Meditation may seem complicated and the thought of siting in the one position for an extended amount of time may seem daunting. However, meditation does not have to be for a long time and it can be done either seated or laying down in a comfortable position.
Like anything repetitive in your life it takes some discipline, so it is important to allocate a time that is suitable for you. This will need to be a time when you will be uninterrupted, starting with as little as 5-10 minutes per day, and increasing over time as you adapt to the routine. It is also best that you choose a regular time of day that suits you and your lifestyle. Mornings may be better if you are busy throughout the day and tired at night, and run the risk of falling asleep. Or night time because the house is quiet and the busyness of the day has ended. By choosing a regular time it then becomes a trigger for the mind to start to calm down.
It is essential that you be comfortable for the duration of your meditation.
Making yourself comfortable:
- Sitting directly on the floor in a comfortable position (traditionally cross legged)
- Sitting on a cushion or something that elevates your bottom with only the bones on the cushion (not too far back) allowing the front of the hips to move slightly forward, keeping the spine neutral.
- Sitting on a chair, feet flat on the floor, hands on your lap.
- Laying down on the floor or a mattress and if you suffer from back pain place a bolster, cushions or another yoga mat under your knees to reduce the pressure on your back.
If you are seated, ensure you spine is straight, your chest is open, your neck is long and your head is comfortable, with your chin tucked in slightly. Feeling as if someone has hold of the tip of your head lifting up. Hands resting gently on your knees, palms facing up, or one palm on top of each other in your lap.
If you are lying down ensure your spine is straight, your neck is long and your head is resting comfortably on your mat. Your arms are slightly out from the body, the palms are facing upwards, and the fingers are curled and relaxed. The legs are extended with the feet flicked outwards.
Close down your eyes.
Moving into stillness:
Bring your awareness away from the busy world and all that you have to do and all that you have done, and draw yourself inwards. Focus on your breathing, use your normal every day breath, watching the rise and fall of the chest and the belly, as the breath flows effortlessly through your body. If thoughts come in, and it is natural that they will, acknowledge them (watch them), but don’t become attached to them and engage in a conversation. Let them float away just like a cloud, undisturbed by their presence.
If you have trouble stilling the mind you can either count slowly connecting with your breath, or say a mantra (which is a repetitive word or phrase) over in your mind, synchronising the words with your breathing, which ever one gives you comfort and allows you to relax.
Stay present with your breathing, continuing to relax your mind and your body. When you are ready, open your eyes, take in a long and deep full breath and rise slowly. Take this sensation of being calm and centred into the rest of your day.
- If you are wondering about the amount of time that you have been sitting whilst meditating, use a timer so that alleviates that concern.
- If you find you live in a noisy area, or it is too quiet for you once the mind stops thinking, play some very soft music that is relaxing.
- Regulate your body temperature, making sure that you are not too hot or cold. Use a shawl or blanket as meditation can cool the body down slightly.
- Wear comfortable clothing that is not restrictive.
A new habit takes times to develop, so be patient with yourself.
There are many different types of meditation, which are designed for different people and outcomes. However, this particular style is often beneficial for anyone who has just started, and for some it is one that will stay with you for a lifetime.