I guess almost everyone knows what meditation is and that it can help to reduce stress, find your inner peace and feel balanced. A lot of people already meditate on a weekly or even daily basis. But why are there still so many people out there that don’t meditate, even when knowing all the benefits? I believe that everyone can learn to love meditation. I am convinced, the only reason I keep hearing, people don’t like it, is because they have’t found the right practice for themselves, yet.
A couple of years ago I was one of them. I could’ve never imagined to ever love or even like the practice. That was until someone stepped into my life, who taught me so much about meditation and has helped me to start with the practice in a different way than what I used to do. Today I can say that this has changed my life, as meditation is one of the, or maybe even THE most powerful tool I use in daily life.
Here are my tips for you, to start loving your meditation practice.
1. find the right position
Getting comfortable is great, but to me it was and is always very beneficial to sit up straight. Laying down, or meditating while having a bath can also be really great, but especially when I started it was so much easier to focus. The first times it can feel really hard and not comfortable at all, but believe me, it will feel comfortable the more you’ll do it
2. start small
How many minutes should I meditate to feel the benefits?
This is a very common question. But there is no such thing as the right amount of time, when it comes to meditating. My tip for you: start small. I know, this can also be challenging. I remember when I started, I thought I needed to do at least 10 minutes of meditation, otherwise I could as well just do nothing. This was one of the reasons I didn’t stick to it. 10 minutes already felt too long, as I’ve never done it before. So starting small, with maybe 3-5 minutes, 3 times a week (just as an example) will help you to stick to your practice. If you’re doing a meditation on your own (not guided), set yourself a timer, so you’re not feeling the need of looking at your clock all the time. And believe me, even a very short meditation can make a big difference.
3. don’t expect not to think
Probably one of the most important things I learned: Not thinking is not the goal. Even people who have been meditating for years have thoughts coming up and that’s totally fine. The important part is to accept the thoughts with no judgement, let them pass and get back to your breath. Just don’t let them take over!
4. Find the right style for yourself
Find the right meditation style for you. This is what I was talking about at the very beginning. There are so many different meditation styles, that it’s up to you, to find the ones you can enjoy. There is no such thing as the best meditation style!
I started off with a daily meditation practice in a small group. We started to focus on our surroundings and then on our breath. During the meditation it was mostly quiet, but sometimes our teacher reminded us to come back to our breath if we’d be caught up in thaughts. The reminder has helped me a lot! Now I don’t need this kind of guiding anymore as I do it automatically. Here are three of the different types, that I really enjoy:
a) guided meditation
Especially at the beginning I think this can help a lot to get started. Hearing a voice that is guiding you, can help not to get caught up in your thoughts. But also with guided meditations there are big differences. Find a teacher, whose voice you love. Ask yourself, if you want to have a guided meditation on a specific topic, that helps you to see images or do you rather listen to one that helps you focus on your breath? Just try them all and see which one is best for you.
b) mindfulness meditation
Maybe this is the one you will like the most, if your excuse for not meditating is, not to have enough time. This one is all about being aware and mindful about your body and breath in the present moment. So even while doing daily things like brushing teeth, doing the dishes, getting dressed, you can do your practice. Whatever task you are doing, try to slow down, focus on your breath and start to feel into your body. Can you feel your legs touching the floor? How do they feel? Can you feel your heartbeat? I personally love to sit on the couch, have my favorite cup of tea in my hands and really pay attention to the smell, the hot cup between my hands and how drinking the warm water feels in my throat. Just be creative. (;
c) body scan meditation
As the name already says, this is about scanning your whole body. This is the only one I rather lay down than sitting up strait. But of course you decide whatever feels best for you. Start breathing deeply and focus on your different body parts, one by one. How do they feel? Any tension that you can let go of? Use this meditation to relax your whole body and truly connect with the parts that need more attention.
5. Try out different times
Honestly, this is something you have to find out for yourself. For everyone this can be a totally different time. Personally I do not have that one time I always meditate. I rather do my practice whenever it feels right or I feel super stressed and need to calm myself down. This can also be on the train or in the middle of the day. But here I just want to show you the benefits of meditating right in the morning, when you are stressed or just before going to bed:
a) Morning meditation
For me a morning meditation helps me to start my day with some self-love. I feel more relaxed and calm throughout the day and also know, that I’ve already taken care of myself. Especially if you have a full calendar, this might help to not find any excuses to not do your practice.
B) during the day
This is my life savor. Whenever I feel super stressed, I do a really short meditation. And by really short I mean 2-5 minutes. (If I have the time then I love to do a longer one as well). This helps me to connect to my breath, calm down my emotions and feel grounded. Afterwards I feel much more relaxed and can make better decisions for myself. If you’re really stressed at work for example, just go to the bathroom to do a one minute practice. Try it out!
c) Sleep Meditation
To meditate before going to bed, can help to have a good night sleep. Especially on days I feel very stressed, out of balance and can’t stop thinking about my to do list, this helps me to calm down and fall asleep more easily. My tip for you: make yourself a cup of tea, lavender is perfect for sleep and inhale the smell, be mindful while drinking and enjoy the time for yourself.
6. Be kind to yourself
It is not important, to do the practice exactly the way I or someone else is doing it. Meditating is for yourself, so make sure to do what feels good for you! Be kind to yourself whenever thoughts are coming up, whenever you didn’t meditate even if you really planned on doing it, or when you just do 2 minutes when you planned on doing 5. It’s not important how long or often throughout the day you meditate. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Your practice has one purpose: make you feel good!