We all know that stress is probably one the biggest silent killers out there. To manage it, we exercise, socialize and from time to time, just plain ignore it or even worse; we learn to live with it.
Meditation is a FREE tool, available to all of us, and unlike any form of common coping mechanism, it can be done pretty much anytime, almost everywhere and just about by everybody.
Meditation, does for your mind what physical exercise does for your body; it transforms it. But just like physical exercise, Meditation is something that you need to practice as often as possible and understand that just like physical exercise, it will take some time for your mind to get used to taking some time just to try and relax the tension away.
If you are someone who does mainly high energy sports or have a tendency to avoid sitting still, Meditation may not come easy to you. When I first started practicing Yoga daily, as a result of a long distance running injury that kept me from running and other high energy work outs, I used to get up and leave right after the physical part of the class and before the Meditation. The idea of sitting still was not appealing for me at all. One day, my Yoga Instructor, David Magone, and the person who many years later trained me to become a Yoga Instructor, asked me why I did not participate in the Meditation portion of the class. I was completely honest and explained that sitting still felt like “a waste of time”. I cannot believe that those words came out of me!
He then asked me to take one of his most advanced classes, I followed his recommendation and I was shocked to see that just like that, after just one session of an invigorating & challenging practice, my body was too tired to move and I allowed myself the opportunity to rest.
At first, that’s was it, giving myself 10-15 minutes after a transformative class to allow my body to rest. But with time, I started to pay attention to his instructions and to follow them closely. I felt great after each class, not only for the physical challenge that I put my body through, but also because I gave my mind a break from its busy chatter.
And that is exactly what Meditation does for you; it gives your mind an opportunity to take a break from the daily chatter that goes on in your mind. And while Meditation brings many health benefits into your life, I also believe that is widely misinterpreted and that is extremely hard to practice. However, the below 5 tips should help you to get familiarized with the practice and the concept of sitting still. I hope that soon, you’ll start to enjoy the benefits of a quiet and clear mind.
1. Find a comfortable place to sit. While sitting on a Meditative pose (cross legged) on a Yoga mat or on a Mediation pillow or on a Yoga block is ideal, that is not always very practical, so know that you can sit on any chair that you have at your disposal or that is comfortable enough for you.
2. Find a quiet place practice. I highly recommend staying away from any area that has too many distractions, like the TV. If that is all the space you have, then make sure that the TV is turned off before you begin your practice.
3. Sit down and try and find your most comfortable seated position. Place your right hand over the left, palms facing up, and thumbs lightly touching. Let your shoulders relax away from your ears and bring your chin towards your chest.
4. Close your eyes
5. Breath. At first, all your thoughts will fly to your mind so try and not engage with them, rather, redirect your attention to the sound of your breath. It will not be as easy at first, but if you want to experiment the benefits of a Meditation practice, you must invest the time to do it a few times a day, a few minutes each time, until your mind accepts the challenge.
So there you have it; comfortable place to sit, quiet space, sit, close your eyes and breath. Try and create a routine and come to this space as often as possible with the goal to Meditate until it becomes a daily habit.
Happy Practice friends!