Meditation is a practice that we’ve either heard of, or know is good for us. People have been practicing it for centuries to seek calm, wisdom, and compassion.
Science has also found many health benefits to meditating regularly:
- More self-awareness
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Improves sleep
- Strengthens immunity
- Improves memory
These benefits contribute to better physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, so we’re happier, healthier, and able to cope better with the daily stressors in our lives.
Whether you’re a beginner to meditation or someone who dabbles in it, or wanting to start meditating now, the challenge is how to start your meditation practice and keep at it regularly. If you have a busy schedule already, sticking to a consistent meditation practice can often feel near impossible. Or can it?
“Meditation can take many forms in your daily life, so you may not always have to set a specific time aside to meditate. Take some of the pressure off yourself and make meditation something you do because you love it. You can even meditate while standing in line at the post office or walking your dog! The key is to be mindful and present, and focus on deep breathing,” explains Athil Singh, owner of Happy Buddha Retreats.
If you’re ready to jump back into daily meditation, here are our tried and tested tips to help you get started and stick to it.
#1: WHY DO YOU WANT TO MEDITATE?
Asking WHY you want to add meditation into your life is an effective way to get clear on what you want to get out of it.
Everyone will have a different benefit, and step one involves clarifying yours. Is this time you’re dedicating to yourself, as a self-love practice? Maybe you’re looking to naturally regulate your blood pressure. You could be searching for a deeper connection and meaning or wanting to tap into your own intuitive faculties. Or you might just be wanting to try it and see what the fuss is about!
Clearly defining your reason motivates you to commit to a meditation practice. Journal your thoughts or contemplate why you want to start meditating, if it’s not clear right away. Once you know your ‘why’, move on to the next step: creating a space (both mental and physical) where you’ll meditate.
#2: CREATE THE MENTAL SPACE
Whether you’re planning to meditate at work, on your commute, or at home – set aside this time in your calendar and to-do list as a recurring item. Scheduling it in means you stand a better chance of doing it and that’s half the effort!
Everyone has some windows of time where they’re not actively involved in a specific work or home task. Remember, it could be as little as taking 5 minutes out of your day to meditate.
Create a reminder that feels good! Choose an alarm that creates a calming association in your mind and signals the start of your practice. We recommend the soothing sound of raindrops or wind chimes. If you block out the same slot daily in your calendar, it’ll become a natural part of your daily routine.
I like to start my morning with meditation, so before opening my eyes or having one thought about the day, I enjoy the silence of my mind and the spaciousness of simply being for as long as I can (which becomes longer with practise!).
When thoughts inevitably start to fire up, I divert them into a mini gratitude list before getting out of bed. This tends to infuse my morning with a certain deepened presence and an oh-so-cherished slowness.
#3: CREATE THE PHYSICAL SPACE
Now that you’ve committed to starting a meditation practice, where should you meditate?
If you’re anything like me, this might just be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your whole practice. If you plan to meditate at home, create a meditation room or corner which is free from clutter and has items that personally uplift and inspire you. Or it could be at the bottom of your garden, surrounded by nature.
Create a sanctuary that’s a pleasure to spend time in and you’ll automatically feel like meditating there.
Use colours, fabrics, plants, essential oils, music – or anything that makes your heart happy. My personal favourites are my journal, a Tibetan singing bowl, the special candles I make, healing meditation music, and dragon’s blood incense. Mmmm!
The key is to create a calming and nurturing environment for your meditation practice.
A dedicated space isn’t totally necessary, and of course you can meditate on the train. However, a special sanctuary that emits a meditative quality will be more enticing to return to.
#4 KEEP YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Accountability buddies are great for keeping yourself on track at work or in business. So why not choose an accountability buddy for your meditation practice too?
You don’t have to practice in the same space with them or even meditate in the same style but having someone who understands and acts as an accountability partner can help you progress much faster. Check in with how they’re doing and share your setbacks and successes.
Another tip is to keep track of your ‘progress’. This little trick is helpful in making sure that you stick to your practice. Ticking off that box in your daily planner will feel so satisfying!
#5 HAVE FUN AND FLOW
Life happens to the best of us.
Last minute crises can come up, or late nights or children falling ill. If challenges arise and you don’t manage to meditate, don’t beat yourself up. You’re not a failure if you miss a meditation session. As soon as you begin measuring progress with failure and success, you’ve lost sight of the ultimate intention: self-care.
The most important tip is to enjoy your practice and go back to it intentionally. If you skip a day, it’s all good. You’ll make up the difference the next day. Rather than connecting distinct points, treat your meditation practice like a journey.
Don’t feel like sitting in lotus for half an hour? Swap to Yin yoga. Your practice, like the rest of life – will benefit from an intuitive and self-honouring flow.
Your distinct personality traits and preferences will inform your meditation practice too. Perhaps you thrive on routine and consistency, or maybe repetition bores you. Person 1 may benefit from a non-negotiable 8am Vipassana meditation practice, while Person 2 might prefer to make their way through a daily yoga program.
Tune into what works best for you. Your practice should ultimately enhance your life and make you feel better than ever!
“Meditation can be life-changing for a person and help them feel good and cope with this wonderful adventure we call life. In the busy, noisy world we live in, setting aside moments of silence is necessary for us, as human beings, to stay connected with ourselves and to others,” reminds Athil.
Our retreats offer the perfect mix of meditation, yoga and soaking in beautiful nature. Our Inner Joy and Journey into Silence retreats offer guided meditation with facilitators. Perfect for all levels – from beginners to experienced meditators.
Nisha is a freelance writer and Vedic astrologer, based in the magical Byron Hinterlands. As well as running her candle business, her life and loves involve: yoga, gardening and all things esoteric. You’ll find her out in nature, or curled up at home with a good book. Happy Buddha is one of her most treasured places on earth (and indeed where she met her fiancé!).