Sometimes, simply by sitting, the soul collects wisdom. -Zen proverb
You’ve read about mindfulness or may have taken a class or attended a workshop, and you are ready to commit to a regular mindfulness meditation practice. While there isn’t much you need to do before you begin meditating, there are few things you may find helpful as you begin to establish an ongoing practice. Here are a few suggestions that may make your mindfulness meditation experience even more supportive.
Express compassion and gratitude toward yourself. This step is basically a way to mentally prepare for meditation, which although quite simple, is also vitally important. Firstly, commit to approaching your meditation practice with an open mind and open heart. Try not to have expectations about what a “good” meditation should be like, but rather be open to the experience and enter the practice with a compassionate attitude. Yes, your mind will wander, but that is what the mind does and this does not make you a “bad” meditator. Rather than having expectations and making judgments, try to be open and curious about your experience. Secondly, be grateful to yourself for making the time in your busy life to take care of yourself by meditating.
Try basic stretches to help you sit more comfortably. It is absolutely necessary to sit comfortably while meditating to avoid being distracted by your posture, whether that means sitting on a cushion on the floor or in a chair. However, it is likely that you will initially experience a bit of discomfort from sitting, especially for extended periods, if you are not used to it. Some practitioners find it helpful to do a few stretches before sitting in meditation. Some good hip stretches include lunges, butterfly pose, and cradle stretch, but feel free to prepare your body in any way that works for you.
Compile a couple of techniques you’d like to try. Have a plan for your practice. You may find it helpful to have a bit of structure as you form the habit of meditating daily, perhaps meditating at the same time every day or in the same location. If sitting in mediation doesn’t appeal to you, try a walking meditation. Mindful walking is a great way to become aware of your body as you move, giving full attention to an activity we all do very frequently, but often engage in mindlessly. Have you been guided through a body scan meditation in a class and enjoyed it? Maybe you’d like to download a recording of a body scan meditation and try this practice at home.
Meditation instructor Alice Lash offers mindfulness meditation in Miami. Have questions about mindfulness meditation and looking for personalized guidance? Contact Mindfultime today.