Let me start off by saying I am not an expert on meditation!
For the last year, I’ve made a conscious effort to make meditation a daily practice—just recently I have been able to sit quietly for about 10-15 minutes, which is a huge accomplishment.
So, I would like to share with you some tips that have helped me tame the monkey mind, avoid itching, not slumping and tuning out so I’m able to tune in. Feel free to add in your tips as well; meditation is a great form of healing and finding strength!
First off, make sure your meditation space is clutter-free. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind, right? Clutter can encourage negative feelings and cause stress. Like you’re staring right at your “to-do” list.
Once we do a little tidying up, let’s set the mood. Make sure the environment is comfortable, turn down the air or have a fan cooling the space if needed. Being in a room that is an uncomfortable temperature sends our minds into a tail spin! Also bring in incense or a soy candle, something that has a soothing scent. (I like lavender, sandalwood and eucalyptus.)
Now for props—they’re not just for asana practice.
Many teachers will encourage you to use a block to lift the hips while sitting on your mat. Lifting the hips allows blood flow to the knees, helps the pelvis and spine lengthen so you’re sitting up straight—this is more comfortable for your hips. (I use a yoga cushion and a block wrapped in a soft blanket so knees are resting on a soft surface and my spine isn’t screaming for attention.)
Now set an alarm for just five minutes to begin with—something that’s not too unnerving. When you’re moving out of meditation it should be slow, not an alarm that makes you jump!
Okay, so let’s meditate—just five soothing minutes.
Start by slowing the breath, nothing too forced or with too much effort, but a breath that’s going to slow the heart rate, relax the muscles and focus the mind.
Have a purpose for your meditation—focus your attention to one single point. Say a mantra to yourself (pick up The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) or just say “om” to yourself over and over.
Once your practice is through, sit with it for a few minutes feeling appreciative for the time.
Try to practice first thing in the morning before your mind has a chance to make a “to-do” list.
Did I mention practice? That’s exactly what it is! Just like your asana practice, it’s something that will become stronger over time.
“The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.”
~ Yogi Bhajan
Heidi Templeton is a Tampa Bay Area yoga instructor specializing in vinyasa, hot and standup paddle board yoga. When she’s not practicing asana, you can find her in the kitchen cooking up vegetarian dishes. Heidi is sharing her love for all things health and wellness on www.facebook.com/HeidiFit.
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Assistant Ed: Terri Tremblett/Kate Bartolotta
Photo: via Tara on Pinterest