meditation out of the too-hard basket so you can start to bring the benefits of this amazing practice into your own life today.
How To Start A Meditation Practice
1 . Manage Expectations
Let’s get one thing straight…your mind is going to wander. It’s highly likely that there is going to be some inner chat happening, maybe even a lot. But don’t worry, it’s completely normal.
The aim of meditation isn’t to stop your thoughts completely or to be able to sit in utter silence with zen-like focus. The aim is to cultivate a sense of mindfulness or awareness. To connect with yourself and your breath in the current moment.
So take the pressure off, release any expectations and let go of any judgement. Every time you sit down to meditate, it’s bound to be a little different than the time before.
2. Start Small
Even just a couple of minutes of meditation can make a big difference to your mood, energy levels and mindset. If sitting still isn’t your strong suit or you don’t have loads of time up your sleeve, start with just 3-5 minutes.
Set yourself a timer, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Count each breath and when you get to 10, start over for as many rounds as your timer allows. Another easy option to get you started is to pop on some headphones and listen to a guided meditation.
Insight Timer is a great app to use to make this nice and simple. It has both a timer function and loads of free guided meditations available. You can also look up guided meditations on Youtube. There are so many different options, you are bound to find a meditation that suits your needs.
3. Get Comfy
If you’re just starting out with meditation, I highly suggest finding yourself a comfortable seated position. It can be tempting to lie down but the risk of drifting off to sleep is pretty high.
Try sitting on a cushion, a dining room chair or even the couch if you’re not a fan of sitting on the floor. Keep your spine nice and long, find a comfy spot for your hands (I like to put them on my knees or in my lap) and let your shoulders relax as much as possible.
If you can, choose a spot where you know you’re not going to get too disturbed or distracted. I know this can be hard sometimes, especially with tiny humans around, so just do the best with what you’ve got!
4. Just Breathe
When distraction takes over, when your mind begins to wander, when you start mentally going over your mile long to-do lists, bring it back to your breath.
Simply focus on the sensation of the breath as it enters and exits through your nose. Focus on the feeling of your ribcage as it moves in and out. Every time you find yourself getting lost in your thoughts, let go of any judgement, recognise your mind has wandered and bring your focus back to your breath.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
If you’re aiming to create a regular habit of meditation, try to do it at the same time each day. Even better if you can knock it over first thing in the morning. Firstly because it sets you up well for the day ahead and secondly, it leaves you less vulnerable to the excuses that might pop up if you leave it until later on in the day. Start with a few minutes each session and build from there.
The more you practice the easier it tends to get. This doesn’t mean it will always be a blissfully relaxing experience, but you will get better at letting go of all the expectations and being ok with whatever happens.
There is no such thing as a perfect meditation or a perfect practice. It’s just that, a practice.
So take it easy on yourself, use these tips and set yourself a goal to try and fit in a short practice once a day for a week. It might not always feel easy, but the more you do it, the greater impact it will have on your day and your life!
Jessie Kavanagh is a Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Fitness Trainer and healthy living advocate on a mission to help more Mums and busy women of the world ditch the stress and live healthy, happy, joy-filled lives. She is also a tea-obsessed Mum of 2 with a serious penchant for good books, baked goods & hot baths!
Jessie believes that making time for both movement and stillness is vital for maintaining a healthy body and happy mind, that sweat is good for the soul and that burgers, ice-cream and trashy tv are necessary staples for a balanced life.
(Oh, and that you don’t need to be able to bend like a pretzel, have your own guru or even utter an ‘Om’ to reap the benefits of yoga and meditation… All you have to do is start).
You can find her here:
Feb 11, 2020