There are few habits that will, if repeated consistently, make you happier, healthier, calmer, and even more radiant and mentally resilient.
This month, Maggie and I are committing ourselves to at least 11 minutes of meditation a day and would like to challenge you to do the same.
Here are some guiding tips to help you:
Meditating first thing in the morning can be a transformational way to start your day. Before showering, or sipping that beloved cup of coffee or tea, take a seat and honor your ability to find stillness. Don’t make excuses. Just do it! If the morning is challenging, what matters most is that your meditate! Therefore, anytime is the right time.
Try to devote a space in your home for your practice. It should be somewhere you can sit comfortably and quietly, free from too many external distractions. My preference is to sit in my sunroom on a folded blanket (meditation cushions, which can be purchased online, are also great). This extra cushioning under the seat can help straighten the lower back and encourage a more upright posture. If being on the floor is not appropriate, sit on a chair with both feet firmly grounded. Whether on chair or floor, the spine should be straight but not rigid.
I love how Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh instructs the basics of seated meditation seat in his book The Art of Power:
“Release the weight of your body on to the cushion or chair, let your belly soften. Bring all your attention to your in and out breath. When your mind wanders, because it will, just gently bring your awareness back to your breath.
Sitting meditation is first of all doing nothing and allowing yourself to relax. If you know the art of breathing and smiling, the pleasure of sitting will grow greater and greater. Then, with mindfulness and concentration, you can begin to see more deeply into the reality of your body, the reality of your consciousness, and the reality of your situation.”
You might be wondering, how do I time my meditation?
Here’s where technology can help! While a simple clock or timer will do, there are quite a few apps with more pleasant Zen sounds, such as i-Qi and Meditator. I’ve been using i-Qi for years and really enjoy it. If you have an iPhone, search the App store.
Remember: Like all practices, some days will be more challenging than others and powerful results come with time.
A few years ago, I had a chance to meet Russell Simmons, who is a longtime meditation and yoga practitioner, and got a copy of his book Super Rich. I really like his words of encouragement about sticking with your practice:
“The Key is simply to not give up. Most people will quit in the first two or three minutes and never experience the stillness inside of you. Don’t be one of those people. There’s no need to beat yourself up if the stillness doesn’t come easy at first. Do you look ripped the first time you do a set of pushups? Of course not. Meditation is the same way. It might take a while before you start to ‘see’ the results.”
By the way, Russell also provides a great intro to transcendental meditation in this book.
HAPPY NEW YEAR and please consider signing up for our 31-Day Challenge for Change by clicking here.