Following on from my blog What Meditation Is – and What it Definitely Isn’t, I was bombarded with a heap of questions asking how to meditate. Actually, most of the questions were more like “hell the hell do I do that then?” so I thought I’d let you know how I choose to do it and some tips on what works for me. I recommend that you read that blog first as you’ll see that my guide below links to the type of meditation that I advocate – which is slightly different to meditation in its purest form.
How to Meditate
My very, very, very important rule. I’m easily distracted anyway, so if I have a tight waistband or a hairgrip digging into me I absolutely know that that’s where my attention will go. If I have time to do a “proper” meditation (i.e 20 minutes or more) I’ll definitely go and snuggle down on my bed where possible. Some people insist you must sit up. Screw that – if there’s a chance I might get a few minutes sleep then as far as I’m concerned it’s done its job of relaxing me.
If possible I stick my headphones in. It means that I can’t hear my toddler yelling for a tissue or singing 5 Current Buns, and I can’t hear my baby squawking for more milk. Tom can handle them both for half an hour – but if I can hear them I’ll be guilted into abandoning ship and stress stomp my way downstairs, and that’s totally against the point. Wearing headphones does sacrifice some of my comforts but for me, it’s a compromise worth making!
Find a track you LOVE
Oprah and Deepak periodically do a 21 day free guided meditation which I always download but for the rest of the time, I usually listen to one of my own. I’ve got a free guided meditation just for relaxation available here. There’s more coming soon to buy in my store.
Focus on listening
As you improve your practice you might find that you can go it alone, and that’s fab. For me, I almost always choose to listen to guided meditations if I am doing a formal practice as it helps me to focus. In my blog, How Busy Business Women meditate there are other ways to incorporate meditation into your day that doesn’t involve a sit (or lie) down session. But for a “proper” session I choose to listen to something.
Focus on your breath
I know I just said to focus on listening, but then usually the guided meditation will tell you to focus on your breath. Ideally, try to keep your breath out about double the length of your breath in – there’s more info on why and how here. Focusing on your breath, and counting the length keeps your mind very much in the present and therefore helps to prevent it from wandering off.
People are really concerned with whether they are doing meditation “right”. I’m not convinced that there’s one way to do it. Do you feel more relaxed afterwards? Did you get a bit of time to yourself? Have you had a few minutes where your brain wasn’t worrying or stressing? That’s good enough as far as I’m interested.
Otherwise, what’s the point? Really embrace allowing yourself to have half an hour a day for a bit of a timeout, a regroup and reflection. Breathe and enjoy. Before you go back to email, deadlines and Fireman Sam!
How do you meditate? If you have any great tips head over to our Facebook page and leave your suggestions there, or comment below. We love to hear from you!