Published on September 30th, 2013 | by Keesha B0
5 Tips for Mastering Your Meditation
By Keesha B.
If I had a dollar for every time I started to try meditating and quit, I’d be stupid rich!! Let’s face it, meditating sounds great on paper but when you get into it, if you don’t know what you’re doing it can end up being a frustrating and disappointing activity. I know that feeling and over the past several months (thanks to a wonderful visit to Miraval Spa in Tucson, AZ) I’ve experimented and picked up some useful tips that have made my meditation sessions way more relaxing and satisfying. Meditating is incredibly beneficial and if you’ve ever tried and been discouraged, I encourage you to try these tips and get back on the wagon. You can do it and you’re body, mind, soul and spirit will love you for it!
Tip #1: Morning is Best –Whether you’re a single lady or a mother or a wife, you can (yes you can!) find 10-15min early in the morning before anyone else wakes up. There’s something quiet and peaceful about early morning that seems to lend itself to a meditative state. I like to get up between 5:00am and 5:30am.
Tip #2: A Lady Needs Accoutrements – Find a spot in your home that feels calming and clear. Once you’ve located your spot get a great blanket or mat to sit on and a comfy pillow to rest your back on. If you can, find a bolster pillow to prop your legs on (like they do when you get a massage). You should feel comfortable and fully supported in your meditative position. Side note, if you prefer to lay down flat on your back, you can do that too.
Tip #3: Guidance is a Good Thing – I recently came across some really helpful guided meditation apps. At first I thought guided meditation would be annoying but after I tried it at Miraval, I found it to be relaxing and helpful as it kept my brain from wandering too far. The app I’ve been using as of late is called “Simply Being” (the image has a white background with a woman’s face sketched in black). What I like about the app is that if allows you to have music or nature sounds in the background, you can have the voice of a woman guiding you through the mediation, you can set how long you want your session to last (5,10 or 15min) and you can control the volume of the woman’s voice as well as the music or nature sounds. You can even do it while you commute!
Tip #4: Don’t Follow the Thought – This is one the best things I learned in my meditation sessions. The goal is not necessarily to “turn your brain off”. The brain has thoughts…that’s it’s job and those thoughts come spotaneously and effortlessly. If you make your meditation about trying to keep your brain from thinking, you’ll for sure get frustrated. Instead, just choose not to follow the thoughts. For example, if you have a thought like, “I wonder what I should have for dinner tonight?” don’t follow it by then thinking “Chicken…maybe beef…or maybe that takeout place I love”. Instead, try just saying to yourself (without speaking) “I just noticed myself thinking about dinner…” and then let it go. Do that with each thought and you’ll begin to notice fewer thougths popping up and less stress because you’re not following the thought to completion.
Tip #5: Focus on Your Breath– Ok, you hear this all the time in yoga class, “focus on your breath, focus on your breath”. But what does it really mean and how do you do it. What it really means is, try to stay in the present. The easiest way to connect you to the present is by focusing on something that happens naturally in the moment…breathing. How you focus on your breath is up to you but two ways that have helped me is to actually say to myself, as I’m breathing (and not out loud), “inhale…..exhale…..inhale….exhale”. I say it to myself as I’m doing it and it helps me connect to the present moment. Try even noticing the turns in your breath, that is, when you switch from inhale to exhale gives you something to focus on without creating stressful thoughts.