Meditation is one of those things which either resonates with people or scare them away. I used to be one of the latter, but lately I have started to move into the first category. There is a plethora of evidence relating meditation and/or mindfulness practice to improved physical and psychological wellbeing. We all want in on that, right?
When I embarked on my Yoga Teacher Training 6 years ago, meditation was my least favourite subject. I was all about the asanas and the anatomy. I couldn’t get in the ‘zone’ and the more I worried about not being in the ‘zone’, the more I worried that it would make me a worse yoga teacher and created further anxiety around it. Over the years I have started to let go of what I expect from meditation and by doing that I have been able to establish a practice and find it beneficial. It is now something that I enjoy and feel comfortable doing. I have therefore shared five tips with you on how to prepare for meditation to get the most out of the practice.
1. A calm environment.
If I am surrounded by clutter or laundry etc, I am unlikely to be able to fully relax. Our bedroom is usually the tidiest place in our flat, so this is where I will often meditate. If there are any bits and bobs lying around I will just clear them away to allow my mind to settle.
Additionally I try to find a quiet time for my meditation, where noise levels are at a minimum. As I am on maternity leave at the moment, I will pick my daughter’s nap time. You may not have that flexibility, but setting your morning alarm 5-10 minutes earlier will allow you to get it done first thing when it is quiet.
What position you are sat in can make the world of difference. There is no rule for how to sit. If a crosslegged position leaves you with pins and needles in your foot or a painful shoulder, you are not going to relax. There are lots of ways in which you can make it more comfortable for yourself. I sometimes sit with my back against something or with a block/rolled up mat under my bottom. You can sit on a chair or even lie down, it doesn’t really matter.
Furthermore, make sure you are not limited by clothing. If your waistline is digging in, chances are that you will be focusing on this the whole time. If able, wear loose fitting clothing, otherwise unbutton and adjust any tight straps.
I’m not telling you to go out and get all the incenses that you can find, but a candle or an object of meaning to you may be helpful. I will often light a candle and I know people who find holding crystals/stones grounding. Find what works with you and stick to it. It may not even be a physical thing like an object. It could be a mantra that you repeat to help you remain focused.
4. Letting go of expectations
This tip was a huge help to me and a complete game changer. There are a lot of people around preaching reincarnation and getting in touch with a deeper self through meditation. However, it’s okay to come out of the meditation having almost fallen asleep and it’s okay to not feel any different from when you started. 5 minutes of quiet in a hectic lifestyle can do the world of good regardless. By not expecting a specific outcome you cannot fail.
5. Guided meditations
If you feel a bit lost of how to start meditating, I would suggest a guided meditation. You can find one of my 5 minute guided meditations here. Similarly apps such as Headspace can also be helpful. I appreciate subscription apps are not in everyones budget so have a look around for free ones or turn to YouTube. Additionally there are meditation Podcasts available as well.
I hope these tips can help you get in the right ‘zone’ for a meditation practice. If you found it helpful, make sure to comment and refer the content to a friend who would benefit from getting into meditation.
If you found this article helpful, you may enjoy this one on stress management.