As someone who was first taught to meditate at the age of four, and has practiced regularly since the age of sixteen, I'm a huge believer in the powers of this transformative practice. Meditation has helped me to deal with my anxiety, become more confident, and has guided me through all of the ups and downs of life as a young adult. I'll always recommend to my coaching clients that they adopt a regular meditation practice too, however many of them often don't know where to start, so I thought I would share some beginner's tips with you! Here are my 5 tips to cultivate your own daily meditation practice:
1. Start small.
I like to think of adopting a regular meditation practice for the first time like undertaking a new form of personal training.... but rather than training your muscles, meditation is like doing bicep curls for your mind. And just like you would if you were starting a new exercise routine, it's best to start slowly and ease yourself in. Instead of completely throwing yourself in the deep end and trying to adopt a daily 20 minute practice, begin with just 5 - 10 minutes each day and allow yourself to extend your practice over time.
2. Create a routine, and set a reminder.
In order to successfully establish a new habit, you need to make it part of your daily routine and commit to making it happen. When your meditation practice is scheduled for the same time each day, it becomes much easier to sustain. Set yourself a reminder for the same time every day and commit to it - remember, you're only starting off with 5-10 minutes so it shouldn't be too hard to make the time!
3. Create a space.
Finding a quiet place for your meditation practice is extremely important. It doesn't matter where you meditate, so long as it's free from distractions. This could be a quiet corner of your home, in your bed, in your car.. anywhere that feels right for you, where you won't be interrupted. And once you're settled into your space make sure to put your phone onto Do Not Disturb mode to avoid being startled out of your practice.
4. Keep it simple.
When you're first starting out you might be tempted to try all of the different types of meditation practices available (Vedic, mindfulness, guided and so forth), but this will only serve to confuse you. Start with one type of meditation - personally I think guided meditations are the easiest to begin with - and then stick with this practice until you're ready for the next step.
5. Let go of expectations.
Don't put yourself under too much pressure! Some days you might find yourself completely unable to sit still, or unable to maintain a single point of focus. You will have a million different thoughts come into your mind - remember, this is completely normal. The mind is just doing it's job. No matter what happens in your meditation practice, just allow your experience to be as it is, without judgement or critical thought. There is no such thing as a 'perfect' meditation practice!