5 Tips to Get you Started on a Daily Meditation Practice

1. Plan ahead

A good time to meditate is right after you wake up, before your mind is busy with thoughts and activities of the day. If you normally feel sluggish in the morning, take a look at your nighttime routine. Ayurveda, the 5,000 year old healing system of India, suggests following nature’s rhythm, e.g. waking at sunrise and quieting down at sunset. Try getting a good 6-8 hours of sleep each night and avoid stimulating food, conversation and activities prior to sleep. Even though sitting in front of the TV or computer, may sound relaxing, the bright light produced by TV’s and computers can disrupt a good night’s sleep.

2. Wake up 15 minutes earlier

If you use an alarm, choose a quiet setting for the ringer and place it further away from your nightstand. Let yourself slowly wake up rather than jarring your sympathetic nervous system, commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” response. Try to wake yourself up as you would a newborn baby.

3. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit

Choose a place in your home that you can dedicate as your “seat”. This can be on a cushion on the floor or if that’s uncomfortable, find a chair where you can sit upright and place both feet on the floor. Try to keep your spine erect so that your breath and energy can flow freely. It’s also healthier for your back.

4. Start with breath awareness

Take a couple of minutes to bring your awareness to your breath. Inhale deeply and exhale completely, releasing any tension in your body. If you are meditating in the afternoon, try to let go of the events of the day and bring your attention to the present moment.

5. Use a mantra

The word mantra means instrument or vehicle of the mind. A mantra is a tool to help quiet your mind first prior to experiencing moments of silence. You can receive a personal mantra from a meditation teacher or to help you get started, use a simple mantra of “1, 2”. As you inhale, silently repeat “1” and as you exhale, silently repeat “2”. Inhale “1”, exhale “2” and keep repeating. When you notice that your awareness has drifted off to thoughts, gently bring it back to the repetition of “1, 2”. Be easy on yourself and try not to judge your meditation. Trust that the benefits of meditation are present to you and those around you in your interaction with others.

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OmAmy, posted on September 23, 2014

Thank you so much! I need to meditate more, I aim for midday on my lunch break to clear my mind and ready myself for the afternoon! Om gum ganapatay Namaha :)

CherryBlossom, posted on September 23, 2014

With brain fog my que that stress and anxiety and taken over yet again, I know I need a regular meditation practice. In a yoga class once the instructor said that if something is difficult for you that means you need it more, and meditation is DIFFICULT for me. But I suppose with practice it will become easier. Thank-you for the tips and reminder to come back to this practice.

yogagrammie, posted on September 23, 2014

Great tips Danielle! I'll try a couple of these but working night shift puts me on a crazy schedule! I will try to make more time for meditation.

Sarah8_2, posted on September 23, 2014

This year I have been trying to implement the practice of meditation into my day/life. This reading was a beautiful inspiration to put more emphasis on it as I know there is a value to having a regular practice. Thank you for the simple break down and encouragement!

lassyro, posted on September 23, 2014

I love meditating, but often go without because I don't carve out specific time to do it. Time to add this as part of my morning routine.

Dehejia, posted on May 23, 2013

I am going to start again right now. Thanks for the inspiration.

buzzy, posted on February 20, 2013

The key for me is to allow the mind to introduce the mantra. Most of us do the opposite and introduce the mantra to the mind on a concious level. Keep it simple and let it come to you.

nep, posted on September 23, 2012

I plan to start this, this week.

AmandaRuffini, posted on September 5, 2012

This article could not have appeared at a more opportune moment, I always have the hardest time calming my mind enough to experience a relieving meditation practice (despite my best efforts). I always find myself getting annoyed at myself for letting my mind wander. I will do my best to not judge myself. Thank you.

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