5 beginner tips for getting started with a meditation practice

My passion is to share the gift of mindful meditation with as many people as possible. Giving back! I’ve been sharing mindful meditation with the Yogarama community at Wylie’s Baths in Sydney’s Coogee – it is such a beautiful location to practice meditation in the early morning sunrise class and the tranquil
evening yoga class – all the time listening to the calming sounds of the ocean – (flowing theta waves) tuning into the harmony of nature!

I’m so grateful to be able to share these top tips on getting started to meditate and top tips to help combat the many excuses we make to avoid meditating even though we know we should do it.

Top 5 tips on how to get started with a meditation practice

1. Pick a time to meditate and stick to it
We can forget to meditate, even with the best intentions, if we don’t make a distinct commitment to ourselves. By firmly sticking to the same time every day it will start to create a habit, so that you are less likely to forget about your practice. Normally we recommend meditating first thing in the morning. We tend to be much more relaxed and receptive at this time and it’s a wonderful way to start the day.

2. Start slowly and increase yourtime as you get used to meditating
Sometimes people try to do too much too soon, finding it too difficult ordemanding. And then they simply give up because of that. Start with as littleas 5 minutes and increase slowly as you go on.

3. Don’t try to empty your mind
It is easier to observe your thoughts passing through the mind than it is tostop them entirely. As we develop our skills as an observer, our thoughtstake less of a dominant role and we can become more peaceful.

4. Find a group or class nearby
Find a group meditation class so you can share your experiences or getmore guidance and tips on your meditation techniques. Yogarama offersweekly meditation classes by the ocean – students share their experience andgain support from the community of like-minded people.

5. Try a guided meditation
If you’re finding it difficult to just sit by yourself, try using a guided meditation. Yogarama is offering guided meditation recordings or if you would like a simple app to listen to – download one these guided meditation apps. Head Space, Insight Timer, 1 Giant Mind or Calm. There will be a guided meditation that suits you.

Here are 5 tips to help combat the reasons we may give for not starting our meditation practice.

1. No time…

Weare all busy with careers, partners, families and social obligations, but we all havefive minutes to stop during our day and breathe.

Ifyou wanted to train to do a 3km ocean swim, you wouldn’t start your first trainingwith a thirty-minute swim. To begin a meditation practice, start slowly. Startwith five minutes a day, then work up to eight, then to ten, and so on.

Youcan practice mindful meditation while eating– simply paying attention when youreating. You can be mindful walking, cleaning, or any other task you do in yourbusy day. find times in your day to bring meditative and mindful attention towhat you are already doing?

Findinga special time for meditation at the same time every day actually will save youtime. By practising at the same time you are less likely to forget. You willbecome more mindful you’ll be less likely to make forgetful mistakes that takeeven more of your precious time to fix!

2. It’s so boring! If I’m going to take time for myself, I amgoing to read and think!

Yes,we love to think, but there is also beauty in quieting the mind. If you reallywant to get your thinking fix through meditation, however, there are meditativepractices that engage your mind.

Forexample, you could meditate on a short reading or scripture, or a mantra foryour meditation. Meditation and mindfulness are not just “sitting therethinking of nothing.” There are a variety of ways to practice.

Youcan also find plenty of guided meditations online that give you something tofocus on and help you develop your practice.

3. I’m not good at it!

Well,that’s the point! Meditation is not about “emptying the mind,” but aboutobserving the mind.

Ifyou find in your meditation session that your mind has wandered to the eventsof the day, or planning for the future, you simply bring your attention back tothe breath. And the fact that you have noticed that your mind is wandering isgreat!

Itmeans you are good at it. You observed the actions of yourmind. You are become more mindful. The reason it’s called a practice isits something you continually work on improving.

4. I cannot keep my mind quiet.

One strategy is toallow yourself about five to ten minutes for the planning, thinking about what itis I need to do when I get home or before I get up or go to bed, or whateverelse is occupying my mind.

Bygetting it out of the way you can then focus mindfully on my practice. When yousit down to meditate, write down those concerns or to do list before youbegin. Then set them aside—they’ll still be there when you’re done, and you canapproach them with a fresh perspective!

5. I don’t know where to begin!

You won’t experience the amazing benefits of meditation until you begin your practice. Start small and go easy on yourself. And just like with exercising, after a few weeks of continuous practice, meditation doesn’t feel like effort, but it becomes something you want to do, and something you truly like doing. Maybe even while listening to classical music.

This article was written by Daniella Goldberg, Yoga and Meditation Teacher and Founder of Yogarama at Wylies Baths in Coogee.

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