5 beginner tips for getting started with a meditation practice

'Don't try to empty your mind'

By Contributor • 3 years ago • STYLE

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 your time as you get used to meditating
Sometimes people try to do too much too soon, finding it too difficult or demanding. And then they simply give up because of that. Start with as little as 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 to stop them entirely. As we develop our skills as an observer, our thoughts take 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 get more guidance and tips on your meditation techniques. Yogarama offers weekly meditation classes by the ocean – students share their experience and gain 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…

We are all busy with careers, partners, families and social obligations, but we all have five minutes to stop during our day and breathe.

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

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

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

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

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

For example, you could meditate on a short reading or scripture, or a mantra for your meditation. Meditation and mindfulness are not just “sitting there thinking of nothing.” There are a variety of ways to practice.

You can also find plenty of guided meditations online that give you something to focus 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 about observing the mind.

If you find in your meditation session that your mind has wandered to the events of the day, or planning for the future, you simply bring your attention back to the breath. And the fact that you have noticed that your mind is wandering is great!

It means you are good at it. You observed the actions of your mind. You are become more mindful. The reason it’s called a practice is its something you continually work on improving.

4. I cannot keep my mind quiet.

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

By getting it out of the way you can then focus mindfully on my practice. When you sit down to meditate, write down those concerns or to do list before you begin. Then set them aside—they’ll still be there when you’re done, and you can approach 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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