Start Meditating Today - Here's How:

We all have heard of the benefits of meditation, at least in some sense.  Reduced blood pressure, more mental clarity, better sleep patterns, even re-growing the grey matter in the brain (yes, that can actually happen with a consistent meditation practice).  We hear celebrities like Oprah, Ellen and Russell Simmons talk about how meditation changed their life.  We see the glow on the faces of those who meditate.  So why aren’t we doing it?  Many see it as this daunting task that they don’t have time, space or money for.  Well guess what, it’s free, accessible and you can start today.  Here’s how.

1.     Find your seat. Sit down. Anywhere, yes, literally anywhere. You don’t need a special room for meditation, you don’t need a special cushion, or essential oils or anything spectacular. You just need somewhere where you can sit, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. This could be your bedroom, your bathroom (yes, your bathroom, take a pillow), your car on your lunch hour,  anywhere. For some of you this may still sound like a tall order, especially if you have young kids. Do it on your lunch hour, or as soon as your partner gets home, make yourself a priority, if only for twenty minutes. Sit down in a comfortable position, cross legs, on a cushion, whatever works for you. If your legs start to hurt, it’s ok to move. It’s better to move to a more comfortable position than sit there thinking only about how bad your legs hurt. Once you have found your seat, sit up tall, like you’re sitting in a straight back chair, lengthen your spine. 

2.     Set your timer. Twenty minutes. That’s all you need. You can use your iPhone, kitchen timer, anything. Set your timer for 20 minutes and start. This way you won’t have to keep checking your watch, it will tell you when you are done.  

3.     Close your eyes. No your timer didn’t break, you don’t need to check the time, it will go off when 20 minutes is up.  Contrary to your belief during your first meditations, time actually does keep moving, I promise.  Just close your eyes.

4.     Take a deep breath. OK now take another one. It’s that simple. Just breathe normally, observe the natural rhythm of your breath. You don’t need any fancy breathing techniques, just your natural breath. Overtime, just by observing the breath, it will begin to deepen on it’s own. 

Side note: About this time your mind is going to start thinking of any reason in the world that you should get up. Don’t get up. Without a doubt you will remember an email you need to write, you will remember a phone call you need to make, you will start planning what you’re going to eat for dinner tonight, etc. That’s normal.  Just bring your mind back to the breath. Meditation is not necessarily getting rid of all of your thoughts, it’s just bringing your mind back to your breath or your mantra, over and over again.  It is that return to one thought that is the real meditation. It’s like a muscle, it’s going to take time to build it, just keep doing it.

5.     Find a mantra, saying or word. Many people have trouble with just focusing on their breath. For beginning and even advanced meditators, using a mantra can be very helpful. This can be anything that you would like. Any word or phrase that has meaning to it, it doesn’t have to be Sanskrit, although it can be. This could be peace, love, let go, OM, etc.

Here is an example of one way to use a mantra during meditation:

Close your eyes and begin to notice your natural breath. Observe the inhale and the exhale. When you are ready to begin, on your very next inhale, breathe in the word ‘let’ saying this only in your mind. On your exhale, breathe out the word ‘go.’ Repeat on each breath. If your mind starts to wander, bring it back to your mantra of ‘Let Go.’

Repeat as needed. Twenty minutes twice daily for best results.