If you have meditation on your mind bur aren’t quite sure how or where to start, we have a treat for you. BEAUTY BAY’s very own yoga pro, @living_yoga___, is here with seven tips on starting your meditation journey.
‘For some, the idea of stillness can be a daunting prospect. And believe me, I never thought meditation would be anything that I could be capable of doing, let alone enjoying. But here I am, spreading the word that meditation IS accessible for all. It’s usually the case that when our minds feel cluttered, it’s harder to focus, which is why we need mediation in our lives. The struggle is real, I’ve felt that too, but hopefully with a few these tips of mine, plus a committed practice and an open mind, you’ll witness the magic of what just a few minutes of meditation can do for the body and mind. Go on, you deserve it!’
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
‘Ram Dass, a facilitator of the practice said: “meditation is a basic spiritual practice for quieting the mind and getting in touch with our deeper self.” Whether this resonates with you or not, it’s an opportunity to reset by drawing our senses inwards; away from the external world and away from our busy minds to find internal peace, aka, creating your stress-free zone. And we do this by finding ourselves a focus point to this present moment.’
MAKE IT A RITUAL
‘Give yourself the time meditation deserves and honour it. Make it less of a chore and more of a ritual to yourself. Create a sensory experience so when your mind starts wandering to what you’re eating for dinner (believe me, they will), you can bring it back to the present moment and to the smell of your NEOM candle or the incense you’re burning. Maybe start by cleansing your space; whether that’s opening a window to let out the stagnate air or burning some sage to clear away any negative energy.’
COMMIT TO A TIME
‘Start of small. That could be five minutes to begin with, then as your ability to focus strengthens, you can increase your practice time. It’s about giving solid time to yourself. Work out what time of day you need this extra ‘you time’ the most. Personally, I look forward to waking up to my morning meditation. If you’re prone to having restless nights, or vivid dreams like myself, then it’s to start the day with a clean slate and a peace of mind. Find what works for you. Avoid your own personal rush hours.’
‘Hands up if you haven’t sat cross legged since primary school? There is no right or wrong position to meditate. Find spot that’s sustainable for your posture; maybe that’s leaning against a wall, sitting in a chair, lying down in bed. You do you but make it comfy. Make sure your spine is long so you can access your breath fully. It’s your choice whether you’re horizontal or vertical.
‘Top Tip: Tight hip flexors when sitting cross legged? Try placing a few extra cushions underneath your sitting bones to keep the hips elevated above the knees.’
‘A zen master once said to his student, “when you have one eye on the goal, you can only have one eye on the path.” Take the pressure off yourself by dropping any expectations of what you ‘think’ meditation is and allow yourself to just be and to feel.’
‘Spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, said: “one conscious breath in and out is meditation.” Drawing awareness to the breath and maintaining that focus doesn’t always come naturally. It’s all about finding a focus point that works for you. Maybe that’s the breath as it floats in and out of the nose, the subtle flare of the nostrils or even the temperate of the breath. The cool air as the breath enters the airways, to the warmer sensation as you exhale. Perhaps you feel the breath more in your torso, the expansion of your chest or your belly as your inhale. A hand on the heart and on the belly can amplify the sensation too.’
FIND A STYLE THAT SUITS YOU
‘Although meditation is an inquiry of yourself, you don’t have to practice alone. There are plenty of guided meditations on Spotify, YouTube, or on apps such as Headspace or Calm. There are variations of styles and it’s all about finding the one that works for you. There are practices that focus on drawing the senses inwards, some that play with visualisation, others manipulate the breath with varied techniques.’
OVERTHINKING IS NORMAL
‘A lot of people give up after the first go because of ‘too many thoughts’ or ‘I couldn’t stop thinking about food’ or wondering ‘how long is left?’ Although mediation might not be for everyone, remember a lot of these thoughts show up for most of us, especially at the beginning or when we’re most stressed. You are not alone! We have around 6,000 thoughts per day, crazy right?! It’s a practice of discipline, so be patience, commit yourself and it will ease. As one of my good teachers reminds me, “what doesn’t challenge you won’t change you.”‘