The benefits of meditation have been proven to have profound effects on your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health as well as your entire well- being. We know that meditation will benefit us, and can help us create balance in our lives, so why don’t we use it more? Here’s ten tips to master meditation so you can be on your way to a more balanced you!
1. Set Realistic Intentions
Most of us living in modern society don’t have the time to go from zero to hours of meditation everyday… (nor would we have the patience and focus to!) Take a look at your life and set realistic intentions for your meditation practice. Look at what you can definitely be successful with in terms of duration, place, and type of meditation you start out with. If you currently have a meditation practice and are looking to make it more fulfilling, look at where you can make adjustments and be successful.
2. Start Small
If you’re new to your meditation practice, small amounts make big changes. Start with just 2-5 minutes (most of us can find that somewhere in our day). If you’re mastering a current mediation practice, try extending the duration of your practice by a couple minutes, or increase the frequency of your practice. Maybe you go from 10 minutes a day, 3 times a week to 15 min 5 days a week.
3. Be Flexible
If your plans for practice get derailed, try not to skip practice altogether. If it’s no longer possible to sit in your mediation space for 15 min, maybe you do 5 minutes in your car once you reach your destination before jumping out. Life almost never goes as planned…Go with the flow!
4. Think outside the box/cushion
While it’s nice to have a designated mediation space with a cushion, incense, candles etc…it’s not always possible nor is it necessary! All you need is a space where you can sit comfortably. You can also lay down or use props for a restorative shape that you won’t fall asleep in. You can meditate in your bed before you start your day… at the end of your day, at your job, at the beach, in a park… literally anywhere!
5. Let go of expectations
Somedays you’ll be on it, and feel the calming of the ‘monkey mind’ that we hall have. But, other days you may not be able to focus at all much less be still. All of us (including expert meditation practitioners) have days that are easier to quiet and days that are more challenging. Try not to judge your experience and be compassionate with where you are each day.
6. Try a new method
There are many meditation techniques out there, and just as not every yoga teacher is for every yogi, the same goes for meditation and techniques. If you’re feeling stuck in your practice, or unfulfilled, try a new technique. Some enjoy mantras (word/phrases repeated silently or aloud), pranayama (breathing techniques), or visualizations, while others may prefer counting, candle gazing or sense meditations. Neither is better than the other, and your practice may change as you progress and with each season of life you are in.
7. Be Consistent
As with anything, the keys to mastering are practice and consistency. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to still the mind, and keep it that way for longer. Every moment of everyday is a chance to start over, make better choices for ourselves and recommit to your health and well-being. Even if you fall off the mediation bandwagon, jump right back on and be as consistent as you can.
To truly master meditation and be successful with your meditation practice, you will need to reflect on how it’s serving you. Reflect after each practice if possible. What’s working? What’s not working? Can adjustments be made to make practice more fulfilling? Am I ready to increase duration and frequency? Am I no longer able to focus with this current technique? If there’s thoughts that are persistent in interrupting your practice, why are they challenging your stillness? Is there something that you need to work through? Reflection is part of the growth process and as you reflect, you are able to make changes that will work towards your finding balance.
9. Gradually Increase Duration and/or Frequency
The longer you meditate and more frequently the practice is, the more benefits you will experience. Again, start small, but as your duration and frequency become easeful, try to challenge yourself. With challenge comes change and with change comes growth!
10. Enjoy It!
Doing something that doesn’t bring you joy, makes things exponentially harder. In the chaos of our world, try to enjoy the moments of stillness in your meditation practice. You can always make changes to make practice more fulfilling, but the intention to experience joy in mediation or anywhere has to come from within. While a meditation practice is serious, don’t forget to let in the joy!