So, now that you know what mindfulness is, you might find yourself asking, how exactly am I supposed to meditate?
It’s actually really quite simple.
- Find a quiet-ish place to sit (or lie down if that feels right). You’re going to want to minimize external distractions as much as possible – so now would be a good time to put your phone on do not disturb.
- Remain alert. The odds are good that you will fall asleep – happens to the best of us – so try and pick a time when you are feeling a little more wakeful.
- Set a timer. Ultimately, a shorter meditation is better than none so pick a length of time that you feel you can fit into your day and set a timer. This way you won’t have to worry about the time. One less distraction removed from your mind.
- Posture. Now that we’ve got the logistics out of the way it’s time to sit. Choose either a chair, a cushion, a mat on the floor, or lie down if that’s what your body is asking for. If sitting, you’re going to want to remain upright (helps to stay awake 😉 ) and either close your eyes or have them gazing slightly downward, 4 to 6 feet in front of you. Some additional tips:
- chin slightly tucked to keep your spine aligned
- keep your spine upright but not stiff
- have your sit bones centred and stable
- arms parallel to the torso and let your arms fall naturally on the thighs or gently clasped in your lap.
- have your knees below your hips.
- Follow the breath.
- bring your attention towards the breath. Follow it as it goes in and as it goes out.
- when your attention wanders (this is inevitable) gently, without judgement, guide your awareness back to the breath. Try not to engage in the thought that has distracted you. Just observe it and come back.
- Lather, rinse, repeat 😉 until the buzzer goes off.
That’s pretty much it.
Paying attention to the breath is a great way to anchor in and to connect to the present moment.
Because the thing about the breath is that it’s only here for THIS moment. Once you exhale, it’s gone. And the next breath, just like the next moment, begins.
Our breath is something that we can come back to whenever we feel the need. We don’t even need to grab a cushion and take a seat on the floor.
A short practice like this can be done anywhere. Heck, you can even do it standing on the subway during rush hour, or in line at Starbucks. No judgment. 🙂
We practice on the cushion to prepare for the times when we’re in a real life situation that’s causing anxiety, you know, like trying to get home during rush hour.
The mind wanders and we come back. Over and over again. That’s the practice.
And it very much is a practice. It takes time to really see the long term benefits. But in the short term, slowing down and breathing is exactly what the body literally needs sometimes.
So today, take a moment to start your practice. Comment below your thoughts about your experience.
P.S. want to start to deepen your practice? Sign up today for the FREE 7 day mindfulness challenge.