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Getting Into Your Meditation Routine

May 18, 2017

Meditation is the increased awareness of the self (you), your surroundings, and even the people in your life. It helps generate a different perspective of the self and the world you live in. Meditation has been scientifically proven to help with a range of issues, including depression, neurogenesis, pain, telomere length, happiness and even compassion. In the past, I’ve written about the benefits of MS patients and meditation, where you can find here. If you think you’re ready to try adding meditation to your daily routine, or not sure where to start, check out my tips below.

I’ve mentioned some of these factors involved with finding that perfect meditation routine. They are: location/setting, finding a comfortable position, developing a mantra, and time length. Let’s explore each one in depth.

1. Location/Setting

Ideally, you’ll want to find a place that you’re comfortable in with no distractions. This place could be anywhere, like a bedroom, living room, your background, or the park. Some people even like to create and decorate their own personal mediating space. You can have pictures of your loved ones around you, crystals (if you’re into that), posters on a wall, etc. If not, just pick a spot that’ll allow you to have time to yourself without interruptions. If you live with others, you can tell them not to interrupt you until you’re finished. The point of choosing a location for meditating is to allow yourself time to be with, well, you.

2. Finding a Comfortable Position

I know we have that image of a person meditating as someone sitting crossed legged on the floor with the eyes closed and hands in some sort of circular formation (that’s known as a mudra, by the way). However, just because that’s a meditating position doesn’t mean that’s the way to meditate. Meditating is a state of consciousness. If you’re closing the eyes and breathing, you’re meditating. The position is all about what is comfortable for you. You can be sitting in a chair, on your bed, on a couch, etc. Remember, yoga and meditation is here to serve you, not the other way around.

3. Picking a Mantra

Traditionally, counting the breath and following each inhale and exhale is used to help focus the mind. It’s even recommended for beginners or people who’ve never practiced mediating before to count the breath. There are many resources online for beginner’s breathing techniques, like counting to four with each inhale and each exhale, repeating this process. However, if you feel like counting your breath may lose your concentration, utilizing a mantra might be a good tool for you. A mantra is a repeated word or sound that helps your concentration in meditation. It can be an “I am” statement, a wish or hope, or gratitude. The point is to repeat a positive or uplifting statement throughout your practice.  Here are some examples to get you started:

“I am strong.”
“I am brave.”
“I’m thankful for…”
“I hope to be kind.”

4.Time Length

Choosing how long you want to meditate for is a challenge. Some days you’ll just want to sit for two minutes. Other times, you may feel inclined to extend the length to thirty minutes. I recommend giving yourself at least five minutes, but if you can even spare two minutes, that’s perfect. Don’t feel pressured to meditate for a certain time. Sometimes you’ll set a timer for five minutes, but discover you may want to stay longer, and vice versa. I recommend using a timer so you’re not constantly checking the clock. A regular alarm will do, but there are also plenty of meditation applications you can download on your phone that use a softer temple bell sound to wake you.