Lately I’ve had a lot of people ask me to support them in building a mediation practice. Meditation is a powerful tool for mind-body-spirit wellness. A good meditation routine can help with many things including anxiety and insomnia. Meditation has been shown to improve metabolism, impact fertility, and to help heal cancer, high blood pressure, and migraines.
There are as many types of meditation as there are types of exercise. I personally like to keep my meditation practice very simple. I encourage you to explore and invest in your meditation practice. Below are a few key pointers to get you started and to help you stay on track.
Health Benefits of Meditation
There are many reputed benefits of meditation practice. Beyond peace of mind, joyfulness, and improved relationships, meditation has tangible effects on the body. Relief from joint pain and arthritis, correction of hormonal imbalances, and blood pressure regulation all respond to regular meditation practice.
Epigenetics is the study of how our genes are affected by many factors including diet, exercise, sleep habits, and stress management. Epigenetics have become more important in determining an individual’s health than genetics. Recent studies have shown that relaxation methods such as meditation have a profoundly positive effect on gene performance. In only a few months of meditation, as stress levels decreased, so did inflammation, reproduction of some cancer cells, and overall disease in the body.
Tips for Beginning a Meditation Practice
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. The most important thing is to focus the mind inward. Below are a few tips to help you get started:
- Do not meditate within 2 hours of eating a meal. Indigestion and irritability may easily develop from sitting down to meditate too quickly after eating more than a light snack.
- Try meditating around the same time every day. It takes anywhere from 17 to 21 days to create a habit, and during that time having a regular set time will make it easier to stick to it.
- Find a gentle and quiet place where you can relax and close your eyes without being interrupted during the process.
- Set aside anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes at a time to meditate. 10 minutes per day is a good start. Work your way up to 20 minutes at a time. I suggest setting a timer on your phone.
- Sit with your legs crossed, on a chair with your feet on the floor, or even lay down. The point is to be relaxed, supported and comfortable. If your back is slumped and in pain while you are meditating, it is not beneficial. Use pillows to support you if you need them.
- Close your eyes and relax.
- Create a meditation buddy. If you know someone else is holding you accountable and you them it makes it more fun and easier to stay consistent.
- If you miss a day, either give yourself a few minutes before bed or start again the next day. Be easy on yourself. Practice is just that.
- Drink a glass of water 20 minutes before beginning your meditation.
My Simple Meditation
- Close your eyes and tune in to your breath.
- Take a moment to feel your body. Notice any tension and where it is. Do not fix it – just tune in.
- Allow your mind to settle without forcing it.
- Start to notice your breath moving in and out.
- Gently invite the thought “breathing in” as you breathe in.
- On the exhale, invite the thought “listening.”
- If you notice your mind wandering, gently draw it back to the meditation – inhaling, “breathing in”, exhaling, “listening”.
- Other options on the exhale: “letting go” or “letting go of the day”. It’s surprising how much there is to let go of even first thing in the morning.
Enjoy! Do you meditate? Please share your experiences in the comments below!