Your guide to a successful meditation practice at home
Find a place to use for your meditation practice in a quiet room or corner away from distractions. Perhaps set up a small, low table with a candle, flowers or incense (use the same fragrance each time to trigger relaxation memory), a mat and cushion that becomes your sacred space. Make sure that the temperature is comfortable.
Set a regular time for your practice. Make it part of your daily routine. First thing in the morning is a good time when your mind is clearer and the world is quieter. Before bed can be a good time to help calm the mind before sleep. Start with short time periods and slowly build up. Set a timer for 5-10mins and work up to 30mins as you begin to find it easier to sit. Aim for a daily practice or at least 5 days per week.
Be comfortable and clean. Have a shower or wash your hands and face to freshen and cleanse. Wear clothes that are not going to restrict blood flow or make you feel uncomfortable. Take off your shoes.
Stretch with a few gentle postures to open the body and get your energy flowing. This will make sitting more comfortable.
Find your seat. Take the time to make your posture comfortable. Use props or the wall or even a chair if sitting on the floor is not possible without discomfort.
Chant Om 3 times. This very quickly sets the mood, uplifting you and dissolving negativity.
Breathe deeply. Take 5-10 slow deep breaths in and out through the nose. Mentally follow the movement of breath, noticing the expansion and contraction of the body with the breath. Use this time to encourage the muscles to relax.
Smile. Holding a gentle smile on your face will keep the practice gentle and unforced and make you feel happy and relaxed.
Have no expectations of what kind of experience you should have. Be kind to yourself. Don’t get stressed about trying to relax! Don’t feel that you have to stop having thoughts.
Keep your chosen focus. If the mind wanders (and it will repeatedly) just keep reminding yourself to be here now and come back to placing your full attention on your chosen focus. Such as
- counting or following the movement of your natural breath
- staring at a candle flame, picture, flower etc
- mentally repeating a mantra such as relax, peace or any other positive word or phrase
- listening to external and internal sounds
Good luck and remember that persistence pays. Your brain is a muscle that needs training just like any other. Be patient and watch your world change.