As some of you may already know, yoga prepares the body for meditation. Traditionally yogis would sit in meditation for long periods of time, and in order to prevent the pains of the body interfering with the mind, asana (or the physical practice of yoga) was introduced to limber up the body.
So for those of us who are not full-time yogis, or don’t intend to meditate for hours at a time, what is the point of meditation?
People who meditate regularly gain increased focus, increased relaxation and process stress more easily, meaning that the practice continues to benefit you throughout the day.
But how do you actually focus long enough to become relaxed?! This is what the practiced meditators say:
Start Small & Be Gentle
Give yourself time to ease into meditation by beginning with small time periods. Try setting a gentle alarm for 3-5 minutes or use a playlist that is only a few songs long.
Be gentle in setting your goal. We don't want to put pressure on erasing the mind. Instead try to focus on your breath and set a goal of noticing when your thoughts stray to gently bringing yourself back to the present.
Try Different Meditation Types
Like I said, most of us are not monks with hours to spare on mountain tops. We are busy and often just need a few moments in our day to feel human again.
If a self-led meditation doesn’t feel right for you try some other options;
Guided meditations are easy to find online or through meditation apps - you can just listen and follow along not worrying about time.
Walking meditations are a nice way incorporate meditation into daily routine. As you walk (for maybe 5 or 10 minutes) take a few minutes to really focus on your senses individually. I really love this as a seated practice as well. Check in with what you hear, the sensations of walking and breathing, your sense of smell, and sight becoming aware of your internal state as well as your surroundings.
Seated or Lying Meditations are a lovely way to begin or end your day. Find a comfortable spot and then incorporate any of the tips described above. If you are sitting the best way to encourage regular blood flow is by seating your hips higher than your knees - use a pillow, blanket or bolster for this.
Make it Beautiful
Why not add a little ambiance to your meditation? I love lighting a few candles, making a cup of tea for when I finish and opening the windows. I encourage you to make it yours and enjoy the imperfections of learning something new!
Let us know if you are giving meditation a try, we always love to hear from you!
Are you interested in more direction with your meditation? Sign up for our Meditation Workshop!
Love Angelica and the Stretch Family