As we each navigate through our daily lives and routines, many of us are completely detached from our internal world. Instead of connecting with the present moment, we focus our attention on things outside ourselves, the past, the future…everything but this moment happening right now.
While becoming mindful in every area of your life is, ultimately, the goal, initiating a seated practice for just a small period each day is certainly the best way to begin to turn your attention inward and become more connected with the moment at hand. With just a few minutes set aside daily, you can reap all of the many benefits. Here’s our most simple and straightforward advice on how to meditate!
The Many Benefits Of Meditation
In earlier blogs, we’ve covered the enormous benefits of meditation. Among the numerous advantages to integrating a daily meditation routine into your life are an improved attention span, reduced stress, and an increased capacity to both regulate emotions and feel compassion and empathy. Additionally, daily meditation can also increase happiness, energy, and immunity while lessening your proclivity to make impulsive decisions.
Perhaps one of the most incredible things to ponder is how readily available this immensely beneficial practice is to us all. Meditation (and its benefits) is within reach regardless of your socioeconomic status, your religion, your race, your health, your location….all you need to meditate is your attention, your breath, and a few, quiet moments each day to practice.
Establishing a Regular Meditation Routine
- Sit comfortably. Find a place to sit where you will not be disturbed. Whether on a chair or seated on the floor, sit up straight. (If you’re not able to sit, feel free to lie down, just take care to remain alert as meditation can induce sleepiness.) Imagine a string tied to the top of your head that’s gently lifting your posture to the sky. Relax into this erect, seated postion. Your eyes may be open or closed. Keep your chin slightly tucked with your tongue just behind your teeth to reduce the urge to swallow.
- Set a timer. Begin with a few minutes a day, and when you’re ready, build up to a longer period of time. Ultimately, you want this connection with present awareness to creep into every moment of your daily routine. Don’t become overwhelmed or obsess over your meditation practice. If you show up daily, you’re doing it right regardless. Note: We recommend using the Insight Meditation Timer app. If you start with their guided meditations, you can graduate to silent meditations whenever you’re ready.
- Focus on your breath. It’s extremely common to have a lot of thoughts; in fact, turning off the mind is like asking the heart to stop beating. Mediation is not about turning off or clearing your mind. Your only task is to be present with the breath. Don’t change your breathing, just become familiar with your breath. You don’t have to alter anything about this moment.
- Be consistent. While many people prefer to meditate just after waking up from sleep, you can practice whenever your schedule permits. Like establishing any other good habit, don’t be deterred if you slip up and skip a day (or a week, or a month, or even a year!) Just resume your practice and commend yourself for showing up today. Showing up on your meditation cushion consistently will inevitably translate to showing up in all moments of your life.