When I work with clients, they often think that the most important things to focus on when cultivating greater health are diet and exercise. While these are incredibly important for optimal health, stress reduction is just as important and often falls to the wayside. Meditation is one of the best tools out there to promote a relaxation response in the body and soothe your parasympathetic nervous system. Here are my top tips for developing a regular meditation practice.
Commit to a Length of Time and Stick With It For At Least 30 Days
When developing a new habit, it often helps to start with baby steps. Meditation is most powerful when practiced regularly. Can you commit to 5 minutes every morning? Pick a time and stick to it every day, ideally the same time of day, for 30 days. After the 30 days you can gradually increase the duration, building up to at least 10 minutes a day.
Create a Sacred Space
Dedicate a space in your home that is clear of clutter and is comfortable place to sit, which can help you focus and feel comfortable while meditating. You don’t have to sit indian style on the floor if that isn’t comfortable for you, you can also sit in a chair or lay on the floor. Your sacred space can have a candle, books that are special to you and anything else that you consider sacred and peaceful.
Make It Fun
Your meditation practice can be different every day – you can try guided meditation, take a class or simply sit and breathe. For clients and patients in the office, our go to app recommendation is Headspace – it’s a really helpful app for beginners and those who prefer guided meditation. I also like to do the meditations on yogaglo.com – which is great for those that prefer to visually watch the teacher while also being guided.
Lose Your Idea of What Meditation Is “Supposed” to Look or Feel Like
Meditation doesn’t have to look a certain way. Some days your mind may be more busy than others; don’t strive for perfection; the act of coming back to the practice is what’s important. When done regularly, you will find that your focus and ability to sit in silence will improve and you’ll feel more comfortable simply being.
Focus On Your Breath
If all else falls, simply taking the time to focus on your breath is very powerful. You can focus on the breath moving in through your nostrils down to your belly and back out. Or try the 4-7-8 breath, a simple technique with incredibly calming benefits.