A beginner's guide to meditation
“Every morning we are born again.
What we do today is what matters most.”
Most people agree that having a regular meditation practice is incredibly beneficial, particularly with our fast paced, high impact, stressful lives. Many of us learn meditation with good intentions and plenty of enthusiasm, only to find it difficult to fit it into our daily routine.
There are many reasons why people fall off the meditation bandwagon, so to speak. Meditation, like any other skill we are learning for the first time, requires a small investment of time and effort in the beginning , and is much easier to incorporate into your life than you might think.
Here are a few tips to get your meditation practice started and to keep you motivated and on track to developing a consistent meditation practice.
1. START SMALL
The best way to start a meditation practice is simply to start. Don’t wait for the perfect time or the perfect spot, just start meditating.
All you need to do is to find a quiet place where you can sit for a few minutes without being disturbed. Then close your eyes, and begin to feel and connect to your breath. Gently become aware of the inflow and outflow of your breath. Observe how your chest rises and falls with each breath. Let yourself breathe naturally. No need to control or modify your breath. As your mind and body starts to relax, notice how effortlessly and naturally the breath is.
When you find yourself distracted on thoughts (and you will; we all do), simply come back to the breath and you will find the thought will slip away.
Start with a 10 minute session. Then work your way up to 15 minutes and eventually 20 minutes. Once a day, then maybe (just maybe) twice a day. There's no rush. The main thing is to start.
2. ONE SIZE DOESN'T FIT ALL
Much like exercise, there are many types of meditation techniques out there. Be open to trying different styles and different teachers. Each technique has its benefits, and you won’t know until you try. I teach Vedic Meditation which utilises a mantra (a sound or vibration) designed to help the mind move from the busy, active, thought filled states to the subtler, quieter and deeper states of the mind, where inner peace and silence is experienced. Many who have tried to quieten their minds with other techniques find that Vedic Meditation does this for them, without requiring any effort, force or concentration.
3. DO IT FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
There is no better way to start the day than with meditation. It sets you up for the day ahead. Set a reminder for every morning when you wake up and get it done first thing in the morning. Either you run the day or it runs you. I know which I prefer.
4. LOTUS POSITION NOT REQUIRED
Don’t get caught up with how meditation should look. There is no one way to meditate. If sitting in lotus position works for you, great! Otherwise simply find a comfortable chair (perhaps your favourite chair at home) or a seat that supports your back. You may choose to sit cross-legged on the floor (as I tend to do).Remember at the start, you’re only there for 10 minutes. Later once you build up your meditation session, you can look at ways of optimising your comfort level, but at the beginning, it doesn’t matter as much. The main thing is to have your back supported and feel comfortable enough to sit for a while.
5. CHECK IN WITH HOW YOU ARE FEELING
When you first sit down, give yourself a few moments to check in with yourself. How does your body feel? Tired? Energised? Anxious? Accept whatever comes up for you in each session as being completely ok. There is no good or bad meditation. The fact that you sit down to meditate is enough. Accept that however you feel during meditation is what needs to happen for the body and the mind to process. Let it flow and let it go. When viewed this way, we start to see our thoughts or bodily sensations or feelings that come up during meditation as part of the process of meditation rather than judging it as a good or bad meditation session. It is important to remember there is no right or wrong way to meditate, and there is no perfect way to meditate. Google, community papers, yoga studios and your local library are all good places to find meditation classes. There are also plenty of wonderful meditation and mindfulness apps you can download to help you get started. But nothing beats having a one-on-one personalised learning with a qualified meditation teacher, and if you are would like to learn an effortless meditation technique that you can easily fit into your life, and use meditation as a tool to take your life to the next level, you can enquire about learning with me in Sydney at http://www.kimberleychanmeditation.com.au/
Kimberley is a Vedic Meditation teacher who lived a former life as a high-flying corporate lawyer – about as far removed from meditation as could be imagined! After experiencing burnout, she spent a year dabbling in different meditation styles after no traditional medicine seemed to help her. Finally, she discovered Vedic Meditation, a practice which uses a mantra to quieten the mind.
Fast-forward to 2017, and Kimberley has found Vedic Meditation so effective that she completed teacher training in 2015 and now has her own practice and studio in Sydney’s leafy Balmain, Kimberley Chan Meditation.