Meditation was non-existent in my life until three months ago, though I had read many articles about its’ importance and the benefits behind a consistent practice. I tried completing what I called “being quiet and sitting still” a few times, but just ended up ditching the entire concept altogether, feeling both awkward and silly. At the time, I had no idea how to incorporate meditation into my daily life, but since then, I have learned how to engage my mind and enjoy each session. Below, I share my tips on how you can benefit from including meditation into your everyday life.
1. Establish a Comfortable Time of Day
It’s important to choose the time of day that best fits your work schedule and social activities so that you can be productive with each responsibility for that day. For example, I am most productive in the mornings and prefer to get my day started by having my meditation session after I have written a short journal entry, immediately upon waking up. This all happens between 7 or 8 a.m., depending on the time I have to be at work that day. On occasion, if I am rushed for time and miss my morning session to meditate, I will make sure to complete it in the afternoon following work, usually having a longer session.
Select a location that allows you to still your mind, connect to your inner senses and be present in the moment. I prefer to meditate in the comfort of my own room at home, on my bed. I like to sit in Lotus Pose, with my hands gently resting on my knees, feeling the softness of my comforter underneath me. This specific pose helps me get grounded within my sitz bones and maintain an erect posture for my back. If you prefer to be outdoors, some good spots might be a park, your backyard or near a lake.
3. Set a Specific Amount of Time Per Session
Meditation does not have to be done for long periods of time unless you are accustomed to sitting in one position for longer than 30 minutes. Experiment with different time segments to see which alternative is right for you. Once you find a beneficial time frame, make a conscious effort to meditate at that time each day.
Each meditation session that I have is 10 minutes in duration. I have found that ten-minute increments each day are the most effective for helping me stay consistent in my practice, while having a little time to breathe, be observant and relax. When I am rushed and cannot get my session done in the morning, I meditate in the afternoon for 15 minutes, adding an extra five minutes to make up for missing those ten minutes. In my practice, less is actually more.
4. Use the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
Once I am seated in Lotus Pose, I start the process of doing some deep breathing, with my eyes closed, using my belly rather than my chest to take in as much air as possible. I eventually let this air out and continue the process. After I have established a steady rhythm, I begin a specific breathing method called the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
Inhale for a count of four breaths and then hold those breaths for a count of seven. Finally, I exhale out for a count of eight breaths. I repeat the process about six to eight times. For a visual demonstration of this technique, watch this youtube video by Health Coach and Yoga Teacher, Angela Watson Robertson.
For those new to meditation, this particular type of breathing may seem awkward at first, but over time, it will become both relaxing and a necessary component to beginning each day. I suggest just sitting still, no movement, so that you can get used to absolute quiet for the first few sessions. Breathing will become more natural as you get accustomed to a sound-free space.
5. Try the Calm App
A yoga instructor and friend introduced me to the Calm App that I downloaded to my smart phone just before I became serious about practicing meditation. The app has helped me enjoy my meditation and I look forward to hearing the gentle, female voice that guides me through each session.
The Calm App can be downloaded for any smartphone, including the iPhone. Users simply create an account consisting of a username and password to login. Profiles can be created to better personalize an account. The app features a selection of different background scenes, the choice between an unguided or guided meditation, and nine multi-day programs to utilize. I personally prefer practicing to Calm Light, which provides more silence and less guidance. For more information about the app and its features, visit their website.
Give It A Try
Meditation can seem hard to start, but with consistent practice over time, yields beneficial results. Since starting my meditation practice three months ago, I have a much more positive attitude and feel more proactive at work. My thinking is sharper and my state of mind is free of anxiety. I am no longer interrupted by sudden panic attacks and feel more at peace within my body and mind.
Now it’s your turn. Try introducing meditation into your daily life for 10 minutes a day for 21-days in order to form a habit. Leave a comment below and let me know how it goes.
Marie Williams is a certified tennis teaching professional and the former Online Editor for Black Tennis Magazine. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from the University of North Texas. In her spare time, Marie enjoys hatha and vinyasa yoga, pilates, nature walks, reading and journaling. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.