5 Tips to Get you Started on a Daily Meditation Practice

Meditation, healthy mind and body, stress management concept.
  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.

  1. 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.

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Balancing Heaven and Earth
  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 a daily meditation practice are present to you and those around you in your interaction with others.


Danielle Mika Nagel

Danielle Mika Nagel is an Experienced Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher and Meditation teacher.
She completed her initial YA Teacher Training under the guidance of certified teachers in the styles of Ashtanga, Anusara and Iyengar. Nagel completed additional teacher trainings in Yin yoga, the 200hr YA Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, Primordial Sound Meditation and Perfect Health (Ayurveda) at the Chopra Center of Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California and a 500hr certification with the American Yoga Academy. In her classes, she integrates yogic philosophy to bring a sense of awareness to your practice both on and off the mat.
Danielle Mika Nagel is the Director of Studio Development for the Chopra yoga Centers in Vancouver and Toronto. She is a member of the teacher faculty for the Chopra Center. She teaches yoga and meditation, and co-leads teacher trainings and events throughout North America. Nagel is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post and My Yoga on Gaia. She is originally from Los Angeles and is an ambassador for Lululemon Athletica. She has also done TV commercials and voice over work for other companies in the States. In addition to yoga, she has taught vocal, dance, and fitness classes in California, Hawaii and Washington and is certified by the American Counsel on Exercise as a Group Fitness teacher. Prior to her yoga career, she performed professionally in Broadway shows (Cats, Miss Saigon, Beauty and Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) for six years in Germany. Nagel is fluent in Japanese and can manage German.


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