This month I will meditate every day. I have no expectations or ideals. I have no outline or plan, other than to meditate every day. It might be in the morning (most likely) or in the evening or in the middle of the day. Some days I might sit and focus on my breathing for 10 minutes and other days I might do a body scan meditation for 30 minutes. Some days I might just sit quietly for 5 minutes.
If you haven’t gotten it already, the idea this month is to make this habit easy. Easy to start and easy to keep it going.
I know there are many studies and articles about how healthy meditation is or how the world’s best and brightest meditate for X amount of hours every day. I simply want to reconnect and be mindful for at least a few minutes every day. Like my yoga practice last month, I want to let this habit flow and see what happens.
Meditation can be difficult even though it seems so easy. I’m definitely not the best example when it comes to meditation (hence this month’s challenge), but I have been meditating off and on for several years and I have learned a few things along the way. If you’re having trouble getting started or keeping this habit going, here are some tips:
- Start really small and simple. Sit in a chair or on the couch and meditate for just 2 minutes. Everyone can find 2 minutes to sit down, be still and focus their mind on their breathing.
- Don’t worry about apps or guided meditation at first. These are both great tools for taking your meditation practice further. I use the app Stop, Breathe, Think sometimes, but when you first begin, just sit and notice your breath. This can be more powerful than you think and will help calm your mind, body and soul.
- Focus on the breath. Sit. Breathe in. Breathe out. Notice how the breath feels moving into your throat and down into your lungs. Notice your lungs as they fill with air. Now feel them collapse as you release the breath. Feel it leave your body. Repeat as needed. Breathing in and out through the nose is preferable, but do what works for you.
- Sit anywhere. My favorite place to meditate is in my bedroom with the lights off. It’s quiet, calm and there are no distractions. I have a little cushion that my mom made when I took a meditation class in college. If you want to sit in your kitchen on a chair, go for it. If you’d rather sit outside or on the beach or on the roof of your house, that’s up to you. The only requirement is that you sit somewhere that promotes mindful meditation and that is comfortable.
- Start today. Don’t fall into the “I’ll start meditating tomorrow” trap. You’ll get stuck in the hamster wheel of tomorrows until you forget about meditation. In fact, stop reading this right now and go meditate for a few minutes just to get started. Now is the best time to get started. It’s on your mind and you already have everything you need.
I hope that you’ll join me this month for a habit of daily meditation. Share your experiences on social media using the #YearOfChange hashtag, or comment on the Quiet Habits Facebook page or Tweet at me on Twitter. I’ll post updates and more tips throughout the month as well as links to different articles on meditation and different methods of meditating.
In case you’re wondering about my meditation cushion/pillow, here’s how we made it. I found a small accent pillow (probably at Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond or a similar store) that was rounded. It wasn’t meant for sitting on, so my mom unstitched one end and then shoved as much batting into it as would fit. She then stitched it up and sewed on a little handle to make it easier to carry to and from my meditation class. It was really fluffy at first, but after I sat on it about 50 times it was perfect. My mom did a great job because it has lasted through many meditation sessions over the last 6 years. Here are some pictures: