Meditation is a really incredible tool that has multiple uses, applications and benefits. In today’s world, this ancient practice is most commonly associated with mental clarity, healing and self-care.
Unfortunately, meditation is often mistakenly viewed as something that is accessible to just a few people or only suitable for certain lifestyles. The practice per se can seem like an impossible task for those of us who find it hard to concentrate, don’t have much spare time or energy, or struggle with the concept of journeying deep into our conscious and subconscious minds. It also doesn’t help that meditation is usually thought of as something that must be done cross legged, on the floor, surrounded by bean bags...
We’re keen to debunk the myths and misunderstandings around meditation and prove that it is not just the preserve of wellness gurus, those with time on their hands, or intended for our end of class savasana. The biggest barrier to getting into meditation is the misconceptions associated with mediations and the idea that it ‘has’ to be done a certain way. Once we get past these barriers, the world of meditation really opens up, and we can access new ways of goal setting, affirming our worth or creating greater awareness of our needs.
We’ve put together our top tips for getting into meditation and using it in ways that are suitable and applicable to our needs and intentions, so we no longer have to be meditation shy.
It doesn’t matter where we meditate
Firstly, there’s no requirement for where and how we meditate. We don’t need to be in the studio, on a yoga retreat, or even anywhere quiet. The important thing is to choose our meditation and adapt it so that we have a meditation that works for us, that we can do when we’ve got the space or need to meditate. For example, a 10 minute bus ride can turn into the perfect opportunity for meditation, particularly concentrative meditation where we focus on an intention or personal need, or practise gratitude or humility.
Schedule in meditation
Apportioning time for during the day, e.g. that 10 minute bus ride or 20 minutes where we’re cooking dinner, and making that our dedicated meditation time, helps us to make a habit out of meditation. The next step is then to commit to a meditation challenge, such as regular meditation over a five or ten day period, and trying to complete the challenge in the allotted time frame. We recommend the Chopra Meditation Centre’s 21-Day Meditation Experience as a good starting point.
Meditate little and often
The key to successful meditation and staying committed is not trying to do too much. It’s important to meditate little and often, and not push ourselves when we're tired. Approaching a challenge as something we chip away at, rather than ‘win’, is so much more effective, and builds up our meditative skills. Even just five minutes, morning or evening, is better than trying to meditate for a long time and ‘achieve’ meditation.
Motivation doesn’t matter
It doesn’t matter why or what we’re meditating for, there’s no set reason or intention that should underscore our mediation session. Whether we’re trying to de-stress and rid our brain of intrusive thoughts, or focus on our worth or visualise our goals, all motivations are valid motivations. Choosing a motivation or meditation intention should be about what’s right for us.
That’s not to say doing meditation for the sake of meditation isn’t a bad thing, being present and achieving a meditative state are both central to practising yoga and unifying mind, body and spirit. We’re saying that we shouldn’t try to fit into a meditation ‘mould’ and beat ourselves up about not doing meditation correctly - there’s no right or wrong way to meditate.
We need to set ourselves up for meditation success
We’re huge fans of meditation on the move or maximising any given opportunity to meditate. However, shaking it up every now and again, and creating the right environment for meditation, can really help us remember why we meditate and achieve meditation success. Even if it’s once a week or once a month, it's good to create a calming, zen-like atmosphere and give our meditation a go.
We all need a little help sometimes
Apps like Headspace, meditating with friends or a community, or using a meditation programme can provide us with the structure we need to meditate meaningfully. A little help can also give us the foundations for self-guided meditation in the future. The resources and meditation content provided by an app or programme help to prompt the right thoughts and inspire us to continue to meditate or meditate in new ways.