In the spirit of the current Mind-over-Matter meditation for weight loss plan, this week I decided to put together my top five tips for people who want to start meditating, or want to have an easier time meditating. So, let's dive right in!
- Find a place with gentle noise. Many people think that it is easiest to meditate when you are in complete silence. But think about it, where in the world can you find complete silence? Unless you are the lucky owner of a soundproof room, the next best thing is to put on white noise in the background. Youtube has countless 1, 2, and 3 hour long videos of rainforest sounds, babbling brooks, peaceful flute music, and so on. Having this in the background will help your mind tune-in to a rhythm and relax.
- Touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. I know I can't say it more than enough. But this is still one of my best tips. It closes an energetic circuit in your body, and helps you with the next tip as well.
- Breath only through your nose. Breathing through your nose is healthier. It filters and warms the air more than breathing through your mouth does. It also forces you to breath more slowly, since you can't inhale or exhale as much air as your can through your mouth. This lowers your heart rate, relaxes you, and helps you focus on the breath.
- Keep your eyes slightly open. When we are awake, it actually takes work to keep the eyes closed all the way. Let your eyelids relax to the point where they are comfortable. Some people find that closing their eyes causes them to daydream and stop meditating. Other finds that it makes them fall asleep. Do whatever allows you to keep yourself in a meditative state of mind.
- Sit however you like. This is a big one. So many people believe that meditation means sitting in the famous full lotus position, like those Buddha statues you see. This is not true at all. I tell most of my students to begin by sitting up on the edge of a chair (if you lean back, you might fall asleep!). Keep your back straight, and use your arms on your knees to support you, if you need it. If not, just rest them in your lap. Alternatively, you can sit on a pillow, or small block on the floor, perhaps with a wall to support your back. You can also sit on your knees, in seiza.
And you know what? I'll throw in a bonus tip at the end: start with short meditations. Very very short. As short as you can do it, so that you are in that meditative focus for the entire time. Start with 1 minute, maybe 2. Then work your way up to 5 minutes. You shouldn't do more than 45 minutes at a time, because that can take a toll on the joints and blood flow in your legs. If you want to meditate longer than 45 minutes, make sure you take 15-20 minutes breaks in between sessions where you walk around and stretch.