Ok so you have probably heard all about the benefits of having a meditation practice and maybe you have even tried it out. Chances are pretty good that you had unrealistic expectations, got frustrated when you couldn’t clear your mind, and figured meditation was not for you. I am here to tell you it’s time to give it another try.
Why? Because I have totally been in your shoes. I started trying to meditate when I started my yoga practice. I had heard all of these great stories about how meditation can help relieve stress and help you get clear on your life’s purpose and all kind of other awesome benefits that I really wanted for myself.
So I sat on my yoga mat and just waited. I had no technique, I was just trying to clear my mind. And that was a monumental failure. My mind was racing, I was distracted by all of the noises around me, I was pulled into thoughts about how uncomfortable my body was. It was the opposite of what I was going for.
After failing over and over again I gave up on my meditation practice. Only to come back to it a year later. At this point I had deepened my yoga practice, I was much more in touch with myself, and I was ready to give this meditation thing a try again. This time was different because I knew the things I am going to share with you now.
I hope that these eight tips will be as helpful to you as you begin your meditation practice as they were to me when I was beginning mine.
Do It For You
It has to be for you. You shouldn’t start a meditation practice for anyone but yourself. If you start your practice and it’s not something you are actually committed to, it won’t last. You will find excuses to skip it, so make sure this is something you really want to do.
Trust me I gave up on meditating after only a few times to then come back to it a year later. The second time I was really committed and had realistic expectations. Now I have been meditating for five years and have never looked back.
Be Kind To Yourself You are Starting a New Habit
Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle to get started or you miss a day. Starting this practice is not about perfection. Personal growth is a lot easier and goes smoother when you are kind and patient with yourself. Beginning your meditation practice is just like creating any other habit or practice in your life – it will take time.
It is important to give yourself time and not place too many expectations on yourself. You don’t want to make the same mistakes I did. Thinking I could meditate and have a clear mind when I had never meditated before. Just sitting down to meditate for any length of time is great. If you happen to miss a meditation, acknowledge that you forgot and recommit to starting again tomorrow or finding time later that day.
Meditate in the Morning
When you schedule your meditation practice as part of your morning routine you are much more likely to do it than if you try to practice in the afternoon or evening. When you meditate in the morning you will also receive all of its benefits throughout your day.
I know from personal experience my days flow better, I handle stress better, and I am more peaceful and productive when I meditate. Set your alarm for 5 to 10 minutes earlier and give yourself that extra time for your meditation. I prefer to meditate right when I wake up. This helps keep me consistent and it keeps me from jumping into my day and to-do list without being mindful.
Find the Right Type of Meditation for You
There are so many different types of meditation practices, so there is no need to feel like you have to practice a specific type if it’s not working for you. A lot of people think meditation is just sitting and clearing the mind, which is super intimidating for most people.
You can try mantra meditation, body scan meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, walking meditations, and even guided meditation. Don’t let one style of meditation not working for you keep you from meditating.
I started my practice with mantra meditation because it kept my mind busy and I really enjoyed the mantras. Over time my practice has evolved to include all of these types of meditations depending on how I am feeling. Try different styles and see what resonates with you.
Create a Sacred Space for Your Meditation Practice
I have found having a special space for my meditation to be very helpful. The energy of the space helps me to be ready for meditation and allows me to go deeper. I love to burn incense, have candles, and some kind of plant in my space.
Having space is also really nice because you have a calm, peaceful place to go any time that you are feeling stressed or anxious. If you don’t have a ton of space in your home you can simply designate a place where you meditate and you can set up and take down whatever you like before and after you meditate. I have done this in the past and it works fine.
It is important to start small so you don’t overwhelm and frustrate yourself. If that means starting out with one minute of meditation that is perfectly fine.
It is more important to stay consistent with your practice than to try and sit for an hour every once in a while. Pick a time that works for you right now. Maybe that is 2 minutes, maybe it is 5 minutes, there is no perfect time, only the time that is right for you.
When you start out with a time that is right for you, you will be much more likely to stick with it. As you progress with your practice you can slowly add more time.
For example, if you start with five minutes and after two weeks five minutes feels like a breeze, add on another minute. You can continue on like this until you have found the perfect meditation time for your lifestyle.
Find A Meditation Partner
Having an accountability partner is so helpful when starting any new habit. Find someone who is also new to meditation. That way you can not only hold each other accountable but you can discuss your journey together as well.
When I began my practice again the second time I found a friend who was also interested in starting a practice. We simply texted each other at the end of the day to check in and see if we had meditated for that day. We also would do a brief weekly check it to discuss our experiences of meditation. I highly suggest doing this!
Journal About Your Meditation Journey
After you meditate take a moment to jot down your experiences.
What did you struggle with?
How did you feel before meditating?
How did you feel after meditating?
What shifts in emotions occurred?
What is your overall state after meditation?
Not only will this help you track your practice, but it will also help you stay consistent with your practice. When you track the benefits and acknowledge the positive impact it’s having, you will be more likely to keep it up.
I hope that these eight tips are helpful for you as you being your meditation journey. Feel free to reach out to me or leave a comment letting me know how it is going for you. If you would like to join a community for support on your journey you can join my free community here.