10 Tips to cultivate a personal meditation practice
1. Incorporate it into routine. Meditation can be a life-long practise and more benefits are experienced with continuity. Incorporate it in a way that feels manageable over the long term. Be open to finding the best time of the day that suits your lifestyle.
2. Reduce possibilities for disturbance. It is difficult to eliminate all distractions so do the best you can. Being aware of noises but not letting them consume thoughts is an important aspect of meditation.
3. Gentle stretching. Before beginning, stretching can help relax the muscles allowing you to sit (or lie) more comfortably. Stretching also encourages the process of going inward which helps brings attention to the body.
4. Experiment with different meditation practices. There are several different types of formal meditation practise including; mantra, breathing, guided visualisations and candlelit. Experiment with music and without. Try sitting (chairs, bolsters, cushions, blocks), lying, eyes open, eyes closed, inside, outside etc. There is no right or wrong as you develop your own practise.
5. Be open to small adjustments. At the beginning, small physical adjustments can make a big difference to your meditation practise. Take a moment to really set yourself before you start.
6. Tune into the body. Once you have found the position to meditate in, tune in by connecting with your body and scanning the different body parts of the body and how they are connecting to whatever you are sitting or lying on.
7. Start by observing breath. Following the breath in and out of the body is a great way to come into the present moment. Taking deep breaths also slows the heart rate and relaxes the muscles.
8. Be non-judgemental. There is no need to examine how well you are doing. Just doing it is the main thing. Do not worry if your mind is busy. When you realise you are drifting away with thought, effortlessly glide back to observing your breath or the focus of your meditation.
9. Take a few moments at the end. Once you reach the end of the meditation, take a few minutes to ground yourself by connecting with your breath and body as you readjust back to your environment and embark on the rest of the day. This will help you maintain that meditative space outside of the practise.
10. Connect with momentary awareness during the day. Connecting with your breath and body to cultivate a sense of being present while not in formal practise is a great way to evolve your meditation practise. Meditation can exist in every moment during rest and activity.
27 April 2014