So you decided to practice meditation.
But something is stopping you from enjoying the experience. Instead, you find it quite challenging to meditate.
I’ve been there.
It does take some work to get on the right track when it comes to meditation. Just like any exercise or fitness program, immediate result is possible, but it’s not always the case.
1. Start with what you have
I’m not a professional in meditation. But I’ve been a professional procrastinator.
So if I need to wait for a certain things to happen so I could meditate, I would probably never going to do it. If you just begin practicing meditation, those “things” can be a fixed scheduled for meditation, a comfortable meditation cushion or a perfect meditation setting.
Don’t get me wrong. These things are definitely important. As you progress, you will notice that you may need a thing or two to keep you going.
But nothing is more important than just starting doing it, like now. Everything will follow once you take the first step.
Don’t have 10 minutes in the morning? Use the time you have on public transportation or during lunch break.
Don’t have a perfect meditation support cushion? It won’t hurt to sit still for 10 minutes on your bed or sofa.
Don’t have specific meditation clothing? Wear anything comfy would be good enough.
2. Start with small sessions
One thing that I’ve learned from practicing meditation is that longer isn’t always better.
In other words, 3 to 5 minutes of meditation can also be (greatly) beneficial.
Sometimes the reason why we can’t focus when meditating is that we are forcing our brain to shut itself down for a specific period of time (like 30 minutes).
While you are meditating, part of your brain is still counting the time instead of relaxing completely.
So throw all the limits and standards out of the window. And your mind will find the true serenity it needs.
3. Start with your breathe
Just like any sport or exercise, warming-up is required for better performance. In meditation, the best warm-up is breathing exercise.
Before closing your eyes and diving into your silent world, adjusting your breathe with these simple practice.
I’ve learned this meditation breathing exercise from various guided meditation videos. And it’s working wonders.
So if you find it difficult to jump right into meditation from the real world, try to calm your mind with these breathing patterns.
4. Have a goal in mind
We all embrace this ancient mindful practice for some reasons.
Maybe you are looking for a cure for insomnia. Maybe you are seeking a deeper inner peace. Maybe you are doing it to improve your memory.
Sometimes we quit because we forget why we started. So keep your intention in mind during each practice and track your progress. It will motivate you in the long run and help turning it into a habit.
5. Avoid meditating full or empty stomach
If you are taking carbs for a meal, usually you’ll feel tired and drained after 20 minutes or so. That’s because your glucose level goes up when your body is digesting the food you just eat. This would not be the best time to meditate.
And I won’t suggest meditating when you are hungry. Try to pick a time when you are not too full nor too empty-stomach.
6. Keep Learning
I honestly don’t think there’s a right-or-wrong method of meditation. We are all different individuals and our body and mind works differently.
The only way to keep improving your meditation and find the best way to benefit from it is through learning and trying.
Like I’ve mentioned in the meditation beginner’s guide, there are tons of tutorials and guided meditation videos online. Don’t be reluctant to try them.
It’s a process of trial and error. Only you can decide which way is working the best for you.
7. Stretching before meditation
Sitting still for a long period of time can be challenging for beginners, especially those with back pain.
If you don’t have a meditation cushion, you definitely need to stretch before sitting down in the lotus position. Stretching your back, your arms and your neck muscles before meditation is a great way to get blood circulating.
It will also help to make it “official” and switch your body and mind into a deep relaxing status.
What may help:
Below are the resources that may help to improve your meditation practice:
Free guided meditation:
1. Deep relaxation guided meditation by the Honest Guys
2. An attentive 12-minute guided meditation for beginners