In today’s crazy paced world, it’s easy to lose our focus and feel overwhelmed. We’re bombarded with stimuli from all over the place, stress is as real as it gets, environmental factors add to the pressure.
No wonder more and more people are turning their faces towards the ancient practices of meditation and mindfulness. Not only had meditation withstood the test of time, but now there’s more and more scientific studies confirming the hoist of benefits it brings. From making it easier to focus and achieve a state of flow to increasing the amount of grey matter in the brain. From better sleep to needing less sleep. From less stress to boosting self confidence.
So if you thought of trying it out, or you’re already practicing but you’re looking for some tips to help you improve your practice, you’re in the right spot!
What is meditation, at the end of the day?
It can be described in many different ways. One of the key parts, though, is trying to calm our minds down. To have no thoughts. This can prove extremely tricy, especially at the beginning. So, here are some tips that can help you advance faster towards this ultimate goal.
Time, timing, timed
While you can meditate any time, you’ll find that there are certain times of the day when it’s much easier.
One of the best times is early in the morning – when things are still calm and quiet around you. There are less distractions from the environment, and your mind has not gone into overdrive yet!
A second good time is just before going to bed. This will also help you relax and unwind, and you’ll sleep better.
Duration – mastering the art of meditation takes time, practice and patience. Start small – at the beginning you can even start with concentration exercises, and then only slowly move to meditation. At the beginning you’ll find that your mind is very restless – so aim for 5 minutes of concentration. Then gradually increase the length.
Regularity – just like with any new habit, regularity and consistency are key. At least for the morning meditation, try starting every day at the same time!
We do not have to go to a cave in the Himalayas, to the Ganges riverbed or to a sacred temple in order to meditate. That would help, indeed – but it’s not an absolute requirement.
Instead, we can arrange our own little sacred meditation corner. Find a quiet corner of a room where you will not be interrupted. Make it look nice – bring flowers or photos that inspire you. Candles are also a good addition – you could even use them for certain concentration exercises and meditation practices. Dim the lights. If you use music, play some inspiring music in the background.
Smell has a direct effect on our limbic system and on our emotional state. No wonder incense sticks are generally associated with meditation and temples!
Burn incense sticks, or even better, diffuse essential oils. Alternatively, put a drop or two in your palms, rub them together, cup them around your nose and inhale deeply several times. You can use oils like Frankincense, Sacred Frankincense, Clarity, Stress Away etc. Try and see which one matches your needs better. And keep in mind your preference can change – so listen to your intuition as well.
Showering/bathing before the meditation and wearing clean, light clothes can also ease our practice!
Keep your body relaxed, but your spine straight and erect. No need for the advanced lotus position you might have seen ascetics and yogis meditating in. A chair or a cushion can do just as well.
It is not recommended to meditate on the bed, especially not lying down – this will only invite sleep and you risk dozing off.
If your muscles are tight, you can always massage the area with your favorite essential oil diluted with a carrier oil (like the V-6 Enhanced Vegetable Oil Complex).
Make sure to check part 2, with even more tips!